Teenage Guys: Exploring Issues Adolescent Guys Face and Strategies to Help Them (Youth Specialties (Paperback))

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9780310269854: Teenage Guys: Exploring Issues Adolescent Guys Face and Strategies to Help Them (Youth Specialties (Paperback))

Youth workers need to fully understand the inner workings and development of adolescents in order to really meet their needs. In Teenage Guys, Dr. Steve Gerali presents the stages of development that adolescent guys go through, providing stories from his own experiences in ministry and counseling as well as practical research findings to equip youth workers (both male and female) to more effectively minister to teenage guys. With advice from counselors and veteran youth workers, you’ll find helpful suggestions on how to minister to teenage guys and their families. Each chapter includes discussion questions to help you and other youth workers process the issues your own students face and learn how you can help them and mentor them through this tumultuous time. In addition to concepts like mentoring and rites of passage, Dr. Gerali also walks readers through the seven areas of development young guys go through. You’ll understand more about: Cognitive development · Identity formation · Social development · Emotional development · Physiological development · Sexological maturation · Faith formation

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About the Author:

Dr. Steven Gerali is a speaker, professor, and clinical counselor recognized around the world as an expert in the field of adolescence and youth ministry. He is the author of several books about the issues of adolescence. Before becoming a professor of youth ministry, Steve served for more than 25 years as pastor of student ministries at churches in Arizona and Illinois in the United States. He is the father of two grown daughters and he currently lives in southern California with his wife, Jan.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

SECTION ONE MALE ADOLESCENCE I'd just finished speaking to parents of teenagers at a church-sponsored seminar when a very determined, seemingly panic-stricken mother hightailed it down the aisle to reach me before anyone else could. I knew she was stressed because she nearly plowed over some people on the way. When she reached my side, she looked fatigued and her voice was many decibels louder than normal. (I wondered for a moment if she thought I was deaf.) But I soon discovered this dear woman's plight. 'I need help!' she blurted before disclosing to me that she was the mother of four boys---ages two to 13. (It immediately began to make sense to me.) She described how her oldest son used to be a sweet little boy, but now he was changing. She drew parallels between him and her two-year-old, describing the many similarities between a child in the terrible twos and a child in the---her term for it---'terrible teens.' She bombarded me with more questions than I could answer. Finally, she said, 'I don't understand how teenage boys work; I wish my boy came with a user's manual.' 'So you need to know how your teenage boy is wired?' I asked jokingly. She quickly affirmed my observation and added that she was concerned that his wiring may be malfunctioning. This mother wanted her teenage son's user's manual to include an explanation of his wiring, tips on how to detect if and when the wiring goes bad, and instructions for how to rewire her son, if possible. Guys are wired differently than girls from the beginning. But when adolescence sets in, it can appear as though their wiring has gone bad. In reality, it may be just a normal phase of growth. While they don't come with user's manuals, these days we have a better understanding of what makes a guy uniquely masculine and how to help him navigate through the storm and stress of adolescence and on into manhood. STORM AND STRESS OF MALE ADOLESCENCE The science of adolescence is a relatively new phenomenon, but adolescence has been recognized---although misunderstood---throughout history. The earliest records we have about adolescent boys are observations Aristotle made about the young adolescent males who were his proteges. He saw them as egocentric, idealistic, passionate, quick-tempered and easily angered, impulsive, overly optimistic, gullible, lacking self-control, and driven by their sexual desires. He also observed the strong, intimate connectedness---or brotherhood---they formed with their friends, which he noted was unlike any other period in a man's life (throughout childhood or maturity). He recognized that they were developing cognitively and entering into more advanced thinking stages. This led him to say, 'They think they know everything.'1 Aristotle believed that adolescent boys 'carry everything too far: they love to excess, they hate to excess---and so in all else.'2 He wasn't too far off the mark in his observations. And they shaped Aristotle's instructional approach with adolescent males---one that fostered ethical and moral choice and self-determination. But while these distinctives were recognized, it wasn't until the Industrial Age that adolescence emerged as a distinct, formative life stage. In 1902 developmental psychologist G. Stanley Hall published Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education. Hall became known as the 'father of adolescence' because he identified the developmental issues that create a transition from childhood to adulthood. He recognized and popularized adolescence as a formative stage in the developmental life span of an individual from ages 11 to 22. Prior to Hall's pioneering work, the world viewed people as children until they could sire children of their own. The physiological phenomenon of puberty immediately made a boy a man. Hall theorized that the physical factors of puberty started a series of physical, psychological, and sociological changes that distinguished passive, effeminate boys into more assertive men. While not always evidenced outwardly, this internal aggressive shift in the makeup of boys into men was what Hall identified as 'Sturm und Drang' or storm and stress. The onset of this transitioning period was marked by puberty. (As a basic point of clarification, puberty is not adolescence. It's the event that marks the beginning of the developmental life span called 'adolescence.') In Hall's era, puberty often began around the age of 11. Hall believed adolescence ended with the autonomy of the individual. This was marked by adult-like accomplishments such as marriage, starting a family, financial independence, acts of bravery and/or leadership, pursuing a career, and so on. Hall believed this most likely occurred around the age of 22 or 23. When a boy successfully navigated through the storm and stress of adolescence, he emerged at the other end a stable, autonomous man. If we applied Hall's lines of definition to adolescence today, we'd have some problems. Puberty is starting earlier for most guys. They still begin puberty later than girls do, but most guys begin physically changing at age nine or 10. And at the other end, at ages 22 and 23, most people aren't ready or able to be financially autonomous yet (due to various POSSIBLE CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO THE EARLIER ONSET OF PUBERTY IN GUYS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: View 1: We are healthier than the generations before us. We are more aware of diet and exercise and have made our children more aware of the same issues. Medical advancements have also put us in a more healthy position. This may allow the human body to develop at a less hindered rate, making puberty come earlier than in past eras. View 2: While we may be healthier, we scientifically alter our food to preserve it longer or enhance its growth and qualities. Yet these chemicals may affect the onset of puberty, accelerating it at an unhealthy rate before its intended time. View 3: Puberty is triggered by the release of hormones through the endocrine system that is primarily controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain. Some believe a child's brain is stimulated to interact as an adult in certain situations, through socioeconomic factors). They're not settled into their careers, nor are they ready to start a family. Adult behaviors blur even more with technological advancements, leaving very little room for rites of passage in Western culture. Guys engage in video games and have access to adult-rated DVDs and online adult Web sites that expose them to adult sexual behaviors. They own and operate cell phones, computers, and personal handheld computers that give them the privileges and freedoms of adults without the usual responsibilities. Many parents fail to exercise parental controls over this technology. Or worse, even if the parents do implement some controls, teenage guys can find ways to get around them because they're more techno-savvy than their parents. As a result, teenagers are experiencing adult behaviors earlier, but they're still hindered from autonomous adult living. In short, if we followed Hall's definition, then adolescence would run from ages nine to 35, give or take a few years. So for all practical purposes, today's social science community recognizes the years of adolescence as ranging from age 11 or 12 to age 22 or 23. We will use this timeline throughout the book (see fig. 1): media exposure and life events.

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