I’ve witnessed a fair number of parents lately making the decision to “shield” their son from tragedy, death, divorce; basically, anything that may cause sadness. It’s unhealthy, it prevents him from feeling/having empathy, let me explain why.
What Is Empathy?
Psychology Today says it like this:
Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Empathy is known to increase pro-social (helping) behaviors.
Empathy is an important feeling and when we protect kids from experiencing it; they become numb to what someone else is going through. They simply don’t care. (more…)
Honored to have my work recognized by Capella in this recent interview!
Counseling Professional Deepens Expertise with a PhD
Some people might wonder why Clayton Lessor* bothered to get a PhD.
A licensed professional counselor in St. Louis, Missouri, he already had a successful career in private practice, as well as numerous speaking and consulting gigs.
“I wanted to get a PhD because it opens doors,” Lessor explains. “In my field, master’s degrees are a dime a dozen. So a PhD can help set you apart.”
*Actual Capella graduate who agreed to appear in promotional materials for Capella.
Last week I explained “rite-of-passage” and the important processes an adolescent boy goes through to become an initiated man. Now let’s cover what being an initiated man means!
Initiation to Manhood
Adolescence ranges from 11-18 years of age. According to theorist, this stage of life is crucial; it gives individuals the challenge of establishing an identity, which can lead to a positive self-concept. It is not uncommon for boys to experience a surge of aggression during their adolescent years.
Many cultures offer boys challenges that enable them to find their identities and learn responsible behavior. The initiation by male elders help the boys move from their mother’s world to their father’s world.
As civilization developed (Industrial Revolution) and grew more complicated, more situations arose (long work hours, traveling for work, divorce etc.) where the father’s teaching role was taken over by others.
The fundamental problem in the continuation of a decent life everywhere in the world is the question of the socialization of young males. (more…)
There is a much-needed focus today by both broadcast and print media on males and masculinity; you can virtually find a program or article on the subject at any given moment. What I don’t see or hear is something I know very well through years of research, data and facilitation. Boys need a rite-of-passage and initiation to manhood!
In this Part 1 my intention is to ease your mind about those two terms, rite-of-passage and initiation, which are often misunderstood as cult or gang. They have in fact been around for centuries! Our society today has forgotten or chose to ignore the importance and significance these have to the healthy development of an adolescent boy. (more…)
In a recent interview on Fox 2 morning news I was asked about “Millennials and Perfectionism.” Here’s a link if you missed it.
A new study in the Psychological Bulletin says young people are more likely than any other generation to feel the pressure to be perfect.
As a therapist who works extensively with adolescents, families and couples this is my take on perfectionism, why Millennials feel the need to be perfect and what to do if you find yourself getting out of control with an irrational desire to be perfect.
If you or someone you know struggles with pressure to be perfect, it may be time to seek professional help. Seek a licensed professional counselor (LPC) for an assessment.
Have you started your son’s exit plan?
First, clearly this is not about “kicking your son out of the house” into a scary world without preparation. It is exactly the opposite-it is responsible parenting, preparing him to be a responsible, independent and healthy adult.
Exit Plans Are Necessary
I often hear from parents that their adult son is not motivated or doesn’t have goals; my first question is “does he have an “exit plan?” I lay out specific steps to follow in my blog Parenting-3 Step Process to Developing an Exit Plan. (more…)
It’s a good time to talk about “aggressiveness, assertiveness and aggressive behavior!” My recent blog on healthy masculinity was to caution getting caught up in the recent frenzy that masculinity was the “cause” for bad behavior.
Masculinity and guns don’t go hand in hand; masculinity and irrational behavior don’t either! But what do you do when your son displays aggressiveness and/or aggressive violent behavior?
Identify the Behavior
I want to focus here on aggressiveness and aggressive violent behavior.
Hopefully, you will never be in a position where you need to consider calling the police or mental health authorities to help you help your son. Unfortunately, in this age of opioid abuse, school shootings and other crises affecting our youth, the topic of “When to Get Help and How” needs to be addressed. You must learn to recognize the signs that your child has become a danger to himself or others and know what to do next. (more…)
Masculinity continues to be debated in the media as “bad” and “toxic” I’m motivated to bring some alarming facts to your attention.
Perp’s in Sheep’s Clothing
If you’re watching the news you are hearing weekly sometimes daily of arrests of female teachers, female coaches perpetrating adolescent boys. It’s becoming epidemic, CBS news reports there are more than 800 documented cases. This is what’s happening behind the scenes while society is trying to figure out “how to” teach boys to be less masculine!
Any time an adult male or female perpetrates a child it’s abuse and is not okay, but less attention is given to the boys. Sadly I’ve witnessed this firsthand. My client, a 30-yr. old adult male, going through a divorce as a result of infidelity shared a burden he carried since the age of 16. He had been seduced by an older woman and tragically his father was “quietly/secretively” proud of him. He carried the wound for years, until he met me and dealt with his pain. (more…)
We’re hearing a lot these days about masculinity and boys. Most of what’s being said I disagree with!
Masculinity is being attacked as a problem, a bad thing, that it’s toxic. As a facilitator, researcher and male I find this disturbing! Masculinity isn’t why a boy would walk into a school and begin shooting. Masculinity is what makes a male a man; just as femininity makes a female a woman!
Masculinity is by definition:
A set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with boys and men. Words like virility, manliness, maleness, machismo, vigor, strength, ruggedness, robustness and testosterone are often associated.
Are we trying to change the male?
Have we thought this through?
Men and boys are being unfairly lumped into a general category labeled “bad.” (more…)
It was a tragic sight on the T.V. screen. Another school shooting; this time 17 innocent lives taken.
When will it stop? Not until change happens!
The Tom Roten Morning Show
The link below will take you to my recent interview with Tom. Why this was a “perfect storm.”
Change doesn’t happen if nothing changes. There are many opinions when something tragic happens. Mine is that we start by acknowledging boys are in trouble and need our help. If you have a son, make sure you’re communicating and spending time together. Make sure he’s spending 3-5 hours minimum with a healthy male example (preferably that’s dad) weekly. That’s a good place to start!