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Cool guys – not cool at all

Search of identity
Adolescence: search of identity | ©: Studio-54 - Fotolia

What makes a boy?

What does not make a boy?

If you ask yourself any of those questions, then you will find that there are certain characteristics which are ascribed to boys. Consciously or unconsciously, we all have an image of a boy and, therefore, an expectation which is closely linked to this image.

  • Boys have to show courage
  • Boys are strong
  • Boys do not cry
  • Boys show no emotion
  • Boys fight back
  • Boys are not sentimental
  • Boys can do anything

And this just the tip of the iceberg. Value expectations are transmitted from one generation to the next through education, film and literature.

But how are the boys really? What’s going on inside them?

If you could see behind the scenes, you would see an inner despair in many guys. Instead, guys try to be cool, indestructible, sometimes even reserved and withdrawn. There is a great (unspoken) fear: The fear to show weakness.

the problem with puberty
©: ***SALAUYOU YURY*** - Fotolia

It is much harder for guys to open up and confide in others their problems. It takes a great deal of confidence for a boy to reveal his innermost problems. They prefer to avoid situations like that in the first place. Change the subject, give a few snappy answers all that to hide their insecurities and to cover up their "perceived embarrassment".

Because a boy is expected not to show certain characteristics, attributes which are undoubtedly present, he suppresses part of his male side.

"Education to unmanliness - the tendency to suppress the male side in boys comes close to emasculation. Many young boys rebel against this trend by compensating with a strong masculine appearance.” (Quote by Frank Beuster, Die Jungenkatastrophe (The Boy Disaster), p.95)

Boys need guidelines

Not easy to be a cool kid
Not easy to be a cool kid

Boys need guidance and are glad to receive instructions. Without "signposts" it can be easy for the boy to get lost in the jungle of expectations. It’s not uncommon for them to hit dead end roads with no way out. Insightful male youth leaders are essential to delivering acceptable and reliable role models.

Every youth leader must be aware that the "cool posturing" often is nothing else but the expression of insecurity. A wall, behind the growing man, is hiding his insecurities. Those are the boys who benefit most when encountering a sensitive, empathetic-listening youth leader. Unfortunately, not every youth worker is cut out for that and responses in a counterproductive way. The sad truth is, that is no platform for a young man to open up and accept the youth worker as a person he could confide. The boy, with all his issues and troubles, once again, is left to his own devices.

This is anything but cool!

[ © | 2000 Games and Ideas for Youth Work ] - 2000 Games and Ideas for Youth Work
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