How do boys become men? It’s a question not enough people are asking. The truth is that boys become men intentionally, with the guidance of community, from both the masculine side and the feminine side.
Male rites of passage often included a young boy between the ages of ten and twelve being taken away from his mother for a period of time to live with elder men — strong males that would cut off his nurturance from his mother — in order to teach him to individuate from her as a man. It’s been said that girls naturally become women, but boys become men only with specific guidance, taking specific actions.
This is the purpose of these rites of passage — so that a man would no longer derive his identity his mother. He would not seek the feminine to teach him masculinity.
These rituals were often very taxing to the boy. He A would typically be pushed to his edges, which often included fasting or other forms of starvation from nutrients, physical edges pushed, and confronting mortality. Through the ritual, he formed relationship with death, which would then help the young boy find his place in the cosmos and the natural universe as a man.
The point is that being a man is differentiated from being a boy. Other boys couldn’t take him through this process. Women or girls couldn’t guide him through this process. Only the community of men could do it.
In traditional cultures, becoming a man was often synonymous with becoming a warrior by teaching him to stand in adversity and against great odds while finding his power from within to protect, provide, shelter, lead, and overcome. To take charge and control in chaos and create order and safety from it are masculine virtues. Boy can rightly be expected to shirk in moments like these, but men step forward and lead.
Finding who he was — his own internal compass — when pushed to the edge, while also finding support in a group of men, he would then assert his own wild masculine energy. Traditional cultures knew that men had to maintain their edge. They knew that undifferentiated, neutered men wouldn’t be able to properly lead and protect the community.
When a man is raised solely by a woman he may never go through the process of severing his need to derive nourishment from her as he defines himself as a man. Therefore, his masculinity will be derived from his relationship to his mother — from the feminine.
See also: Giordana’s interview with Connor Beaton
And even if she hardens herself to become very masculine, she will still not be able to help her son find himself as a man — only other men can lead a boy into manhood.
Boys remain in submission to feminine leadership if they never have a man or community of men to initiate them. What this means is that a boy’s relationship with women will be in part a search for the masculinity he derived from his mother.
This means he will subconsciously be looking to her to lead with the masculine, which means he cannot step out from the role of son with her, and cannot be her man. Men like these will be looking for a woman whom they can derive masculinity from, and they will be pushing for a powerful, successful woman in order to feel successful within themselves.
If the woman he’s with is feminine at the core — meaning she wants him to be the leader, the protector, the one with more grit — this will be problematic for her. She will then feel like she’s the one with more resilience when things get difficult. When he feels pushed to his edge and doesn’t find his own masculinity, he’ll need to draw from hers.
How a man is initiated into his masculinity is opposite to a how a woman is initiated into her feminine. In many ways, nature initiates girls into women with the natural cycles of womanhood. But boys require a purposeful program of initiation.
With my clients that have young boys, I’ll often help them to understand their huge role in helping this young boy enter manhood. I teach fathers how to initiate rites of passage and mothers to support him as a man and not cling to him because of her own need to hold on as a mother.
When the boy returned, a man would come back to his mother, she would then recognize him as a man first, son second. When women fail to recognize their son as a man, they emasculate him and repeat a negative cycle.
How Women Can Facilitate the Transition From Boyhood into Manhood
In traditional cultures, these rites of passage were developed over millennia and would have felt as timeless and natural as the rising of the sun to the people practicing them. If you look at traditional religious cultures like Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, or Hinduism, there is also a routine series of rituals to guide members of society through life.
But, many millions of people in the modern West are living without the guidance of strict religious principles. While many of us wouldn’t change a thing, we can’t deny that something essential is lost in the process.
So, to initiate boys into men we have to make the best of what we have.
For mothers, one fantastic way to help his transition into manhood is to step more into your feminine with your boy as he gets into this age range ten and twelve. For example, you an:
- Let him lead
- Let him take charge at the grocery store
- Ask him to come up with plans
- Ask him what he thinks
- Get him to think resourcefully
- Have him contribute to the household
- Let him get a little job
- Having him manage a little bit of money
- Let him open doors for you
- Let him engage in rough play with other boys
- Support him to play sports
Those are just a few ways to begin loosening the his is all of course under the caveat that your little one is more naturally a masculine energy at his core despite his gender.
How Men Can Facilitate the Transition from Boyhood into Manhood
If you are a father or otherwise instrumental in the life of a boy, you can play a massive role in helping your boy become a man. Of course, if you already adhere to a religious system, you can ensure that you continue to guide your boy into manhood by following the rituals of your tradition.
But even that, in the modern context, might not be enough given everything else going on in the world around you. For example, if you’re a busy professional, it’s likely that your boy might still end up spending most of his time routinely led only by women. Most schools have an 80/20 ratio of women to men as teachers, and most households are still largely run by women, even if both parents work full time.
The reality is that if you want to fully initiate your boy into manhood, you will have to make a special effort. Here are a few suggestions for what you can do to help in this transition:
- Be very supportive and engaged in their activities like sports or clubs
- Wake up early with them to spend character building time working out or studying
- Set aside special ‘date days’ to spend only with your boy
- Plan a quest style trip where your boy will be forced to undergo some adversity and will receive an official initiation into manhood
- Support them to do man-like things like working at a job or running a small business
Most of all, for both men and women, we just need to be aware that the transition into manhood in our times is complicated, complex, and requires very specific leadership on your part. Do not expect your boy to fully embrace his manhood without some specific effort.
Sitting around playing video games or watching YouTube videos won’t work, and sadly, this is where many modern boys are spending the bulk of their time. Of course, they can still enjoy entertainment and relaxed recreation. But if this is the only thing boys are doing with their downtime, don’t expect them to transition successfully into manhood.
More By Giordana Tocacceli on the ManTalks Blog:
How Masculine Men Protect Women’s Feminine Energy
When Your Partner Isn’t Attracted To You Anymore
What to Do When She Doesn’t Want Sex Anymore
Why Women Stay in Relationships with Emotionally Unavailable Men
Giordana Toccaceli is an International Dating, Relationship and Intimacy Expert having worked with thousands of women and men around the world to become their most attractive and magnetic selves and attract incredible partners into their lives in record time.
Giordana has worked with a wide range of clients from Top CEOs, Billionaires, successful entrepreneurs, professional athletes, actors, models and every day men and women. She is a regular contributor to Univision TV’s morning show “Despierta Austin” and the Founder of Woman’s Allure and the Co-Founder of Embody Love Project.
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