Ep. 76: Toxic Masculinity and how to raise Teenage Boys with Healthy Masculinities image
S7 E76 · Teenage Kicks Podcast
Ep. 76: Toxic Masculinity and how to raise Teenage Boys with Healthy Masculinities
Ep. 76: Toxic Masculinity and how to raise Teenage Boys with Healthy Masculinities

As the mother of both a teenage girl AND boy, I’ve seen how both of them have absorbed the messages in society about toxic masculinity, and I’ve been shocked at how polarising those are. I know the effect of attitudes towards women from my own experiences and my daughter’s; but I’ve also seen how damaging some of the narrative around that can be to boys and young men.

Boys and young men across the UK are struggling; research shows a decline in mental health and well-being, increased isolation, a lack of safe spaces and trusted relationships, and a higher risk of engaging in gangs, violence, substance misuse, and weapon-carrying amongst boys since Covid.

This is a hugely sensitive issue, so I’m going to say straight up, if anything we discuss in this episode feels difficult for you, please do raise it with me – I really think this is a conversation that needs to be opened up much more widely.

Instead of toxic masculinity, Hayley talks about healthy masculinities. She says it’s an area of civil society that is often misunderstood.

What is Toxic Masculinity?

I think Toxic masculinity is a phrase that’s thrown around without too much thought, and with a certain amount of anger. I get why, and it’s hugely important that the issue of attitudes towards women and girls is continuously raised - as the mother of a teenage girl it feels really scary sometimes. But we also need to consider the impact on boys. 

Hayley Roffey is a mum who has been working with children and young people for 2 decades, through the Global Fund for Children – she instigated their healthy masculinities initiative when she realised that there was an alarming suicide trend amongst boys and young men. Hayley tells us about the Healthy Masculinities programme and how it aims to change the messages boys are getting so that they can take responsibility for themselves in a way which supports them to be authentic. 

We also talk about bullying at school, acceptance versus challenge as a parent, and the joy of having really ugly braces as a teenager. 

More teenage parenting from Helen Wills:

Helen wills is a teen mental health podcaster and blogger at Actually Mummy, a resource for midlife parents of teens. Thank you for listening! Subscribe to the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear new episodes. If you have a suggestion for the podcast or want to hear more on parenting teenagers contact me on Instagram and Twitter @iamhelenwills.

For information on your data privacy please visit Zencastr's policy page

Please note that Helen Wills is not a medical expert, and nothing in the podcast should be taken as medical advice. If you're worried about yourself or a teenager, please seek support from a medical professional.

Podcast produced by James Ede at Be Heard production.

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As the mother of both a teenage girl AND boy, I’ve seen how both of them have absorbed the messages in society about toxic masculinity, and I’ve been shocked at how polarising those are. I know the effect of attitudes towards women from my own experiences and my daughter’s; but I’ve also seen how damaging some of the narrative around that can be to boys and young men.

Boys and young men across the UK are struggling; research shows a decline in mental health and well-being, increased isolation, a lack of safe spaces and trusted relationships, and a higher risk of engaging in gangs, violence, substance misuse, and weapon-carrying amongst boys since Covid.

This is a hugely sensitive issue, so I’m going to say straight up, if anything we discuss in this episode feels difficult for you, please do raise it with me – I really think this is a conversation that needs to be opened up much more widely.

Instead of toxic masculinity, Hayley talks about healthy masculinities. She says it’s an area of civil society that is often misunderstood.

What is Toxic Masculinity?

I think Toxic masculinity is a phrase that’s thrown around without too much thought, and with a certain amount of anger. I get why, and it’s hugely important that the issue of attitudes towards women and girls is continuously raised - as the mother of a teenage girl it feels really scary sometimes. But we also need to consider the impact on boys. 

Hayley Roffey is a mum who has been working with children and young people for 2 decades, through the Global Fund for Children – she instigated their healthy masculinities initiative when she realised that there was an alarming suicide trend amongst boys and young men. Hayley tells us about the Healthy Masculinities programme and how it aims to change the messages boys are getting so that they can take responsibility for themselves in a way which supports them to be authentic. 

We also talk about bullying at school, acceptance versus challenge as a parent, and the joy of having really ugly braces as a teenager. 

More teenage parenting from Helen Wills:

Helen wills is a teen mental health podcaster and blogger at Actually Mummy, a resource for midlife parents of teens. Thank you for listening! Subscribe to the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear new episodes. If you have a suggestion for the podcast or want to hear more on parenting teenagers contact me on Instagram and Twitter @iamhelenwills.

For information on your data privacy please visit Zencastr's policy page

Please note that Helen Wills is not a medical expert, and nothing in the podcast should be taken as medical advice. If you're worried about yourself or a teenager, please seek support from a medical professional.

Podcast produced by James Ede at Be Heard production.

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