In an age of political correctness and gender neutrality, it is important to remember that boys and girls are different because God created them uniquely. A mature understanding of parenting requires that we not be gender avoidant, but sensitive to the notion that boys and girls each require a different approach.
While both genders need leadership from their parents, boys seem to need it in greater amounts, and at a more simple level. Boys require love and nurturing, but will often grow very unhappy and get into trouble without firm leadership, specifically in the form of a father. Any group of boys, on the playground or on a sports team, will quickly form a hierarchy of leadership. This happens naturally, as boys, and men, function by establishing an order of dominance. Keep it simple when parenting your young man. He needs to know he is not the dominant male in the home. The way to accomplish this is to have men in his life who lead by example, not just with words. You will quickly be aware of the importance of this principle when it is not practiced. Even well adjusted boys will push the boundaries of their own influence and authority in families where there are not men to hold them in check. In a sense, they attempt to become a man in regards to freedom, while keeping the responsibilities of a boy. The result is a young man who disrupts the home and increasingly defies authority. Love him enough to stand up to him.
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