Before I offer you my run down on how to successfully raise a man-boy, I suppose I should define who falls under the definition of man-boy.
A man boy is someone who's body looks deceptively like that of a man but yet inside he is stuck in Never Never Land. Under the umbrella of "man-boy" there is a wide spectrum but there are many ways that you can recognize one.
The man who is 35 living in his parents basement (or in a parasitic relationship to anyone else) and plays video games until 3am every night, waking at the crack of noon to pretend to scroll through the job listings but is actually reading the comics...he could very well be a man-boy.
The man who blames every one and everything for his failures in life rather than learning from them and using them as a catalyst for something better. Most likely a man-boy.
When faced with the real world, the man who is incapable of dealing emotionally with the disappointment of not being worshiped like the super star he knows he is. He could be a man-boy.
The man who strives to prove his own self importance, superiority, and power by belittling, wounding and causing harm to others. Definitely a man-boy.
The 30 year old man who brings his laundry home to his mother's house, dumps it in her front entry, and then drives off to meet some friends at the bar. Man-boy
The man who decries all that is wrong with the world on his blog, but yet has failed to get out of his pajamas long enough to actually do anything about it. Man-boy in pajamas.
For all you parents who long to keep your children little and dread the day that they won't need you anymore, raising a man-child assures that you will always be needed..even if only for your washing machine and cookies.
Raising a man-boy seems quite simple. In fact I think one could likely do it completely by accident...however I can think of a few things we as parents can intentionally implement into our parenting to ensure that our sons never quite grow up.
1. Never allow him to experience the consequences of his own irresponsibility. This is where helicopter parenting comes in handy. To effectively raise a man-boy you must swoop in like a Black Hawk at the first sign that something is amiss. If a teacher criticizes the fact that he refuses to do his assigned work, and grades him accordingly...yell at her...preferably in front of your son so you leave no question in his mind that expectations are not to be tolerated. If he makes a mess, just quietly clean it up for him, it's so much easier that way. If he leaves his new DSI out in the rain, it is imperative to prevent him from feeling any sort of loss, regret or frustration...you must rush out and buy him another one. Preferably an upgraded model. You must, as a parent, save him from himself. When he's 25 and loses his drivers license for blowing too many DUI's and has now been arrested for driving without a licence you can assure yourself, as you get in your car to go post bail, that you've succeeded quite nicely. He still needs you to rescue him.
2. Shower on praise and accolades for anything and everything he does. Some parents think that reasonable praise should be saved for when the child proves himself capable, trustworthy, responsible etc but to properly raise a man-boy you must boost up his self image similar to the way you blow up a balloon. It takes a whole lot of air to develop an inflated and delusional sense of self importance...so keep blowing that hot air. It serves him well to convince him that he's a super star at everything he does and if others (like coaches or teachers) don't appreciate his awesomeness belittle them and insist that he be given special recognition. After all if you don't teach him that bare minimum effort is always good enough, who will?
3. Teach him that it's always someone else's fault. You can do this in a number of ways. One of the most effective methods is by modeling this attitude yourself. If you actually take ownership for your mistakes and humbly strive to make them right... then you can kiss the man-boy cycle goodbye. Another useful technique is to always make excuses for his behavior. After all, he was very likely provoked or had a good reason to beat up the younger child on the playground. Chances are, if someone gives you an unflattering report about his behavior they are just making it up. Always respond with defensiveness and denial. "My child just wouldn't do something like that" The eyes closed method works wonderfully. Assure yourself that he only curses at the teacher because she is a substandard educator and she needs to be reminded of this ...daily.
If the infraction is embarrassing enough for you, fee free to scold him but stop before you actually follow through with consequences. That would be admitting wrong doing and is a real hassle. Whatever you do, never let the blame fall on the shoulders of your little sweetheart.
4. Cater to his whims and desires: Childhood is short and should be filled with as much unmerited pleasure as possible. Because you didn't get that Cabbage patch doll or that He-man action figure set you wished for as a child you had better make sure there is NOTHING that Sweetums could ever want that he doesn't have. A child should never have to wait, save or work for his possessions, that's what parents are for. If we can't be our children's vending machines what good are we? Preemptive buying is a useful tool as well. Buying him the newest and the latest gadget before he even knows he wants it helps to put off the whining discontent for a few more days. Don't you just love the feeling you get when you love your child with stuff? That nano-second of joy on his little face before he tosses the toy in the closet is worth every hardship and expense. That warm fuzzy feeling assures you that you are on the right track. Your child deserves the best. Saying "no" to your child is hard, and parenting just shouldn't be hard. Which leads into my next point.
5. Never say "no". It's just not nice. No one likes a kill joy parent. Just don't make waves and do whatever it takes to keep them happy. Childhood should always be happy. If he screams for juice, get the boy some juice. If he whines for a cooler looking bike, by all means get him one. One of the best ways to assure you never have to say "no" is to try your best to act like his peer rather than a parent. You will be SO much cooler and he will be so much happier without all those boundaries and expectations to uphold. So Dad's, pull your pants down around your butt cheeks, flatten out the bill on your baseball cap, and work on your swagger. Who needs respect when you can have camaraderie.
6. Make your schedules so structured and busy that you spend as little time possible with your son. After all, there are professionals who get paid to put up with him. If at some point you start to feel guilty that you're working 60 hour work weeks and spending the rest of your time at the golf club you can always just buy Junior a new toy to make help yourself feel those warm fuzzy feelings again.
7. Scrap chores. Kids need time to be kids don't they? They have their whole adult lives to learn how to work. Traits like perseverance, tenacity, commitment, loyalty and pride in a job well done are so very over rated. Children shouldn't be made to feel on the same level with the housecleaning staff (or their mother who fills that role) by doing menial household tasks. Cut them a break. Making kids do chores takes a lot of effort and quite honestly we all know you can get the work done faster and better by yourself.
8. Things like allowances, spending money, vacations, and personal freedom are rights not privileges. If you keep telling yourself this, and act accordingly, you will have no trouble instilling these same values into Juniors little mind. He will grow up demanding and expecting the best life has to offer whether he has the capability of earning it or not. If he doesn't have the money for the expensive spending habits and tastes he's developed over the years...there are always credit cards. Assure him that whatever he wants...he deserves to have it.
10. Focus all your parenting energy on developing his academic skills or athletic prowess. In our competitive world the rest just shouldn't matter. As long as he has achievements you can brag about to your friends don't worry about the rest. So what if he never develops the emotional maturity to process losing in a sporting event. Gracious sportsmanship is so highly overrated. You can assure his man-boy status by keeping his emotional, spiritual, and character growth completely hobbled with neglect.
11. Keep him on a short tether. Make every decision for him and parent him in a hyper critical militant environment. Keep your expectations unrealistic and make sure you shame him when he fails you. Attack and mock his masculinity regularly. Squelch his imagination and ambition. Suppress any notion of noble purpose. Assure him that he is incapable of making his own choices and keep him so afraid of failure that he will live a life of paralyzed passivity. He may never grow up to flip over and burn cars but he certainly won't attempt to stop those who do. If at some point that tether snaps and he spends the rest of his life with a chip on his shoulder trying desperately to feel powerful don't worry about it. Either way he'll end up a man-boy.
12. Shelter him from all that is unpleasant in the world. If you remember only one thing remember this technique. If you can prevent him from stretching and growing his empathy muscles while he is still a child you can keep him from becoming a courageously compassionate man. Suffering, discomfort, waiting, disappointment, failure, and grief...these are all things that you should shield your child from. Keep him far away from the realities of the world. Steer clear of soup kitchens and foreign orphanages. Tell him to look the other way if you come across a homeless person...better yet throw out a rude judgmental remark. This will solidify his superiority complex and a disdain for those he considers beneath him. Make sure everything in his life rotates around him and the myth of fairness. That way when life doesn't go his way he will cry "no fair" and come crying home. Let him keep the illusion that his perspective is the only one worth considering and if something doesn't affect him personally he shouldn't be bothered by it. If you can create for him a fairy tale childhood in which he is the king of the kingdom, I guarantee you success in raising a perfect man-boy. (One thing to be very wary of is nature. Time spent in nature only proves to teach him that there are some things he cannot control with push of a button or fervent demand....keep him safely in a sanitized, easily controlled indoor environment at all times.)
If you recognize these parenting techniques in your own home, you may be on your way to creating a perfect man-boy specimen. Congratulations, your son will have the emotional and relational maturity of a child his whole life!
If you are parenting opposite to these recommendations ...best of luck to you, your son will someday grow into an independent, functional man and leave you and your washing machine in the dust.
It's not too late to change course.
I think your son just hollered at you to bring him a soda...you'd better hop to it.
If you do this right he can be demanding things from you (and society)for decades to come.