You’ve seen a better way to be a man – you can help others do that too, especially young men who look up to you. When a young man makes his own choices he’ll end up happier, healthier and with better relationships. There’s lots of peer pressure on a young guy to prove he fits in with others. And media messages about being tough and aggressive will mean he feels confused and vulnerable.
Take every opportunity to talk to him about how men appear on TV, among his friends, and in the whanau. Talk to him about the ‘man box’ – where men must appear tough, aggressive and in charge in front of other men. Share what you know about yourself, and how ‘man box’ behaviour affects others.
Listen to his side
Listen to how it is for him. Encourage him to try out different ways to express his identity and values, and give him kudos when he gets it right. Make sure he knows it’s OK to share feelings and that sometimes he doesn’t know what to do.
Just through your own behaviour, you can give him a good example of how to manage pressure to fit in, and to support his mates to be themselves too.
Find out more in White Ribbon’s new ‘Breaking Out of the Man Box’ Toolbox
and in the ‘Power of Behaviour’ section of the Respectful Relationships Toolbox.
Check out White Ribbon’s film Raise Our Men