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Thread: Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

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    Lightbulb Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

    "Raising Boys" by Steve Biddulph is a wonderful book for parents with sons (or even just for men or women with men/boys in their lives!).

    Here's a few passages from it.....


    Why Boys Scuffle and Fight.

    Testosterone also affects mood and energy - it is more than just a growth hormone. There's no doubt it causes energetic and boisterous behaviour. That's why, for centuries, horses were gelded to make them better behaved. Testosterone, injected into female rats, makes them try to mate with other female rats and fight with each other. It makes certain parts of the brain grow and others slow down in growth. It can grow more muscles and less fat, and it can make you go bald and bad tempered!

    How testosterone affects the psychology of makes can be illustrated by a famous study. A tribe of monkeys in a laboratory was closely observed to learn about its social structure. Researchers found that the male monkeys had a definite hierarchy or pecking order. The females' hierarchy was looser and more relaxed, and based on who groomed whose hair! But the males always knew who was boss, and sub-boss, and sub-sub boss, and had frequent fights to prove it.

    Once the researchers had worked out the monkeys dynamics, they set about to stir up trouble. They captured the lowest-ranking male monkey and gave him an injection of testosterone. Then they put him back with the tribe. You can guess what happended next. He started a boxing match with his 'immediate superior'. Much to his own surprise, he won! So he went and took on the next monkey! Within twenty minutes he had worked his way up and tossed off the biggest monkey from the highest branch. Our hero was small, but he had testosterone! 'He became the acting manager'.

    Sadly for him, this was not to last. The injection soon wore off, and our little hero was knocked back all the way down to the bottom of the heap.....

    The point is that testosterone influences the brain and makes boys more concerned with rank and competition.


    Boys Need Order.

    In their book "Raising a Son", Don and Jeanne Elium tell the story of an old scoutmaster who comes and sorts out a hopelessly rowdy scout troop in their city. This is the scout troup from hell: the boys are always fighting and damaging the hall, nothing is being learned and many gentler boys have left the troop, the scoutmaster sets some rules, invites a couple of boys to shape up or leave, brings in a clear structure and begins teaching skills in an organised way. He successfully turns the group around. In a couple of months it is thriving.

    The scoutmaster explained to the Eliums that in his experience there are three things boys always need to know:

    1. Who's in charge?
    2. What are the rules?
    3 Will those rules be fairly enforced?


    The Key Word is Structure.

    Boys feel insecure and in danger if there isn't enough structure in a situation. If no-one is in charge, they begin jostling with each other to establish the pecking order. Their testosterone-driven make-up leads them to want to set up hierarchies, but they can't always do it because they are all the same age. If we provide structure, then they can relax. For girls, this is not so much of a problem.......

    Boys act tough to cover up their fear. If someone is clearly the boss, they relax. But the boss must not be erratic or punitive. If the person in charge is a bully, the boys stress levels rise, and it's back to the law of the jungle. If the teacher, scoutmaster or parent is kind and fair (as well as being strict) then boys will drop their 'macho' act and get on with learning.

    This seems to be an in-built gender difference. If girls are anxious in a group setting they tend to cower and be quiet, whereas boys respond by running about, making a lot of noise.

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    Sv: Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

    This is all very interesting. An obvious conclusion, in relation to modern society, is: let men have their "discriminating" hierarchies, their castes, and so on - otherwise, we will have all the stress, chaos, "murder/pillage/rape" that is so obvious in egalitarian societies.

    Their testosterone-driven make-up leads them to want to set up hierarchies, but they can't always do it because they are all the same age.
    This phenomenon has been discovered before; among paleolithic peoples, one always makes sure to have one child every four years, no more, in order to preserve a natural hierarchy within families.

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    Thumbs Up Re: Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

    An obvious conclusion, in relation to modern society, is: let men have their "discriminating" hierarchies, their castes, and so on - otherwise, we will have all the stress, chaos, "murder/pillage/rape" that is so obvious in egalitarian societies.
    Yes, I'm starting to think more that way myself too. Only, it wouldn't do to just "let men" have their own hierarchies.... for the sake of community unity, such a model of organisation would need to apply to all (men, women and children to a greater or lesser extent).

    The challenge, of course, would be in raising suitable leaders from boyhood into manhood.....
    But the boss must not be erratic or punitive. If the person in charge is a bully, the boys stress levels rise, and it's back to the law of the jungle. If the teacher, scoutmaster or parent is kind and fair (as well as being strict) then boys will drop their 'macho' act and get on with learning.
    Food for thought anyway.

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    Re: Sv: Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ensittare

    This phenomenon has been discovered before; among paleolithic peoples, one always makes sure to have one child every four years, no more, in order to preserve a natural hierarchy within families.

    I never heard of this before. In today's society it seems that people try and space their children approximately every 2 years. My own children are spaced 4-4.5 years apart. They are ages 8, 4, 3months. I tell everyone that this spacing is so perfect. I'd like another child, and I don't plan to try for it for around 3 more years from now.

    Regarding the article above, I believe it is true for all children that they need someone who is firm, yet kind and fair. This type of parenting is called authoritative parenting. The other two parenting styles are authroitarian and permissive. More recent models also include styles such as indulgent and uninvolved. For more information on parenting styles and their consequences in the child's behavior, see the following links or google up some yourself:
    http://www.rollercoaster.ie/discipli..._parenting.asp

    http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/re...?b_start:int=2

    http://society.guardian.co.uk/childr...423335,00.html
    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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    Sv: Re: Sv: Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer
    I never heard of this before. In today's society it seems that people try and space their children approximately every 2 years. My own children are spaced 4-4.5 years apart. They are ages 8, 4, 3months. I tell everyone that this spacing is so perfect. I'd like another child, and I don't plan to try for it for around 3 more years from now.
    I read recent studies by Swedish scientists, who had visited tribes of hunters/gatherers on various islands in the Pacific Ocean. Some of their conclusions included how the children would be breastfed until the age of four or five (!), and then a new child would be born. The child would thus always be given breastmilk and comfort whenever he/she needed it, as the mothers would focus all their attention to one child 24/7. This can sound extreme to modern people, but it appeared to the scientists to be in perfect harmony with human nature and social structures.

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    Arrow Re: Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

    Some of their conclusions included how the children would be breastfed until the age of four or five (!), and then a new child would be born. The child would thus always be given breastmilk and comfort whenever he/she needed it, as the mothers would focus all their attention to one child 24/7.
    This just doesn't ring true to me. After an infant begins "solid" foods and supplimentation of other fluids (water or juice) their consumption of breast milk is reduced and continues to be reduced from that time on until they may be having only 1,2 or maybe even 3 feeds a day.... but 24/7? No. NEWBORNS feed virtually 24/7.

    When milk consumption is reduced, milk producing hormones (oxytocin etc) are reduced too. And these are the hormones that prevent ovulation. I have heard of women who exclusively breastfeed and fall pg a few months after the birth of their baby. Lactation is a notoriously unreliable contraceptive method. Not just that, but breastfeeding a 4 or 5yr old is unnecessary (not to mention a bit SICK) in my opinion.

    I was always under the impression that in more primitive societies, that tend to rely on round the clock lactation as a contraceptive method, couples tend to naturally have on average one baby every 2 years.

    I wonder how an age gap of 4 or 5 yrs would maintain natural hierarchy within families..... please explain (if you know)?

    The child would thus always be given breastmilk and comfort whenever he/she needed it, as the mothers would focus all their attention to one child 24/7. This can sound extreme to modern people,
    Not just to modern people, I don't think, but anyone with more than a couple of kids! A mother with several children just wouldn't have time to constantly breastfeed her newest addition.



    When I get around to it, I might type out a couple of passages on how differing brain structures in girls and boys affect learning, communication, perception etc too. Its useful to know how to encourage our kids to realise their optimum potential.


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    AW: Sv: Re: Sv: Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ensittare
    I read recent studies by Swedish scientists, who had visited tribes of hunters/gatherers on various islands in the Pacific Ocean. Some of their conclusions included how the children would be breastfed until the age of four or five (!), and then a new child would be born. The child would thus always be given breastmilk and comfort whenever he/she needed it, as the mothers would focus all their attention to one child 24/7. This can sound extreme to modern people, but it appeared to the scientists to be in perfect harmony with human nature and social structures.
    Another reasons is that the child will be in the famous 7 years more independent - so new children or new partners can be found in theory since the "first investment" was largely successful already.
    Furthermore the women had to bear the child, so in mobile groups it could be problematic having two small children at the same time, even more so if it would be about more than two.

    Boys feel insecure and in danger if there isn't enough structure in a situation. If no-one is in charge, they begin jostling with each other to establish the pecking order. Their testosterone-driven make-up leads them to want to set up hierarchies, but they can't always do it because they are all the same age. If we provide structure, then they can relax. For girls, this is not so much of a problem.......
    Thats together with other differences why girls are better in school, especially in the early years if the school model is liberal-anti-authoritarian. Females tend still to social adaptation then usually, whereas much more boys become "problem cases" of various kinds.
    Magna Europa est patria nostra
    STOP GATS! STOP LIBERALISM!

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    Sv: Re: Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bridie
    This just doesn't ring true to me. After an infant begins "solid" foods and supplimentation of other fluids (water or juice) their consumption of breast milk is reduced and continues to be reduced from that time on until they may be having only 1,2 or maybe even 3 feeds a day.... but 24/7? No. NEWBORNS feed virtually 24/7.
    I think we still have to remember that this is what we witness as normal in modern societies, which, as you know, hardly reflects the "biologically correct."

    When milk consumption is reduced, milk producing hormones (oxytocin etc) are reduced too. And these are the hormones that prevent ovulation. I have heard of women who exclusively breastfeed and fall pg a few months after the birth of their baby. Lactation is a notoriously unreliable contraceptive method.
    Very good point. I actually have no idea how they "solve" this in the societies mentioned. But who knows; since paleolithic health is in many cases radically different from modern man's/woman's, maybe there is an answer there. (Though I doubt it.)

    Not just that, but breastfeeding a 4 or 5yr old is unnecessary (not to mention a bit SICK) in my opinion.
    First of all, I should revise that figure to 3-4 years of age, sorry about the typo. Anyway; how do we, as modern human beings, know it be unnecessary? This is, by the way, not only about the breastmilk in itself, but about the very important physical contact. According to the researchers, the lack of constant physical contact results in such modern phenomena as babies screaming during night, mental difficulties later in life etc. Babies among paleolithic peoples never scream - they have no reason to.

    I wonder how an age gap of 4 or 5 yrs would maintain natural hierarchy within families..... please explain (if you know)?
    Because of the age gap, younger children have older brothers or sisters to look up to. Children of the same age tend to compete more often. This is my impression, at least.

    Not just to modern people, I don't think, but anyone with more than a couple of kids! A mother with several children just wouldn't have time to constantly breastfeed her newest addition.
    I believe other female members of the tribe "help out."

    When I get around to it, I might type out a couple of passages on how differing brain structures in girls and boys affect learning, communication, perception etc too. Its useful to know how to encourage our kids to realise their optimum potential.
    Please do. That is one of the most interesting things to study at the moment, as more and more mainstream scientific sources admit to this doctrine of how hormones shape the brains of girls and boys etc.

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    Sv: AW: Sv: Re: Sv: Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Agrippa
    Furthermore the women had to bear the child, so in mobile groups it could be problematic having two small children at the same time, even more so if it would be about more than two.
    Absolutely. I believe this is very much connected to the "passive" nature of female attitude. It is interesting also to see how this affects the myth and spirituality of a people.

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    Thumbs Up Re: Sv: Re: Raising Boys - understanding male behaviour/needs.

    I think we still have to remember that this is what we witness as normal in modern societies, which, as you know, hardly reflects the "biologically correct."
    Absolutely.



    I actually have no idea how they "solve" this in the societies mentioned. But who knows; since paleolithic health is in many cases radically different from modern man's/woman's, maybe there is an answer there. (Though I doubt it.)
    No, I think you have a very valid point there. Physiologically and even sometimes anatomically people of the 1st world are quite different from those living in 3rd world conditions, I believe. Hormones in particular are affected easily by stress levels, nutrition, additives to food sources (hormones, drugs, chemical additives.... maybe even genetic modification?).


    First of all, I should revise that figure to 3-4 years of age, sorry about the typo. Anyway; how do we, as modern human beings, know it be unnecessary? This is, by the way, not only about the breastmilk in itself, but about the very important physical contact. According to the researchers, the lack of constant physical contact results in such modern phenomena as babies screaming during night, mental difficulties later in life etc. Babies among paleolithic peoples never scream - they have no reason to.
    Yeah, as far as breast milk goes, the Australian Breastfeeding Assoc. currently reccommends b/f'ing for the first 24mths of life. (Min. time reccommended is 12mths.)

    Leaving babies screaming at night is referred to as "Crying It Out" or "Controlled Crying", the former being self-explanatory, the latter being where the baby is left crying for eg, 1 min - then re-settled,; 2 mins - then re-settled; and so forth up to about 15 mins normally.

    "Co-sleeping", "Baby Wearing" and "attachment parenting" are often used in modern societies too - these parenting styles do not allow a baby to cry unattended. But b/f'ing is not absolutely necessary for the employment of these gentler techniques.

    I think the "crying it out" method that you're talking about was commonly used in the 50's and 60's, but is now frowned upon. (Thank God!)

    You may find this thread of interest....
    http://members.essentialbaby.com.au/...owtopic=203687



    Because of the age gap, younger children have older brothers or sisters to look up to. Children of the same age tend to compete more often. This is my impression, at least.
    That's true. Yet there are many pro's and con's for both larger and smaller age gaps.


    I believe other female members of the tribe "help out."
    That's true. And little boys often as young as 3 would venture out into the world of man's work with their fathers or other male tribal members, and therefore, his rearing from this age onwards would not be the sole responsibility of the female group members. (And would be a good way for young males to learn much needed skills to allow for the development of self-discipline and self-esteem - as well as using up some of that ABUNDANT energy!


    Please do. That is one of the most interesting things to study at the moment, as more and more mainstream scientific sources admit to this doctrine of how hormones shape the brains of girls and boys etc.
    Will do very soon!

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