From an early age, boys are encouraged to “act like a man,” “man up,” “tough it out,” or “suck it up.” These expectations give boys a very narrow view of masculinity. I grew up in a single parent household, and people always told me that I was the man of the house and should behave accordingly. However, I had no idea what that meant. I had a steep learning curve and picked many of the wrong lessons by watching older men and boys in my neighborhood. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I encountered more positive images of manhood and masculinity.
Now, I work with young boys to help them cope with their own masculinity. Many of them are confused and have distorted views on what it means to be a man. But there is hope, and it starts with parents. It’s crucial for parents to offer their sons a more holistic view of masculinity. Here are 7 things parents must teach their boys about masculinity.