The Making of Men
Dr Arne Rubinstein understands boys.
He has raised two boys of his own and worked with thousands of others as they’ve made the sometimes difficult journey from boyhood to manhood. His insights, gleaned from nearly 30 years experience in the field, are in his book, The Making of Men. Raising boys to be happy, healthy and successful. It’s a helpful guide for parents anxious to empower their sons to make safe and sensible choices during the wonder years.
“In my experience, all parents worry about what is happening, or what is going to happen, to their child when they become a teen,” explains Dr Arne. That concern is understandable. Most parents are familiar with the risks of drugs, alcohol, peer group pressure and technology.
Not all, however, know that Australia has the highest rate of youth suicide in the western world and that one in four young people will experience a mental health issue in any 12-month period. However, there’s a lot that we as parents can to do to stop our sons from becoming one of these sad statistics. We can not only support their transition to manhood but also prepare them for a fulfilling future.
“If someone has a healthy personal identity, he will be motivated to do something with his life”Dr Arne Rubinstein
Dr Arne believes it’s important for parents to help their boys to develop a ‘personal identity’. We can do this on a number of fronts. We can provide them with life skills, help them to identify and acknowledge their individual gifts and talents, and love them for who they are. “If someone has a healthy personal identity, he will be motivated to do something with his life,” says Dr Arne. As the boy evolves into a man, his relationship will change with both his dad and mum.
A dad is especially important at this sensitive time of a boy’s development. Yet dads spend an average of less than an hour a day with their sons. Dr Arne says that ironically we’re living in the most ‘under-fathered’ time in history. It’s important for dads to be available to their sons, emotionally and physically.
The teenage years are when a new sort of relationship can be forged between father and son. If it’s done correctly, it will last a lifetime. Dr Arne says it’s a great time for dads to introduce their sons to their world and to the larger world of men.
Dads should honour and recognise the boys’ gifts and talents and also allow for a shift in the balance of power. They are both men, and the opinion of each must be heard and respected. As dads engage more, mums need to shift too to allow the boy to grow emotionally.
They need to be strengthened, not strangled. They don’t need to be rescued. They need space to make their own decisions. “The big challenge for mothers is to give their boys space when they become teens and not to smother them,” explains Dr Arne. “Similarly fathers need to stop telling their sons how to live their lives and instead start working with them.”
The Making of Men: Raising boys to be happy, healthy and successful Kindle Edition
Booktopia has The Making of Men, Raising boys to be happy, healthy and successful by Dr Arne Rubinstein.
In an Australian first, Dr Arne Rubinstein and Brighton Grammar, an all-boys’ school in Melbourne, will form a 3-year partnership to deliver a school-wide rites of passage program drawing on their combined research and experience in helping boys make a safe, healthy transition from child to young man.Muriel Reddy is a writer and journalist. This article is about Parenting
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