Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tips on Teaching a Son about Manhood Written from a Woman's Perspective

It’s inevitable one day your little boy (or in the case of the celebrity Cher's situation a little girl) will one day become a man and you will either be proud to have raised them or ashamed that you hadn’t spent enough time to cultivate them into a productive member of society. So how do you prepare them while allowing them to feel free to be a child? The following is a project that you can do with them to help them understand more about their identity.
First, you will need to gather magazines, colorful construction paper, stickers, markers, crayons, and a small photo album or scrapbook for this project. You will want to have enough things for children to have their own items to use independently. You will need to get face paint to create manly features and/or something the boys can dress up in to help them change their appearance so that they look like little men.
You will want to also think of some things they would be interested in doing when they become men and have these statements pre-written on notes that can be placed on their photo album pages. List about five to ten statements related to things like education, money, job, wife, children, house, and place, etc. You can either have them rewrite the statements or type them up. Each statement appears on its own separate page. The paper doesn’t have to be fancy just simple paper that would be sufficient for a scrapbook project. It could be cut in triangles, circles, rectangles, various colors, and different textures. For instance, the statements would be “When I become a man I will…” and “My job will be…”
Next, you will explain to them that today you are going to see yourself as a man. Now you can start by painting a moustache and beard on them and some fake chest hair, dress them up in a man’s clothes or some male character’s costume. They will get a kick out of that! This is to help them start pretending to act like a man.
You will then ask them to act like a man they know. You may want to get your video camera out for this one. Then guess who they are trying to act like.
You will briefly interview them by asking them what they think of this man they are imitating and how does he make him feel.
Talk to them about their father’s work or some other male in the family or neighborhood they admire and ask them what they think about it.
After everyone has laughed a lot, you will settle them down for the next set of instructions.
Explain to them that they are not only pretending to be a man today, but they are also getting to do some things that men do. For instance, let’s say one boy cries out, “Does that mean I get to drive daddy’s truck?” Of course, you wouldn’t let him do that; however, he can pick out his own truck in a magazine. You would say, “I would like to see the kind of truck you would buy yourself when you become a man.” Then you would direct him to the magazine.
Next, you will ask them to find someone in the magazine that looks like the kind of man they may look like when they become older. You will use the statements to help usher the project along and you may want to add other things such as what would your wife look like and where would you live. Have them cut and paste people and things that would help them describe the kind of life they are hoping to live one day. Each time they make a choice ask them why did they pick that particular person or thing and let them explain without commenting. Even if you don’t personally like their choices, use that information to help you with your parenting skills.
At this point in the project they should be saying things like, “When I become a man I will…”
Suggest ways that they could decorate their photo album pages, using stickers, and other things to make their photos pages really stand out.
When they have completed each page answering each statement as it relates to their life as a man, have them talk about each page like they would if they were having show-n-tell in school.
You will use this project as a conversation starter when you are out with them going places such as, “Oh look at that football player, remember you said you wanted to be a football player when you became a man.” What you are trying to do is make his dream a reality by pointing out people in the world that are actually doing what he would like to do one day.
Think of all of the successful people in the world who had these childhood memories of one day becoming something and actually doing what they always dreamed, you are using a project like this to help your child identify with who he is as a child and most importantly who he will one day become!
By Nicholl McGuire

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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