Background information about Rites of Passage stages in Australia
Trav’s father son work draws on understanding traditional rite of passage stages. Sadly, such rite of passage rituals and ceremonial traditions have almost vanished from our modern-day experience of life.
In the context of Trav Munro’s men’s support and equipping men services, Rites of Passage stages mark important changes in your son’s life and help to guide him into adulthood.
From six years of age, boys reach a developmental rite of passage stage and start to separate physically from their parents, especially divorcing from his mother. This means it’s perfectly normal in our society for a boy to go to school on his own and do simple tasks for himself during this rite of passage stage.
But if a boy’s parents are over-nurturing during this separation rite of passage stage or the child is lazy, often the parents continue to do things for them or help them with tasks they could easily do on their own when taught how, i.e. tie their own shoe laces. If the parent doesn’t create a situation, during this rite of passage stage, where their son can separate in this way to start to take personal responsibility for looking after some of his basic physical needs, then the son will separate verbally and emotionally. That’s when bad behaviour plays out.
From nine years of age, boys start looking more to their dads to understand risks and learn behaviours in the ‘transition’ rite of passage stage. Between 10 to 12 years of age, boys love and respect their dads. At this rite of passage stage, their dad is the centre of their universe, the ‘alpha’ male, the person they want to be with and learn from.
With Trav’s help, dads can understand this rite of passage stage more deeply and take the opportunity to maximise this rite of passage stage, to guide their son’s development in a positive way. A dad shows his son that ‘we can work this stuff out together’. A boy’s confidence and self-assurance increases during this rite of passage stage when he knows that ‘Dad’s here for you’ and sees you…
From 13 years of age, boys entering the ‘incorporation’ rite of passage stage, start to separate from their fathers, and incorporate what they’ve learnt to establish their adult identity. At this rite of passage stage, sons know they love their fathers, but they also know they’re not the same person as their dad – they have their own unique identity. Sometimes there’s an ‘identity crisis’ as they decide whether or not it’s ok to think differently to their dad, and in doing so, to understand that they’re not rejecting their father by doing this.
When the father and son have taken risks together to reinforce this rite of passage stage for their relationship, and have talked about what’s to come, it’s much easier for the father to give the son space, respect and understanding. And, in return, for the son to accept that his father’s discipline and guidance is given to ensure the son’s best interests are upheld wholeheartedly during this rite of passage stage.
During the 13 to 17 years old period for boys, with a solid and respectful father – son relationship consolidated during rites of passage stages, a son-in-crisis can return to the family unit, knowing the door is open, for support that could be lifesaving.