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The Boy Code Elizabeth Schroeder, Ed. D, MSW Answer Executive Director 2011 The Boy Code Elizabeth Schroeder, Ed. D, MSW Answer Executive Director 2011

This Webinar n Combination of research and professional experience working with adolescent boys n This Webinar n Combination of research and professional experience working with adolescent boys n Will focus on adolescent BOYS… not specific populations of boys

To reach boys…. . . we must first UNDERSTAND boys n n n How To reach boys…. . . we must first UNDERSTAND boys n n n How do they learn? From where/whom do they get support? What is the “boy code”?

How do they learn? (Good question…) The educational system is failing boys How do they learn? (Good question…) The educational system is failing boys

Boys Are More Likely Than Girls To… n n n Have discipline/behavior problems Be Boys Are More Likely Than Girls To… n n n Have discipline/behavior problems Be diagnosed with a learning disability or Attention Deficit Disorder Be placed in special education Drop out of school Score lower grades; usually behind in reading/writing

Social Development of Boys “The BOY CODE” William Pollack, Ph. D Social Development of Boys “The BOY CODE” William Pollack, Ph. D

What Is the “Boy Code”? n The unwritten code of boy behavior n Are What Is the “Boy Code”? n The unwritten code of boy behavior n Are not suggestions, are strict rules about how they "must" behave n Genuine fear of what will happen if they break them.

What Does the Boy Code Dictate? n n n n Tough Distrusts adults Doesn’t What Does the Boy Code Dictate? n n n n Tough Distrusts adults Doesn’t do anything “weak” or “sissy” Muscular Never cries Plays sports Doesn’t talk much Doesn’t “act like a girl”

The “Boy Code” n Boy Code: Needs to look like he knows what he’s The “Boy Code” n Boy Code: Needs to look like he knows what he’s doing – “I know, ok? ” – even if he doesn’t (starts early). n Girls: appearance important; Boys: appearances important (e. g. , video games)

What’s the “normal” range for an adolescent boy? n Wants to be HIMSELF – What’s the “normal” range for an adolescent boy? n Wants to be HIMSELF – different from parents, different from past n Eventually, different from peers n Looking to gain respect for what HE does and who HE is.

What’s the “normal” range for an adolescent boy? n May “one-up” people, especially peers What’s the “normal” range for an adolescent boy? n May “one-up” people, especially peers n Roughhousing n Humiliate and be humiliated n Homophobia ALL = MALE BONDING

Everything in an adolescent’s life revolves around sex and sexuality Everything in an adolescent’s life revolves around sex and sexuality

Everything in an adolescent boy’s life revolves around gender and masculinity Everything in an adolescent boy’s life revolves around gender and masculinity

Boys “tell” us that… n n n NEED to be heterosexual. NEED to have Boys “tell” us that… n n n NEED to be heterosexual. NEED to have sex. Want desperately to be good lovers. Consumed with giving partners orgasms. Obsessed with penis size. Concerned about statutory rape laws. Experience love in extremes.

From Sexetc. org “Hi. I'm very confused. I don't know if I'm gay, bi, From Sexetc. org “Hi. I'm very confused. I don't know if I'm gay, bi, whatever. I need you to tell me some signs for straight and gay or even bi boys. Please. I need to know; and I need to know now. ” -- 15 -year-old boy

From Sexetc. org “I am considering suicide because I do not know what to From Sexetc. org “I am considering suicide because I do not know what to do after my girlfriend left me. She is the only one I love and I cannot go on without her” -- 14 -year-old boy

From Sexetc. org “Is there anything i can eat, drink or buy to enlarge From Sexetc. org “Is there anything i can eat, drink or buy to enlarge my penis? Like that pump thing, does it really works? I hav difficulties since young like u know getting undress in front my friends. . . My first lov broke up wif me. . . Sometimes i just wish i wasn't born at all. Suicidal thoughts often cross my mind. i really need ur help. . . pls” – 17 -year-old boy

So… To reach boys with our sexuality lessons (e. g. , sexual initiation, healthy So… To reach boys with our sexuality lessons (e. g. , sexual initiation, healthy relationships, safer sex, etc. ) We need to spend MORE time looking at and incorporating gender/masculinity w/sexuality

Some things to consider… n Separating boys and girls (pros and cons) – research Some things to consider… n Separating boys and girls (pros and cons) – research on single-sex vs. co-ed schools n Spend MORE time with boys… bridge the gender gap n READ… get to know the RESEARCH, and adapt your existing activities/programs

Some more things to consider… n Gender of teacher: less important than respect n Some more things to consider… n Gender of teacher: less important than respect n Don’t avoid emotions; are taking your lead n PERSONALIZE but maintain boundaries

How do we break the “boy code”? We can’t. But we can make it How do we break the “boy code”? We can’t. But we can make it less limiting.

How do we break the “boy code”? We can’t. But we can help boys How do we break the “boy code”? We can’t. But we can help boys to understand what it is and choose for themselves the parts they do and don’t accept.

For More Information/Reading n n n “Real Boys” and “Real Boys’ Voices” by William For More Information/Reading n n n “Real Boys” and “Real Boys’ Voices” by William Pollack, Ph. D “Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys” – Dan Kindlon, Ph. D and Michael Thompson, Ph. D “Speaking of Boys, ” by Michael Thompson, Ph. D

n n n National Sexuality Education Training Initiative: In-person/Online n National sex ed resources n n n National Sexuality Education Training Initiative: In-person/Online n National sex ed resources n http: //answer. rutgers. edu/ National Teen-to-Teen Sexuality Education Initiative www. sexetc. org

ACT for Youth Center of Excellence n Youth development and adolescent sexual health resources: ACT for Youth Center of Excellence n Youth development and adolescent sexual health resources: www. actforyouth. net n Youth network site— sexual health, leadership, rights, and more for youth: www. nysyouth. net Was this presentation useful? Please give us your feedback: http: //www. zoomerang. com/Survey/WEB 22 AEZWMYJH 3