Focus on Educating our Young Men!! - promoting responsibility

Men Are Becoming the Under-educated Gender “It is terrific that women are getting higher levels of education,” Harvard University economist David Autor told Torres. “The problem is that males are not.” "Right now, too many young men who don’t go to college end up doing nothing but mooching off their parents and girlfriends." Solution: Let's make sure our young men are getting educated! And have a desire and understanding of the importance of educating their minds and preparing for the future.


How to combat pornography.

I recently went to a forum for women where this topic was addressed. This discussion was led by an ecclesiastical leader(Bishop from a Christian Church) who has frequent conversations with active church-going men who want to fight their addictions. I won't discuss the impact this has on women, but I will list some of the facts/signs he mentioned and ways he's learned to combat this horrible addiction that has stunted the maturity growth of many men.

Facts and Signs:
A: Newsweek (Dec 2011) has an article discussing the impact this has on America.
B: 1 out of 2 church-going men in America have a problem with pornography.
C: Most men have been introduced to pornography between the ages of 8-18.
D: 2 Entry Portals to this addiction (meaning where a person comes across it and then starts viewing on a more frequent basis): 1- Google Images, 2- YouTube
E: Most viewing happens between the hours of 10pm-3am
F: Most viewers do it behind locked-doors because they feel shame.
G: Viewers of pornography feel shame. Which leads to hiding this behavior.
H: Pornography is a portal which leads to infidelity. Alma 31:30
I: B.L.A.S.T. This acronym helps us remember the 5 emotions that causes someone to turn to pornography. (Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stressed, Tired)
J: Being viewed on computers, Ipads, and Smartphones.
K: Women don't tend to view pornography through visual means, but read it through romance novels. This has risen immensely in the last few years, since in the past there was shame attached to buying a book at the store. But now...
L: E-Reader book purchases has increased a great deal. 40% of all e-reader books are romance novels. Now the shame isn't as strong because nobody knows they are purchasing the goes straight to their Kindle, etc.

Ways to Combat Pornography:
"Crash and Tell"-
When something pops on your screen, stop it as quickly as possible. Crash your computer and tell someone.

Pornography can become a habit.
So understand the process of a habit by reading, "Power of a Habit".
There are 3 elements: Cue, Action, Reward. Actual viewing of pornography is the 'Action', so fight the Cue's and Reward's. Meaning, where do you or your loved one start viewing it? on your computer at home? (Then put it in a public place) Is it when you're bored? (Then have pre-established things you will do when this temptation comes about)

3- Check "History" on your computers.
This is a great approach when you are talking with your children about not participating in pornography. Let them know you will be checking the history on their computer. If this is ever deleted, you will know there is a problem and they are hiding something.

4- Put computers in "Public Places" where there is a lot of traffic in the home.
Do not keep computers in the bedrooms.

5- Have a sponsor
Someone who wants to fight this addiction should report back to a sponsor on their progress. This particular ecclesiastical leader has found that a father is a great person to get involved if they want to help and understand the negative impacts pornography has on a person. (We won't get into attitude right now from people who believe this in a natural behavior. Based on this post alone, this is not our belief). So a sponsor could be your ecclesiastical leader(Pastor, Bishop, etc.), Father, or Friend.

6- Tell within 24 hours
Someone who wants to break this addiction-cycle should tell their sponsor within 24 hours. The belief of this leader is that we need to bring this problem to the light. Talk about it. Tell someone. Most men who view this go 'underground', as this Bishop said. They don't talk about it and view it more frequently when they think they are judged. So telling can mean by email, phone, or text.

7- Have an "Accountability Loop"
A person wanting to fight this addiction needs to be accountable to someone if they fall back into their old ways. This helps them keep moving forward to breaking this habit. A sponsor...and a filter (see the next item)

8- Use a filter.
This Bishop has found that "CovenantEyes" is the best one he's found.
This sends a weekly email to a persons sponsor on their viewing history on their computer. It helps them monitor what they're seeing and be accountable to someone. The filter categorizes the sights being viewed and protects the sponsor from viewing these...(99% of the time) This Bishop mentioned he's only accidentally viewed one sight in the last year due to the filter not recognizing it. He immediately "Crash and Told" his wife. This Bishop recognizes that he too is at risk and has his accountability loop in place to help him as well. He discusses this openly with his wife and children. Facebook is listed as 'Moderate Risk' and Youtube is listed as 'Mature'

9- Use Work Computers instead of personal.
This Bishop said that a person rarely if ever will view pornography at work or on their work computer. Most companies these days won't tolerate pornography. If they find something on their computer, they could lose their job. This usually is enough for someone who struggles with this addiction to find other ways to view it. So a great suggestion is for someone to get rid of their personal computer and only use their work computer at home.

10-Don't Shame a person.
If you know someone who struggles with this, don't shame them for this behavior. If a child comes to you and tells you they viewed something, thank them for being open and have a discussion. Don't freak out. This causes that person to not want to tell you in the future. And the problem grows.

11- Be a "Champion of Modesty".
Help men and women respect their bodies by being modest. Pornography degrades a woman's body in so many ways. Not only physically but emotionally. A woman feels like she can't live up to images a man views which draws you further away from each other in a relationship than together. A woman can never be good enough knowing her partner participates and views pornographic materials. It causes distrust in a relationship. And we can go on and on with the impact it has. So "Champion Modesty" by showing the importance of the real human body with all it's flaws and beauty. This is the beauty that should be celebrated. Realness.

12- School thumb-drives.
This Bishop has found that pornography can come home through thumb-drives when children are working together with peers on assignments. Screen thumb-drives when they come into your home. This will prevent anyone from having to view this.

13- Ask if someone's been involved in pornography.
We are living in a time where we need open discussions with our spouses, children, and friends. Don't be afraid to ask your children if they have viewed pornography or have stumbled upon it accidentally. Don't be afraid to have an open discuss with your spouse. Don't be afraid to ask someone you are datingif they have or have had a problem with pornography. There are 3 types of responses to this question, says this Bishop.

* "I hope I don't have a problem. I have seen it when I was younger and can count on one hand where I have seen it".
(Healthy Attitude and Open to Discuss)

* "I'm afraid I might be. I used to all the time. I've worked with my Bishop and a Therapist. I haven't recently."
(Honest. The longer they can put between when they have viewed it, the more hope the girl feels in fighting this behavior)

* "No- Of course not! You don't trust me?..."
(defensive. Not open. Feeling guilty. This person will also have the tendency to blame their significant other to justify viewing it or telling you that certain stuff is not that bad when you feel uncomfortable).

Red Flags and Behaviors to be aware of if you're wondering if someone has a problem
1- Do they lock the door?
2- Do they keep the screen turned away from public viewing?
3- Is History erased on computer?
4- Are you embarrassed by a site this persons viewing? (Trust your instincts. A person struggling with this has most likely seen worse stuff and become desensitized to normal inappropriate content.)
5- Is this person justifying content? Saying it's not that bad? Rule of thumb: "If your partner/spouse/companion/father/mother/friend is uncomfortable with something, then it shouldn't be viewed or participated in." This is true respect. Drawing the line at the most sensitive soul. Children should always be first priority when viewing or participating in something. If you are viewing content on the computer and a child walks up to the screen, is it appropriate? Then most likely, you shouldn't be viewing it yourself.


Gaming and the Impact on Marriages.

"In a recent study for her master’s thesis, BYU student Michelle Ahlstrom found 70 – 75 percent of couples reported their marriages had been negatively affected by gaming when only one spouse gamed."


The Capacity to Defer Gratification

"Just as the capacity to defer gratification is a sign of real maturity, likewise the willingness to wait for deferred explanation is a sign of real faith and of trust spread over time."
Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Marshmallow Study

This study included setting a large marshmallow in front of a child and telling him/her that they could eat it now or wait 15 minutes and they would get 2 more. These children were followed into their adulthood. The one's who were able to wait and defer their immediate wants were more successful in life and had happier relationships, more successful jobs and careers compared to those who couldn't wait and ate the first marshmallow.


"The decline of maturity" Kristol vs. Moore

What a beautifully written piece! It clarifies maturity from the lack of maturity (or adolescence). One expects adolescent behaviors and attitudes from an adolescent, but when they exist in an adult, there's cause for concern...

"For the negative physical consequences of adolescence as a cultural norm, consider the body-sculpting, porn and plastic surgery industries.
"For the more pernicious negative intellectual and political consequences, consider the universities..."


Study: Negative impact from Video Games!

"In a study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, BYU undergrad Alexander C. Jensen (’09) and family life assistant professor Laura P. Walker show that as the time young adults spend playing video games increases, the quality of their relationships with peers and parents tends to decrease.

For the study, 813 college-aged adults from around the country reported how often they play video games. They also answered questions about the time, trust, support, and affection they share with friends and family. Besides revealing a modest association between video games and relationship quality, the survey data raise questions about other aspects of young adults’ lives.

“The most striking part is that everything we found clustered around video-game use is negative,” says Walker. Statistical analyses suggest that the more time young adults spend playing video games, the more frequent their involvement in risky behaviors like drinking and drug abuse. And for young women, self-worth tends to decrease as video-game time increases.

The data also reveal gender trends: nearly three-fourths of men in the study played video games at least a few times a week. By comparison only 17 percent of their female counterparts played more than once a month.

“The gender imbalance begs the question of whether chasing a new high score beats spending quality time with a girlfriend or wife,” Jensen says.

The new study stems from Project READY, a collaborative effort by scholars at several universities across the nation to better understand the attitudes and behaviors of young people. Project READY is spearheaded by Walker and BYU family life professors Larry J. Nelson (MS ’96) and Jason S. Carroll (BS ’96), who are also coauthors on the study."

Magazine Article Link


News Article: Boys 2 Men

Deseret News
August 13, 2009

"Boys 2 Men" is a great example of how boys were faced with a serious and mature topic then made positive choices that impacted a good friend and has changed them forever...


Activities that can stunt Maturity

The following are areas where research has shown stunting, stopping, and digression of maturity if repeated frequently and/or not changed. Some are addictive and more harm can come of it than good if your child participates in it even be prudent with the time you and your children spend on these.

Video Games (definition)
Gaming (definition)
Lack of Social Interaction
Avoidance of Commitment
Lack of Discipline
Lack of Experience in Relationships
Excessive Television/Movies
Online Chat Rooms (definition)

A lot of these are intertwined. For example, when one is engaged in video games typically they are not socially active and gaining the necessary personal skills needed for a relationship. This can contribute to why a 30 year old man can feel very insecure and fearful around women due to lack of confidence and experience.

A longer list with references will be presented on a later discussion. Here is a discourse by Elder Bednar from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that talked about a few of these topics and the impact it has.


Positive Role Models

It's important for your son to see men who treat women well. This means, helping the women in the house with household tasks, doing the dishes, complimenting, laughing together, and even appropriate disagreements are healthy in front of children.

If your son does not have a healthy role model as a father, find another man (uncle, grandfather, neighbor, etc.) that will show him these things and then help him understand the importance of treating others with respect.

Your son will soon mimic the male role models in his life.

It's important to teach him to...

Respect women's ideas and thoughts and they should respect his in return.
Respect women's giving nature by showing appreciation and verbally showing gratitude.
Respect women's bodies by appreciating their natural beauty without enhancements. It's also important to point out the desensitizing nature of someone's perspective when they view pornography. This tends to warp the man's perspective of reality and intimacy and open doors of insecurity, feeling under-appreciated, and creates an intangible comparison for women.

That's enough for now on that topic...more will come later! :)


Instill Confidence!

"Praise your child for his effort and hard work and watch him succeed!" - Dr. Dweck, Mindset, see article discussing her work.

Everyone should read Dr. Dweck's book on proper praising. She talks about 2 different approaches and mindsets. We need to view ourselves with an "Effort" mindset. Meaning, with effort and hard work we can learn, grow, and become better at anything. Praise is such a confidence builder.

Ability= fixed mindset, believing your qualities are carved in stone, you have a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality.

Effort=growth mindset, belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, everyone can grow and change in their talents through experience and effort.

Here's a link about a section I LOVED!! There was a study done with children on the different approaches. Bottom line...praise your child with phrases like; "Good Job!" "Great Work" "You're such a hard worker" "Keep trying, I know you can get it" "Great job on your A-, you must have worked really hard!"

Keep in mind, everytime you criticize it takes 7 positive comments to overpower the 1 bad. So don't criticize, be positive and he will have happy memories of growing up and you will instill confidence...because WE NEED CONFIDENT MEN!


Help your child be a Decision Maker!

Allow your son to be a part of making decisions when he is young. Make a point to get together as a family to make decisions impacting everyone.

First, present a decision to everyone that needs to be made (ie. Should we buy a new TV since the last one was broken?)

Second, help your children understand how you make a decision (go through the pros and cons of each choice. You could even write it down on a piece of paper which helps everyone see the two options. You could list how much it will cost, other things you need that might be more important, discuss the amount of money you have to spend on the TV, etc.)

Third, discuss what it means to get a TV and if everyone's willing to follow the rules (No playing ball in the TV Room. TV can only be watched for a certain amount of time, etc.)

Fourth, ask your children's opinion (Go around and have everyone voice their thoughts on buying a TV and which one they would like and why).

At the end of the family discussion a decision should be reached. Even if it's deciding to go to the store and look at the options before making a final decision. Then, coming back together to discuss before a final decision is made. It's important to make a decision and act on it to demonstrate the importance of making things happen in their lives instead of waiting for things to happen to them or feeling crippled by decisions in the future.

This process helps your son (and daughters) to understand the process of making a decision. As children get older, they should have gone through this process many times with the family and by themselves in order to make bigger decisions in their lives (ie. job, moving, school, marriage, relationships, etc.).


Teach your son about taking on Responsibilites!

Teach him how to work hard.

Give him small daily/weekly tasks (chores) for him to complete. This will help him understand the meaning of having responsibilities. Be consistent about encouraging him to complete his chores. Clearly set out consequences for him if he doesn't complete them. This could be an earlier bed time, eliminating something that he enjoys for the day, etc.

It's important to expect the same of your son as you do your daughter.
Does your daughter clean her room? So should your son.
Does your daughter help cook dinner? Your son should help with dinner in some way as well.
Does your daughter help clean up after dinner? So should your son.
Cleaning the house. Yep!
Checking in when they get home. Yep!
Required to eat her vegetables. Yep, him too.
Clean language for her? He should be no exception.
Do well in school?
Respect the teacher?
Get an education?
Go to college?
Move out of the house at a certain age?
Get a job? YES! This will help your son in more ways than you'll ever know, especially if he's grown up in a family with excess. This will help him learn the meaning of a dollar and...Responsibility, being on time, respecting his boss, humble because he is probably doing mundane work, etc.


What is maturity?

A recent commentary threw out the question of whether older men are more mature. Here are a few of the answers...

"A Mature Man is someone who can appreciate and love a woman without wishing her to be different. A Mature Man acknowledges beauty all around while recognizing the importance of respecting women in thought and action. A Mature Man has developed himself emotionally, physically, mentally, socially, and temporally in order to benefit society instead of being a burden."

"... A truely mature man at any age knows his limitations and acts and lives within them. There are many younger men who are mature beyond their years while there are many older men who never seem to grow up."