Guy School: Enculturation of Raising Boys Into Men

I recently came across an article from The Meadows that stated “trauma is anything less than nurturing.”

man learning to recognize emotionsWow!

This led me to think about how “guy school,” the almost universal cultural training for the raising of boys into men, is in many ways traumatic. Boys learn, from early on, that they can be mad or they can be glad, but it is not OK to be sad or scared.

The latter feelings are not manly. So a man may think he is in touch with his feelings because he can get angry easily.

Not so fast!

Unless a man can also be in touch with his sad feelings and is able to admit when he is scared, he is still very much under the influence of his “guy school” training.

I was recently talking to a man who said he hates the idea of being in therapy, but he could deal a lot better with the idea of being in recovery. I said yeah, we are both “recovering guys,” learning to embrace all of our feelings: in particular, feelings of being sad and scared. And in the process leaving guy school, healing our trauma and becoming more human.

What are your thoughts about “guy school?”  Share your comments below.

By John Mariner,
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

2 Responses - click here to join the conversation to “Guy School: Enculturation of Raising Boys Into Men”

  1. Hi John,

    Just doing a little research before meeting with my web designer tomorrow AM and found this short article. Very nicely framed and inviting for guys to be in “recovery” (as we all are I think). Loved the “anything less than nurturing.

    Nice work! Jen

  2. Yes, I agree with your thoughts about this. And I think many younger men are much more comfortable with their vulnerable feelings then men used to be. I have facilitated many transformational groups, and have noticed the marked difference between the younger and older men in this regard.

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