RSS

Tag Archives: testosterone

Boys: Testosterone and Emotional Repression

9947161_sIn Wave Riders we talk about boys, testosterone, and the effect it can have on their emotions and actions. It shouldn’t be minimized, and Noah Brand, an Editor-at-Large at Good Men Project, explains his take on it below. Follow this link to read the full post Five Important Things Women Don’t Know About Men

 

Short version: testosterone is a hell of a drug. Those who’ve taken it as adults as part of a gender transition tend to report intense cravings for physical catharsis, flashes of inexplicable rage, and similar effects. And that’s taking it on purpose, knowing that it’s a drug, with an adult level of brain development and emotional maturity. Now imagine that happening to you without warning when you’re thirteen and have no idea what’s going on.
 
Almost every adult man walking around spent at least part of his adolescence dealing with sourceless, purposeless anger and a desire for violent catharsis. It’s like having a little devil on your shoulder constantly making the same unhelpful suggestion.
 

“I don’t know how I’m going to deal with this test Friday, I can’t cope.”

“Have you considered… VIOLENCE?”

“Shut up, shoulder devil, nobody asked you. Hmmm, what do I want for lunch…”

“Have you considered… VIOLENCE?”

“Shoulder devil that is NOT EVEN A FOOD.”

And so on. We spend years learning that our immediate emotional responses to things are absolutely not to be trusted. The first response to an emotional impulse must be to ignore it and repress it, just for safety. The men who didn’t learn that reflex? They’re the ones with criminal records for assault.
 
Once we mature out of adolescence, the hormones calm down and we’re fine, but by that point the cultural conditioning has been drilled in beyond repair, a million repetitions of “man up” and “crying is for girls” and on and on and on. What was a safety precaution in high school becomes a socially mandated norm.
 

 

The message to stuff emotions starts long before the teen years in early childhood with dire consequences long term. In Wave Riders we talk about how we can help boys understand and appreciate the full spectrum of their own masculinity and unique style.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Present Moment Parenting

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Testosterone Tip #2: Let him fight monster.

Let him fight a “monster.” One provider I know really turned up the gas on this to help solve some problems she was having with fights in the block area. There were some cool castle blocks that all the boys wanted. Even before the little guys were in the block area they were sparring about who should get them.

She made it into a story and said to her little guys, “We have a monster in block area. This monster makes boys get into fights and hurt their friends. Here’s a picture of the monster (she printed off a silly cartoon monster from the internet).”

She said that she needed the boys to fight the monster and that only little boys had the power to make him go away. She said that the monster would go away of little boys would hiss at it. She taught them to take really long, deep breaths and let it out slowly with a “sssssssssssss.” Every time you feel like fighting over the blocks, you need to make the “ssssssssssssss” and the monster will go away. “Every time we scare the monster away and get along with our friends, I’ll put a monster on the chart. Lets see how many monsters we can scare away this week!”

Of course, the snake breath is one of the most basic coping techniques for dealing with emotions, but the boys don’t need to know that for it to work. They’re probably still hissing!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Present Moment Parenting

 

Tags: , , , ,

Turning Testosterone Around in Childcare

Visit Susan Blackwood’s Gallery

I talked recently in one of my workshops about some of the ways testosterone affects boys on a physical and emotional level. In this post I will give a short-list of some of those, and over the next several days offer suggestions for ways childcare providers can turn the power of “T” to their advantage. If you don’t work in childcare, adapt the ideas or get in touch with me about your individual situation.

In boys testosterone is associated with:

  • A tendency toward risks
  • Aggressiveness
  • A tendency to compete/boast–fight/argue
  • Linear problem solving (there’s only ONE way rather then choosing from multiple solutions)
  • Immediate release (no delayed response)

Those things can all cause problems, but testosterone can also inspires boys to:

  • Rescue
  • Protect and serve
  • Defend
  • Be Loyal
  • Assert
  • Stand Up For Others
  • Plan
  • Get Stuff Done
  • Take Action/initiative
  • Fight for a Cause
  • Make a Difference
  • Go on a Mission.
  • It can relate to executive function, the ability to break something down, figure out the steps, and make it happen.

All of these are good things if we can steer them in the right direction. Here’s one practical idea.

Idea #1: Give him a mission. You can do this in simple ways or complex ways. Just telling a boy that you have a special mission for him can be a great way to get some help with a little job. It also gives him a sense of purpose and accomplishment. He will be proud that he has helped you. But you can make it much more fun than that.

I talked to a provider who had a problem with a wet area on her playground. The boys were ALWAYS magically drawn to the water and mud and she was sending them home with muddy clothes daily during the springtime. It’s great to let boys play in the mud sometimes, but it’s okay to know when to say when.

I recommended that she have a talk with the boys and tell them she needed their help. Tell them that she had a special mission for them. It was their mission to keep all the kids safe from “quicksand mud hole.” She asked them for some ideas and if they could help her teach the other children how to stay clear of the water.

They really got into it. They made yellow triangle caution signs, put up cones and ropes, talked to all the kids about the “danger,” and in general became the mud hole lifeguards.  Naturally, they had to set an example for the others as well. In the end, the number of plastic grocery bags being sent home full of muddy, wet clothes was greatly reduced, and the little guys got to have a meaningful role they could be proud of.

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Present Moment Parenting

 

Tags: , , , , ,