Have you ever said or heard another person say, “Boys will be boys”? I wonder how you responded or how those around you responded.
In a March 2014 article written in Psychology Today by Elizabeth Meyer, Ph.D., she states:
“The expression ‘boys will be boys’ attempts to explain away aggressive behaviors that a small number of children exhibit by linking it with “natural” or “biological” impulses, without examining other reasons for the aggression. Linking aggressive behaviors with a child’s sex assigned at birth ignores all the other environmental (family, media influences, messages at school, etc.) and individual factors (personality, nutrition, body chemistry, etc.) that might be influencing behavior. It creates an easy excuse to fall back on so adults don’t have to examine other reasons for such aggressive behaviors. It is also often used to justify schoolyard bullying and causes many adults to accept negative behaviors as natural.”
These four words have always made me uncomfortable. We should not utter these four words to make excuses for bullying, mistreatment of others, or aggressive actions. It is not okay. Boys, similar to girls, need to be held accountable. I encourage all of us to remove this phrase from our parenting and educating vocabulary.
Boys also need strong relationships. They need to feel loved though they may not admit it until later in life. A Parents.com article entitled, “How to Handle Raising Boys,” has five pieces of advice:
- Monitor Aggression
- Model Good Behavior
- Emphasize Kindness and Sensitivity
- Encourage Emotional Expression
- Look Beyond the Dirt and Noise
For those looking for additional resources and reading materials, a leading figure on educating boys is Dr. Michael Thompson, author of nine books including the highly acclaimed book Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys. Thompson is a consultant, author, and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School, an independent school outside Boston, MA, and has worked in more than seven hundred schools across the United States, as well as in international schools.
How does this relate to a middler? What we do now will pay off, which is why our mission skills and our mission statement at Moravian Academy are so important. Social-Emotional Skills (SEL) are valuable for middlers now and after they leave the school setting. At Moravian, we are working to create a different outcome for our students, and we seek your partnership throughout the lives of our middlers to cultivate a society that believes in “love and understanding.”