There is a “delicate age” called Teenage, an era of transitioning into adulthood. During transitioning, poor guidance can lead to a damaged adulthood – Just like an obstruction that can redirect a moving body from the right path.
Adolescence, like any growth, has a peak. The peak is not year-specific due to some factors but it has a range. Mostly, the age range where Parents and teachers are not paying attention to is the transitioning age! The stage they don’t really understand the Boy or Girl when they start showing unprecedented behaviors.
The delicate age – This age starts from middle adolescence (Ages 15 -17) and transitioning into young adulthood (Ages 18 – 24).
Parents begin to feel less competent at this phase; because the sweet Bernie that was such a darling and abiding has now turned wild – dares to talk back, or even walk away in the middle of a corrective conversation.
This phase is where a child is trying to figure out his place in this world; his destiny! In the case of Bernie who is battling to identify his self-belief, self-worth, and esteem – he wants to be Obama and Patoranking at the same time; he wants to be Jeff Bezos and the local politician or TV personality at the same time.
He probably wants to be rich in the future without breaking a sweat, since the highlight reels of the people he views on social media have shown him how living a lie and being vain is the new rich. Even as his academics may not be so promising, he is picking so much from the social environment that sees academic excellence as a waste of time.
Mummy doesn’t make sense anymore with her ideas and pieces of advice, and daddy is either absent or so silent, slouching in the armchair unbothered about the battle between mommy and Bernie.
Bernie falls into the category of dreamers and learners. They feel the world is unfair, and that everyone (both at school and at home) is trying to limit their freedom. Here is the point, this is not a child you take for granted. This is not a child you scream at to toe the line.
These are children you walk with through their fantasies, make them mirror their lives, and tell them about the greatness of being Obama without downplaying being Patoranking and vice versa. You have to guide them about being Jeff Bezos without losing their identity and the work it takes to be there. You have to take them through one dream at a time until they see which one is more practical and achievable.
At the transitioning age, you have to forgive the child over and over, and help them identify their mistakes without necessarily being mean or violent. This is a child you show love, and make your friend even when they are unwilling to be yours, so that they can express freely all of their fantasies, frustrations, and struggles in life; welcome all the topics they raise and be honest with them.
To fathers, this is a child you watch closely and be emotionally available for. Teach them life skills from your experience – remember the lesson is your life, from how you relate with their mother to how you handle ‘situations’ in the house.
What you say to him can make or break. A simple negative comment like “you can never reach the game level as LeBron,” or “you are stupid” can be a life-changing comment.
These are children you take through their hopes and dreams, as mentioned earlier. They need constant reminders that they are the best, and the necessary support and love to make them proactive and positively developed.
They need to feel safe and accepted by both the teachers and the parents. The world out there is so unfair and competitive, sometimes exhausting. Be their harbor of hope and peace. Above all, they need to see that trust in your eyes for them to believe in themselves and find home a safe space.
We need to stop destroying many young men at teenage by the way we provide guidance.
We need to stop making them feel timid by the way we prevent them from being expressive.
We need to stop instilling rebellious characters; teaching masculinity as just body strength is wrong.
This is how we raise the RENEWED MALE – to help them build a purpose driven life deliberately.
The Renewed Mane is a project by ImeyReach Foundation to raise the boy child right for a better society.
Contribution from Andrea Otieno – Director of Men Empowerment, ImeyReach Foundation.