America's young boys may look like they are in control of their lives as they hang together in groups and swagger down the streets, but in truth they are under tremendous pressure today.
Violence by teenage boys in the nation's schools has focused attention on why these adolescents developed such extreme behavioral problems. A recent survey points to one potential reason: a high percentage of boys have experienced violence themselves.
According to a Commonwealth Fund survey, 13 percent of all high school boys have been physically or sexually abused, and 22 percent have wanted to leave home at some time because of violence or the threat of violence.
Other studies suggest that it is not inherently true that "normal adolescent boys" are naturally aggressive and emotionally unexpressive. More importantly, there needs to be an increasing awareness that many parents and schools support these types of behaviors in the belief that they are necessary for male success.
These studies also show that these traditionally "macho" attitudes are linked to depression. This attitude is usually confined to such behaviors as competition, repression of fear and emotions, and strength, both physically and emotionally.
All the boys surveyed indicated they felt isolated in terms of support: they were much less likely than girls to turn to someone for help when feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed. Many of these young men experience a chronic inability to talk about their abuse.
Grant Cardone, a success expert who talks to thousands of people across America each year on how to succeed and have a full life at the same time, says this inability can ruin a young man's life.
"Everyone is striving for some form of success," says Cardone. "Ultimately your future is in your own hands and as many people suspect, the key to success lies in the control of your own mind."
Boys today face unprecedented stresses from many directions. As these young men face pressures for more achievement and more demands to interact on a personal level, it is likely that they can find themselves in situations where it is critical to identify and communicate about their emotions.
"The true bedrock for success lies in learning how emotions affect our behavior and how past negativity can affect you now and influence your reactions," says Cardone. "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard explains in a practical way how stressful situations affect our drive towards happiness, achievement and survival. And how these stressful mental states can even affect our physical and mental health."
Brent Wisner is a student at UCLA who felt his stress levels spiraling out of control. "I remember sitting in a lecture, shivering. It was like I was possessed," remarks Wisner. "I was nervous about a test that was going to happen in three weeks! Everything bothered me: my mom, my friends and especially my girlfriend. There was this haze over everything--I couldn't think straight."
Wisner read Dianetics and after using the simple procedure, found he was able to control the cause of his stress. "The stress shredded away, classes became enjoyable and my girlfriend and I stopped fighting. Life became fun again."
The ability to communicate feelings is an increasingly important survival skill. It is certainly required for stable interpersonal relationships throughout life--at school, at work, and in the families most expect to eventually create.
Before stress and confusion leads our young men into depression, substance abuse and even suicide, we need to make every effort to help them overcome anxiety and stress.
When they know how to identify and understand their feelings, deal with their emotions and control their own mental processes, they will find their road to adulthood and success much easier to travel. Visit www.dianetics.org for more information.