When it comes to emotional health and wellbeing a golden rule to follow is to ignore gender and focus on behaviour. This will stop you from committing the cardinal sin of thinking “boys will be boys” when they are displaying behaviours that would make us worry if our girls were displaying them e.g. truanting, experimenting with drugs, having sex, watching pornography, aggression and fighting, staying out late and going missing.
Another golden rule is to think about the language that we use when we are talking to our boys and young men. Boys and Young Men are surrounded by negativity a lot of the time and if someone tells you that you aren’t good enough, pretty soon you will start to believe it. Simply changing the way we speak from “you haven’t been bad” to “you have been really good” can have a huge impact on our boys and young men. Plus it is really easy to do.
Help make this generation of boys and young men the generation that is comfortable to speak about their thoughts and feelings by showing them in your actions that it is OK to do so.
Supporting Boys and Young Men (BYM) can be very challenging but also extremely rewarding. The most important thing to remember is that challenging behaviour is more often than not used to mask another issue. There is no such thing as a “naughty kid” and hormones are not always to blame so try to get in the habit of thinking “this BYM is behaving negatively, why is that?” Think of an iceberg and how you can only see the tip, there is potentially a lot going on under the surface that if you don’t ask about, you may never know.
Below is a list of issues that supposedly “angry young men” have disclosed to us they are struggling with:
- Substance abuse
- Racial abuse
- Body image issues
- Mental health issues
- Lack of a positive male role model
- Lack of a positive female role model
- Being seen as streetwise instead of being seen as being vulnerable
- CSE-Child sexual exploitation
- CCE-Child criminal exploitation
- Lack of sexual education
- Plus many, many more
If you are concerned about your Boys and Young Men and want some support then please get in touch with the Boys and Young Men’s Project at Cornerhouse on 01482 327044 or visit www.wearecornerhouse.org for more information.
This is an uncomfortable one for some people to talk about but whether we like it or not the chances of our Boys and Young Men (BYM) viewing pornography is very likely. This is a concern as watching Pornography can be harmful to how young men develop their expectations of what a healthy and appropriate relationship is. This can lead to harmful sexual behaviours such as expecting sex too soon, not using protection, expecting their partner to look a certain way or perform acts that they have seen in pornography and not properly gaining consent.
Here are some Golden Rules to help you safeguard your Boys and Young Men:
- Set your search engine to “safe search” mode: For Google users go to http://www.google.com/familysafety/; Bing users go to http://www.bing.com/preferences.aspx; and, if you use another search engine, go to the safety settings and find this feature. If you child uses services like YouTube, be sure you have set the “safe” mode on those platforms as well.
- Use family safety tool services and apps: Sometimes called parental controls, these tools allow you to set specific filters to block types of content you find inappropriate so you can filter out pornographic and other forms of content – like hate and violence. Remember these will need to be put on each device your child uses including gaming devices.
- Have a conversation with your young people about what is appropriate to be looking at online. Ask them if they’ve ever seen anything online that they wish they hadn’t and then ask them if they would like help to stop seeing them. If they say yes they can give you keywords and websites that you can use in Golden rule 4.
- Contact your internet provider and block keywords through the router.
If your child/young person is accessing Pornography it is important to talk to them about it and not allow embarrassment to stop you. An open and honest approach around this topic can really benefit their understanding of what is healthy and unhealthy
Conifer Sexual Health Clinic
Here you can get free advice and contraception (including free condoms), STI and pregnancy testing, sexual assault advice and attend a LGBT+ clinic (bookings only).
Stonewall – www.stonewall.org.uk
Youth and Family Support, East Riding – eastriding.gov.uk
Help for Children and Young People – 0800 1111 – www.nspcc.org.uk
CEOP – Think you Know – thinkuknow.co.uk
Young People’s Sexual Health in Hull and the East Riding – wearecornerhouse.org
Local Campaign around Child Sexual Exploitation – notinourcommunity.org
If you, or someone you know, would like support around Pornography then contact Cornerhouse on 327044 or visit www.wearecornerhouse.org for more information.