Today I will look at what Lashlie discusses in chapters 4 – 6.
The Bridge of Adolescence
You could kind of see this coming, but the emphasis in this chapter was still saddening to me. For various reasons, Lashlie advocates that around 11/12 when a boy starts adolescence, it is really time for mum to get off “the bridge of adolescence” and that dad should step up and take lead during this time. Lashlie is not saying that mother’s do not have a role, but that at this critical time in a boy’s life he needs his father more. (I am certainly glad I have some time to prepare my stepping down!)
Lashlie then gives you an insight into what each year level is like from Year 7 – 12. The author confirms here what I had already heard in that Year 9 is a very difficult year. There is hope though as Lashlie speaks so positively of the gorgeous, wise young men she meets and converses with in Year 12, it would seem that the hard work put in earlier really does pay dividends.
External Forces: Alcohol, Drugs, Sport – and Girls
Having grown up with only 3 sisters, this chapter was indeed an eye opener for me. Some important points that I want to remember are:
The legal drinking age of 18 puts adolescent boys at significantly higher levels of risk.
Even at this early age, most boys believe that women are in charge.
Sport is an integral part of the journey to manhood for the vast majority of boys.
Adolescent Pragmatism: Why They Do What They Do
Lashlie feels that to understand an adolescent boy, you really need to understand their pragmatism. That is – “what’s in it for me, what’s the pay-off, why should I do this?”
This pragmatism also shows itself in the way most adolescent boys will do the work when the moment arrives and not before. The nagging, cajoling form parents is unlikely to have any impact.
“When he knows it’s up to him and only him whether something is does or doesn’t get done, when he’s able to link action with consequences, then he’ll begin to make good decisions for himself.”
Lashlie feels that to connect with your adolescent son and
“encourage him in making good decisions, we need to step into his timeframe.”
Although I still learnt significant amounts from the next chapters, these chapters were the core ones for me. Opening up a small window into the world of adolescent boys, a world that I have very little experience with. I am sure that these learnings will help me through what will most certainly be some challenging times.