I’ve shared this poem by Rudyard Kipling, originally published in 1910 with you before. It’s not only one of my favorites; it is worthy of sharing again as I believe “If-” says it all!
If you can keep your head when all about you;
are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
but make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
and yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: (more…)
Are you a healthy, responsible example for your adolescent son?
Message for Fathers: You Are a Gift
What a special opportunity a dad has in the life of his son. I am reminded of the important role dad plays in the healthy development of their sons every day. Sure I have research and data that can prove it, but the proof is in the thousands of boys that have gone through The Quest Project®. The proof is hearing them talk about their dad and wishing “dad had more time for him.”
How many fathers realize that a boy will enter a stage of development known as “Identity-vs-Confusion” which starts at approximately 11 years of age (that can vary)? Additionally, there is the “Zone of Proximal Development(ZPD),” basically without going into a deep academic dive, it is where he needs dad (or a healthy male mentor) to mentor him through these developmental stages. WHY: Because when you put these 2 together it becomes the most crucial stage of an adolescent boy’s life! (more…)
Is Your Son Grieving a Loss?
There are many definitions of grief, the one I like best is by The Grief Recovery Institute:
“Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind. Of itself, grief is neither a pathological condition nor a personality disorder. Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.”
The death of a loved one is only ONE of the many reasons we grieve. Is your son grieving the loss of a good friend? A break up with his girlfriend? Did the family pet die? If there has been a divorce, he may be grieving a parent.
Grief is part of life, an emotion to recognize, embrace and work through. Keep in mind we all grieve differently, some wear their emotions on their sleeve and others internally. There is not a right or wrong way to grieve. With adolescent boys, they are more likely to keep their feelings buried deep inside. That is not only unhealthy but delays the grieving process and can lead to self-medicating or avoidance. (more…)
Are you afraid your son is smoking pot, drinking or worse?
My Son Would Never Do That
I hope you’re not deceiving yourself; drugs and alcohol are readily available EVERYWHERE! He can escape his feelings by “numbing out” and find refuge by drinking or smoking pot. And worse let’s not forget the huge opioid epidemic that’s sweeping the country.
I have met hundreds of moms and dads who didn’t know their son was smoking pot, drinking or worse.
Here is what I know-“If you think or have felt like he’s in trouble, he’s in trouble!”
5 Questions to Ask Yourself
- Is my son experimenting with E-cigarettes(vaping) or cigarettes?
- Why is my son hanging out at an unsupervised friend’s house for hours?
- Why does he get enraged when I walk in his room? (by the way, it’s your house, I promote respecting his space – but if you suspect something is wrong, you owe it to yourself and your son to follow your instincts.) Moms have the best instincts!
- Is this really my son-what is going on?
- Why can’t I shake this feeling that something is wrong?
I am excited! I am in the final phase of my Ph.D. work!
What I’ve Been Up To
One very important component of my dissertation was to gather data to support my topic Difference of a Counselor Facilitated Adolescent Boys’ Group on Behavior. I had the privilege of facilitating The Quest Project® to a great group of boys at Woodridge Middle School over the past 10 weeks. A special thanks to the staff there that supported and embraced the work.
Recent Press Release
Just in case you didn’t see it, here’s a copy of the press release about my work at Woodridge.
Local Therapist Helping Middle School Boys At Risk in Jefferson County
Clayton Lessor, Ph.D., Guiding Students at Woodridge Middle School
“Why are you being so nice to us?” This unassuming question was asked by a 7th grader to local therapist and author, Clayton Lessor Ph.D. The genesis of this conversation was a call Lessor received from Woodridge Middle School in the Northwest R1 district, asking for help. According to Stephen Bourke, the sole guidance counselor at the school with a student body of 625, “public schools in Missouri are in desperate need of more resources. It is amazing to have an expert like Dr. Lessor helping to make sure that kids are not falling through the cracks.”
Some of the issues that affect children in the school include families dealing with drug addiction, foster care, suicide, and physical abuse among other difficult issues. Lessor specializes in guiding adolescent boys ‘from boys to men’ and ushering them through a validating ‘rite of passage’.
Lessor is now holding weekly sessions with adolescent boys at the school. The group meetings, held in a school office, are a ‘safe place’ where the boys can release anger, talk about emotions and home situations with a highly experienced licensed counselor. Lessor’s own childhood included an alcoholic, physically abusive father, a mother who didn’t intervene and eventually set the family home on fire. The ten-week program includes two groups of ten boys each from the sixth, seventh and eighth grades respectively. Though apprehensive at first, after just one session with Lessor, Bourke says the boys were laughing, talking about how much fun it was and how they couldn’t wait for the next session.
“These boys are learning to be productive young men and how important mental health is for the rest of their lives,” says Bourke.
Lessor’s mission is to provide immediate help and hope to families struggling with adolescent boys’ behaviors, including violence, anger, rage, failing grades, truancy, disassociation with the family and other conducts of concern.
I hope you’ll stay connected as I enter the “home stretch” of my “Journey of a Thousand Miles.” I’m glad that you have taken this journey with me, stayed connected and supported me in my mission “to create healthy lifestyles by teaching, facilitating, writing and example.”
More to come!
It was a chilly morning in Bismarck, North Dakota but what a warm welcome from Kevin and Monica at KFYR.
I was honored to be invited to talk about “Saving Our Sons” A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Boys for Success and The Quest Project® recently on North Dakota Today! What a great way to spread the news and talk at length about both! (more…)
Graduation is a major milestone for your son. Celebrate his accomplishment!
Congratulations-He Made It!
This is a very exciting time! I congratulate you if you are honoring a graduate in your home. It’s a time to honor the achievement and begin to plan the next steps if you haven’t already done so. If your son plans to attend college you have most likely been working towards this day for a while. If he isn’t a candidate for college have you talked about his options?
Graduation: Establishing the “Exit Plan”
An exit plan involves both parents. If dad is present he should be hands-on with his son; planning and discussing this next phase of his life.
I recommend at the start of his junior year in high school begin to “nudge” him toward planning for his future. Establishing an exit plan will help with transitioning after graduation; it opens the door to conversation about goals, purpose, direction and independence. It prevents what’s ahead from being/becoming a shock! (more…)
Raising Sons & PTSD
Did you know that PTSD is not exclusive to our military servicemen? We hear about “post- traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD) most often as a result of some of the horrific sights our young men witnessed while serving in the military.
What Is PTSD
Many times, a parent misses the signs of PTSD in their child. PTSD is NOT exclusive to our servicemen. It can plague your child and needs to be addressed ASAP!
The Mayo Clinic defines it like this:
“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event-either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”
Parenting Boys and the Importance of Sports Activity
You’ve heard it said many times “boys are physical and visual!” That statement is not only true, it’s proven. This inspired me to write about parenting boys and sports activity. Sports enables adolescent boys to get mentoring from a coach and a “release” of stored/pent-up energy with their peers.
Keep Your Son Active Through Sports Activity
Boys are inherently different than girls, they are mostly active, curious and competitive. One of the best ways to get your young son engaged is by nudging (encouraging) him to do something active. In my experience with over 2000 boys, most agree sports can provide the physical and visual need that exists. As a bonus a sense of accomplishment and fun! (more…)
When I’m asked to do an interview, and discuss parenting boys and the “state of boyhood,” here are the questions that I feel must be addressed in order to see change!
“Our Boys Are in Trouble”
What are the key takeaways parents will get from your book “Saving Our Sons- A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Boys for Success?”
A way to reach parents or guardians everywhere on what they can do for their sons to grow up to be healthy men. An action plan for immediate help and hope. An overview of The Quest Project along with support that they’re not alone. Case studies that detail what parents and especially moms can do to save their son.
Why are our young men falling far behind young women in school and life?
Boys need a mother and father, but all too often, the dad is missing from the home, whether it’s physically or emotionally, so often boys will bond together and act out in unhealthy ways. Fatherless boys are twice as likely to receive D’s and F’s and drop out of school, and if we take that a step further; more than 75% of all crime in America is committed by men who were fatherless as children.
This must change…the time is now…and I’m the one to talk about it – it’s my life’s work. (more…)