Your bundle of joy has arrived, it’s a baby boy. Some parents get to have mixed feelings about this especially mothers. They turn to ask themselves, what do I do next, where do I start, how do I start. The influx of inputs from families and friends, is not making it easy. For most parents the best of preparations has been made on the physical, the nursery has been set for the newly arriving prince. The truth is it is actually a tiny little fraction of what needs to be done or understood about the journey ahead. Understanding the boy’s developmental stages, understanding how to respond to his behavior and needs based on the stage and age he is in can make a huge difference
On the other side fathers might be excited that finally there is someone to carry their legacy and their name, but still with no in depth understanding of what to do, to best understand the handsome gift at hand.
It is all about love (0 – 6 years)
At this stage nothing is important & nothing matters except for this little one to know and have full assurance that mommy loves me. Everything else can wait, the key question he is asking now is am I loved? At this stage the question will not necessarily be answered by yes I love you my little prince. At this stage the answer to the question comes in the form of how swift mommy respond to my needs and the quality of mommy’s presence in my life.
The truth that we might not want to hear is that the beautiful nursery that we have set up, and all the beautiful and expensive preparations we have been stressing about are mostly for us. If worrying about the physical preparations of the prince arrival, takes away the energy, joy and enthusiasm of the mother to fully be available to answer the question this stage is asking ‘ Am I loved?’ then we are failing the exam.
Mom is at the center of this developmental stage and mom remains at the center until age 6. The father’s role is still very essential. Their daily interaction must emphatically answer the asked question with the greatest clarity.
If the child does not without shadow of doubt get clear positive answer to the question he is asking his brain might be altered to become a sad brain.
He is not asking for much, he is just asking, that you be responsive, for your presence,your smile & tickles. Fortunate enough none of these cost a dollar.
In summary this stage must give the child a strong sense of love and security. This stage shapes the boy’s perception of the new world he has just entered. Based on the answer he is provided with he will decide if the world is a warm loving place or a cruel cold place.
Masculinity is suddenly switched on (6 – 14 years)
He suddenly knows that he is growing into a man, he starts to gain interest in all things’ manhood & masculinity. The father must now come to the center stage and be the main influencer, though mommy’s love and warmth is still very needed, this is the best time for the father or close male figures to take the lead in grooming this developing young man.
Throughout this developmental stage there are key questions that needs to be answered , they are – what is a man? & how can I be one ? These are not questions to be answered in a conversation, though a conversation can be fun and valuable but these questions will be best answered if the boy is presented with a role model or someone to look up to.
The father must find creative ways to spend time with his son. He must be mindful that he is daily providing an answer and definition to the two mentioned questions. This can be a very trying and frustrating time for fathers who were not fathered. They might find themselves not sure of how to be and what to do, to best answer this critical question that their son is asking. Dads needs to know that it is ok to consult and learn from other fathers they admire. Dads need to understand that there is no need to put pressure upon themselves they can even discuss and get suggestions from their partners on things’ to converse with their sons and activities to do.
The truth is just be a man you are around him, have quality conversations with him, be vulnerable with him, open up to him in an age appropriate manner, don’t be ashamed of your weaknesses, share your wins and your mistakes., play with him, wrestle with him.tickle him.hug him express your love to him. Give him access to you, let him see you laugh, love, cry, stand your ground, let him see you fight for justice & let him see you choose your battles. Help him with his school work, be interested in his interests and support him to pursue them. Take walks with him, pray with him, clean,do laundry and cook with him most importantly let him see you love and respect his mother.
For boys growing up without present fathers hope is not lost. Mothers can allow close family and friends to help.Carefully choose the ones you trust and help your son build a relationship with them.
Entering manhood (14 years +)
This is a very confusing stage. He has grown taller, his voice is deeper, according to Steve Biddulph, in ( raising boys in the 21st century) his testosterone has increased by 800%. He is physically, emotionally and mentally going through what he never experienced throughout his life, he cant even put it to words as a result he gets argumentative, moody and becomes withdrawn.
All this changes in behavior drives the family nuts. Parents do not know how to balance love and discipline, he is no longer open thus they can’t reach him, it gives them a feeling that a strong wall has been erected between them. It is unfortunate that this is the phase that most parents lose their child to peers and their opinions. At this stage the outside world is more attractive to the boy than the family. He feels he is ready to face the world and be a man.
This is the stage where parents should slowly and carefully ease their grip, accept and acknowledge that he is no longer a little boy. He needs to know that you are on the same team, it is not one party winning against the other.
Wisdom demands that parents shouldn’t just ease their grip, they should do so when they have positioned trusted and capable mentors around him. During this phase it is easier for the boy to listen to outsiders than his parents. He actually starts to believe that he knows better than his parents. It is at this stage where you hear parents saying ‘ I don’t need google, i have a teen in my house’.
In the olden days the trusted and capable mentors used to come in the form of initiation schools. This is the place where boys used to get their questions about manhood fully answered. This used to be moments when they get ushered into manhood. Where they had a group of man not opposing how they feel but agreeing with them that yes, you are ready to be a man and this is how to go about it. In the absence of initiation schools we need to leverage relationships around us, churches and other communities can be leveraged to fulfill this role.
When parents have trusted capable men mentors around their boy, their one and main responsibility remains to ensure that the boy is taken care of and his love cup is kept full, irrespective of his mistakes and shortfalls. They can leave most of the behavioral corrections to the mentors because the boy is most likely to defend himself if the correction comes from the parents. Parents are also most likely not going to address issues as calm as the mentor will, hence the boy’s natural response will be to defend himself.
At this stage the boy needs to be immersed into manhood, he needs to be able to look around him and see real men,not just his father doing this manhood thing. He needs to be sold not by words that being a man is cool.
For our Teen Mentorship Program CLICK HERE
Every boy will go through these stages, if he ever gets to any of the above stages and his needs for that particular stage is not met or the questions for that phase are not answered ,that has a potential to create gaps or a vacuum that he will carry into manhood. This might breed confusion and frustration as he is now expected to be a whole man, but deep down he has unanswered questions that left a vacuum, that he has no clue how to fill.
If parents for whatever reasons were not able to help their son to fully get answered throughout his development, now that he is a man, if he is aware he can go seek help or answers for himself. Hope is not lost there are therapists and mentors that can hold his hand trough this.
Here is to Raising Boys to Be Incredible Men.
29 thoughts on “Boy’s Developmental stages – Stages of boyhood.”
Thank you for your incredibly thorough, interesting article! As a former teacher, (nursery, primary and high school) am fascinated by developmental psychology. You also made me laugh by the sentence “I don’t need Google, I’ve got a teen at home!’. Everything you’ve written reflects the reality very well. The mentoring program is definitely a good idea, because boys need god role models desperately. It’s great if they manage to be a part of a club like scout or any sports club, but having a mentor is definitely a huge bonus.
Thank you Lucie. Im glad you could relate.And yes you dont need google if you have a teen .LOL. Scouts and sports clubs are also a great idea.
Hello there! this is an amazing review you have got here. I believe this honest post will help other readers who come across it as it has helped me at the moment. I just hope the baby in my womb is a male but before then I will go through this post over again so I can understand and give my baby boy a happy life.
Thank you Joy and congratulations on the awaited bundle, enjoy every moment .
Hello there, thanks a lot for sharing this awesome article I know it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me. Age 6-15 is really important for a boy child, as after that time certain things cannot be changed… So it advised that parent should follow up their boy child during that age to avoid mistakes that would be very hard to correct.
What an insightful article. I found myself reading every word and shaking my head at some of the different stages. As I have personally gone through all of them with my own son. My son was raised without a father due to circumstances from above so it was refreshing how you mentioned a few times about role models. The scouts, PeeWee football and coaches,the church all had a hand in shaping my young man and I am internally grateful for all of them. Thank you for writing these words.
Well done mommy. Thank you for surrounding him with role models. All the best to you and him and his future endeavors.
Wow I was so drawn away by your writing style that I thought I just might be that boy you are talking about! It is true every boy needs a proper role model to look up to. I have seen the saying: The apple doesn’t fall far from the Tree…in action many times. I think it its a great thing to enroll your son into a mentor-ship program especially if he doesn’t have many good roll models around. We can only become the best we can be if we decide to do it. Wanting to become the best version of yourself is a desire that is grown by watching others. I watched my father fail miserably and I watched others chase after their desires to be better and to love others more than they love themselves. They were the best examples.
What a lovely piece of work about the stages of manhood which I really enjoyed reading.
Having 3 brothers I can really see all these stages and what they were like along the way. I also remember coming back from school summer term at the age of 15 and noticed how al the boys were now taller, spottier and more manly than they were before we left. You have certainly summed this all up in your article.
I think this information will help everyone who has their family and wanting to know what they are letting themselves in for as the male children grow. I feel that it will be especially useful for women who are single parents bringing up their sons without a male figure around. It will certainly give them an idea of how to overcome those stages.
Thank you for sharing
Your thorough article about the stages of manhood is amazing. As reading it I can understand my own experience in every step. I wasn´t raised by my mother, I didn´t have a father as a model during my childhood.
Sports, some friends and Church helped me out to go through. I didn´t know about Teen Mentorship Program, which I see a fantastic way to display a role model.
The effect of not having full assurance and quality mommy´s presence in my life, as you explained it masterly, can only be awared of until many years in life. I am absolutely sure how important must be a mother´s love in a child.
This is an incredible and very important post. But I will highly recommend to write a book about it.
Thank you for your post. It is a fascinating topic. The most amazing thing to me is the brain development, particularly from o to 6 years.
During this time, voluntary movement, reasoning, perception, emotions, attachments, and memory etc are all gradually matured. A sense of self is developing and life experiences shape the emotional well being. By age six, the brain is 95% its adult weight and peak of energy consumption.
I agree with you that caregivers need to provide nurturing environment and daily individualized communication, try to provide positive energy. We know that negative or harsh treatment may come with emotional consequences in the future.
Thank you so much for your input. It is unfortunate that during those years most parents think that they are still too little to understand what is going on around them, and those are the most important years to lay a proper foundation.
Interesting article. I have two boys myself now that are grown up, but I can totally relate to all you write here. I like it where you say that parents should slowly loosen the grip and accept that their little boy is growing into a man. However today the world looks completely different than when I grew up. I am not so sure that young boys do know always what their role as a man is. Before it was more stereotyped. Today it is more unisexed. The definition of what is a real man have changed over the years and I have an impression that many parents still live in the past regarding this.
Easing the grip, is the best way to teach some independence.Boys can only learn from other men what being a real man is.
This article has some very good points about raising a male child. You mentioned that when their needs are not met they grow with a sense of lack. I have been a teacher for many years at high school and I notice that in their early teens the boys who don’t have a father to relate to really lose out. The tendency of many mothers is to feel that they don’t have father around but it’s okay. It is not okay. They should identify an uncle or an older male friend who can give some support in this area or else that boys will always lose out on this nurturing.
Thank you JJ for stopping by. The need for male mentors cannot be over emphasized.
Honestlu, you have nailed it here and the various character traits that accompanies each year. Surely , being able to identify all these and knowing how to respect it as a parent would make the parenting job very easy on us. Surely, it is not an easy thing bit definitely can make the whole difference for us in the process of grooming them
Omg! Your article may well have saved my relationship with my two kids. Thank God I came across this article today and I read it.
You have enlightened me to the fact that my 15-year-old boy and my 20-year-old girl will obviously be argumentative and hate authority at this stage in their development. And I was taking it as unnecessary belligerence. Sometimes the best of stuff comes along when u need it most. Thank u Bogadi.
I love your website.
I glad you found the article helpful .
This was a fascinating and informative read. So much detail and first hand experience has gone into writing this, I was engaged right from the start. It was clear if there was anything for sale until I got down the page. It might be worth placing any affiliate links higher up the page. Nevertheless, a great page and read.
Thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy
I’m am glad you found value and your suggestions are noted.
This is really an interesting topic to discuss. One thing is to have a child come into a family and the other thing is to watch as that child grows to the level whereby he’ll be able to take care of himself. Training of a child starts from when he’s born till adulthood afterwards, he lives by what he has been taught. This is why i is necessary to take the childhood of a male child seriously because that will determine what he becomes in life.
Hey Philrbur thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy and for engaging me on Boys Developmental Stages. I like your thoughts on training boys. Check my thoughts on this article.
I loved reading your article! I am a 24 year male and I can confirm that I passed all the stages explained here. I warmly recommend this article to every parent out there who has a boy. This is a great guide to know how your boy is feeling in different stages of his live.
Thank you Baki for coming over, we are in the business of raising boys to be good men.
I am glad the article ‘Boy’s Developmental stages – Stages of boyhood.‘ added value and yes thank you for sharing it .
Amazing to read. I was unaware that moms had such an important role to play in their son’s life before the age of six, and that if they don’t feel loved they will view the world differently.
Dads then take over more, but I think the Mom will be exhausted by then, as boys are bundles of energy when they are young – all over the place. It is interesting to see how similar to a girl the moods seem to be when they hit their teens.
Hi there, as the mother of two boys, that are both now grown men, there are so many things in this post that I can completely relate to. I do feel that I was very fortunate to have their dad around as a very much hands-on dad, which certainly makes a huge difference. You have summed up the developmental stages of boys very well. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the developmental stages as a child develops from a baby boy into a man. There are definitely a few distinct periods of life as they grow, and it’s helpful for them to have strong support systems as they navigate the world and become adults. Thanks for sharing the importance of providing the right environment to give boys the chance to thrive as they grow!
This subject is so relevant to so many people out there. From what I can remember, I experienced these stages myself – though I wasn’t quite as rebellious during the 14+ stage! Needless to say, I do believe that having a father or father-figure continually present during these stages is very important for a boy to both align with and differentiate himself from the examples of manhood he sees close to him. Having trusted and respected male company around during early development can help ease a boy’s mind about what it means to be a man in reality, not stereotype.