The Boy Crisis, A Sobering Look at the State of our Boys by Warren Farrell

I suggest you watch the Ted Talk on You Tube featuring Warren Farrell. It is titled: The Boy Crisis: A Sobering Look at the State of our Boys. See the link below.

In the talk he addresses what he calls the boy crisis in our country. Farrell exposes the causes for the high levels of violence, suicide and lack of purpose experienced by boys in our culture.

He explains that the mass shootings occurring in our country are often attributed to mental health issues and access to guns. He says we often overlook the fact that girls are also brought up in the same homes with theses same issues and it is boys acting out in violent ways.

He posits that there are several reasons for the Boy Crisis and the first is that boys today are Dad Deprived. Many boys grow up fatherless. He also states that most of the men in prison grew up without fathers.  This lack of healthy male guidance and presence feeds the lack of empathy we witness in young men and boys. Studies have shown that empathy levels increase in boys (and girls) when there is a father in their lives. Farrell also eloquently says, “Boys who hurt, hurt us.”

He adds that the absence of male teachers also deprives boys of models of males that are caring and present for them. This is especially true for the elementary school level where boys lack the ability to, “sit still, face forward and pay attention.” Male teachers may be more tuned in to these behaviors as being “normal” for boys that needs to be channeled rather that chastised.

Another aspect of the Boy Crisis is the lack of purpose that boys experience. He states that the feminist movement has expanded the number of roles and careers that girls have available. He includes the STEM fields which were previously off limits.  And notes that the caring professions, such as, nursing, teaching, social work and counseling remain largely female. Boys traditionally have been given the message that their purpose is the earn money, earn money, earn money. And while those purposes have been opened to girls as well we have made little progress in opening the caring fields to boys. If they could find support to be in those fields they could expand their roles and find the value in caring for others and being cared for.

As one comedian said, “Girls are told they can be doctors, firefighters, moms, CEOs and the options for boys are still either prison or work. That’s it!”  Boys rarely feel they have the choice to be stay at home dads, day care providers, nurses, in other words, be in a nurturer role. That limitation plays into the isolation that boys often feel because they are cut off from their feelings. They only know that they are pulled back from family or friends with little room to express their emotions in a healthy way or address the pain or depression they may be feeling.

In his talk Farrell says that empathy is developed by having a present father. One part of solving this Boy Crisis is to have father’s do the work on themselves, belong to a Men’s Group or be in therapy. By doing that kind of working on themselves they can show up emotionally present and guide their sons on the journey to manhood.

I highly recommend you watch Warren Farrell’s ted talk and see what you think after watching it.

Click here to read more about Counseling for Men.