According to William Pollack, PhD, author of Real Boys, the Boy Code is a set of (usually) non-verbal rules and expectations that continue define boyhood and masulinity in America.
The four major tenets of the Boy Code are:
1. The Sturdy Oak Men and boys should not show weakness. No crying, whimpering or expressions of hurt allowed.
2. Give 'Em Hell Boys are expected to be physically aggressive, highly active risk-takers. Boys also learn early on that some of their bad behavior will be written off as "boys will be boys."
3. The Big Wheel Status and dominance are crucial; working to get to the top of the pack, no matter what the cost, is essential. No shame allowed.
4. No Sissy Stuff Feelings, according the the Code, are the province of women. Especially tender feelings.
I know that the Code is not what most of us are teaching our sons. Most of us are teaching our sons to be empathetic human beings who value relationships with others.
But the Boy Code exists. When our sons go out into the world -- onto the playground, a baseball team, into a club, etc. -- they must deal with other boys and men who judge each other by the Boy Code.
So what do you think? How can we help our sons live fully in a world that still abides by the Boy Code?