Building Block #1: Space
It’s vital for boys to understand males often experience emotions with physicality attached to them. It’s why boys are prone to screaming, hitting, punching, balling up their fists or gritting their teeth. I’ve worked with boys who even growl like an animal when the emotion erupts inside of them. When a boy can channel the physicality of the emotion into something useful, he can offset the possibility of hurting others (or himself). We will explore more of this in chapter four with the milestone of Resourcefulness.
In a non-problematic time, I have boys make a list of five things they could do outside and inside involving movement of some kind. It’s not that listening to music, reading or playing on the iPad isn’t useful in redirecting their minds, but for this list, the only options involve movement - jumping on a trampoline, shooting hoops, running suicides, hitting a tree with a bat, hitting a pillow, running up and down stairs, climbing a tree, push ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and the list goes on and on. Some boys get to five and continue to ten.
Once he’s met the movement requirement, boys can certainly add options that don’t involve movement like journaling, drawing, working with clay or play-doh, listening to music or reading. Many boys will want to tie screens to this practice. For the purposes of this space, I discourage boys (and parents) from using electronics. Boys have a natural propensity to escape into gaming and social media. Don’t feed that animal. His screens should be separate from this practice. He needs to flex his creative muscle in choosing options for this space that don’t involve screens of any kind.
To further help the boys we love develop Perspective, an important Emotional Milestone, check out our new book, Are My Kids on Track?