The Nurture of a Man

learning the Boy Code

For a better understanding of male nurture, let’s take a quick look at the second part of my last post. According to Attachment Theory, healthy human development relies heavily upon the processes of relationship, especially upon our primary need for emotional connection with someone who is available and responsive to our needs.

male nurture

However, boys typically experience relational trauma that girls rarely do. Early on in life, it usually goes something like this …

As a toddler, he got picked on by another kid at the park …

  • And His mom or dad held back to see what he would do.
  • When he came to report the offense, he was required to provide explanation.
  • His tears were something shameful.
  • Big boys don’t cry, so stop whining and figure out what to do.
  • He learned that he was on his own.
  • He would have to solve his own problems somehow.

Childhood was a very different experience for him than it is for a girl.


He knew he had friends because of their shared activities. Unlike a girl and her best friend in childhood who shared intimate secrets, he was busy hanging out with a whole gang of guys who did stuff together. No secret-sharing.

 

Male Nurture & The Boy Code

You can ask any man about this. But according to research psychologist Dr. William Pollack, every boy learns “The Boy Code” as a matter of course:
  1. Be a Sturdy Oak.
    Whimpering, crying, complaining, or any sign of weakness is strictly forbidden.
  2. Give ‘Em Hell.
    Risk-taking behavior of a macho, invincible, sometimes violent, high-energy superman is encouraged.
  3. Be the Big Wheel.
    Dominate others and refuse to let anyone know you actually feel like a failure or like life is out of control.
  4. No Sissy Stuff Allowed.
    This last commandment is what Dr. Pollack believes prohibits boys from expressing any feelings or urges that might be viewed as feminine, such as dependence, warmth, empathy. Great, huh?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • Have you observed the Boy Code in action?
  • How do you think it plays out for an adult male?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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