You can tell when a little boy has had no masculine influence in his life. When I take my kids to parks that contain lots of other children, these emasculated boys stick out like a tone-deaf singer in a choir.
After you know what to look for, that is.
A boy who has been raised only by a mother or grandmother will be attracted to any masculine presence like a moth toward a flame. Every time they do something, they will look toward you to see if you were paying attention. To see if you approve.
They are desperate.
They are begging for some sort of validation.
They cannot get it from a woman. It must be given by a man.
One time I was playing with my kids and a particular boy kept being mean to other girls on the playground. Not my little girl. But others.
Every time he would call them a name, or throw some mulch in their hair, he would look to me, his eyes glittering in anticipation. His poor grandmother sat on a bench with the look of someone pretending not to pay attention.
After he had alienated most of the playground, he got more desperate for my attention. The bravado hadn’t worked. He would run straight up to me and complain about some perceived slight, playing the victim.
I finally spoke. “They are treating you like you treated them. Stop complaining.”
He tried a couple more times to get my sympathy.
These are the types of kids who will grow up and join lynch mobs (online or otherwise).
These are the types of kids who will grow up and join gangs.
These are the types of kids who will grow up and become gay because they have no idea what it means to be a man.
These are the types of kids who will grow up and fall in love with the first girl who gives them any sexual attention.
They might as well be orphans. They are desperate for a father. They’ll take a fake one. Anything.
One neighbor kid knocked on the door and ask my son if his dad could play. He wanted to show off his football throwing skills. So I threw the football around in the front yard with both him and my son.
When you come across a boy like this, and you will because there are so many of them, throw them a bone. Give them some positive attention. That means attention that will help them grow, not attention that the boy thinks is good.
- Ask for his name
- Get down on his level
- Say what he needs to hear. It could be a word of rebuke/discipline. It could be praise. Either one would be fatherly.
It’s not going to turn his life around.
But it’s better than nothing.