Adolescent Phase (Exit Phase)
This phase starts at 18 years old (according the laws of the nation). In this phase, he is considered an adult. At this age, he can go to university, he is allowed to vote, he can obtain a driver's license and can even get married if he wants. He is no longer a minor.
My first born son is now an adult, he is 20 years old as I write this. I enjoy the moments when we sit together to casually chat. I love the natural flow of our conversations; there is no tension between us. He normally brings out something he wants to do and we brainstorm on it. It has worked for both of us, even if he's talking about his relationships with girls.
However, this did not just happen, I had to work on myself to make it happen. When you fail to build a healthy relationship, then meeting with an adult son will be official and on appointment.
What You Should Expect
In this adolescent phase, the parents' roles have changed from being instructors to mentors. You cannot use the same parenting approach you used in the first two phases. This boy is now an adult who needs intimate conversations and deep friendship to drive the point home.
Unfortunately, for most parents, they fall out with their sons in this phase. You need to exercise a lot of patience to avoid this. A lot of prayer and trust in God is needed not only at this level but in all the others as well. Don’t leave him alone, he may be older, but in reality, he is still immature and inexperienced. He thinks he knows a lot but most of the things he knows are theoretical, you need to act wisely to stay in his life to continue helping him to navigate some complicated corners of life. Remember, boys take a long time to become mature mentally. Don’t forget, you were once like him but somehow you crossed through.
Navigating Romantic Relationships
At this phase of life, this adult man needs a father figure to guide him through the turbulent years of romantic relationships. A lot of mistakes are made here as he figures out who can be his potential partner. Many boys break girls' hearts by applying "trial and error" tactics. Many boys end up sleeping with girls and abandoning them, others encourage them to have abortions. Many try romantic relationships thinking that they are ready and later realize that they were in over their heads. This is done at the expense of girls' hearts.
This is another crucial phase where boys can easily impregnate girls. At this phase, many of them are in high school or just graduating, others are in university pursuing their careers and others are in institutions working on themselves to be able to sustain their lives and the family.
Unfortunately, they think they are ready for relationships, they end up messing with girls, and making promises that they can’t fulfill. Many of them are in the business of breaking girls' hearts as they try one, drop her, pick another, drop her and continue the cycle. Many boys even in this phase of life, are still being supported by their parents or guardians so they are still dependents. They live in denial, pretense and fantasy. Many train themselves to become playboys, their hearts get desensitized towards the crying girls. They don’t care and if they are not helped, this is what they are going to carry in marriage if they happen to get a wife.
Why Each Phase Is Crucial
Each phase prepares a boy to get into the next one. If one phase is not well handled, it affects the other phases. This calls for intentional parenting in each stage of development. Now, do you see how complex parenting is? There is no phase where you have to neglect a boy. You can do well in the 1st and 2nd and get hit in the third phase. However, if you do well in all three phases, you have mentored a boy into manhood. Chances are, this man will become a better husband, father and citizen.
If you missed the first phases of Mentorship, it doesn't mean you are doomed. God compensates what we missed through providing mentors in other phases of life. You must be very intentional to become a mentee in this phase. You must look for it, you must be humble enough to acknowledge that you need help. There are many books out there that talk about every area of life. If you have the desire, then you can learn and keep improving on your life. You can't give excuses about what you never got. Stop blaming your past, work on your future. There is always a new beginning.
Words of Wisdom: Wake Up
If you happen to have missed good mentorship in the 1st and 2nd phase, don’t lose heart. You can still turn things around if you wake up in the 3rd phase and begin to work on yourself to find a good mentor. This is a phase where most of us woke up. This is a phase when I realized my choices mattered a lot. The first and most important choice I made was to give my life to Jesus Christ. He became my number one mentor. His word opened my blind spiritual eyes to see and understand why I was made as a man. When I received His spirit, my life continued to take a right turn.
No more excuses, it is time to own up yourself. Face the reality, you have grown. Stop day dreaming and spending all your time in fantasy. Whatever you do in this phase will be reflected in your family. You cannot sleep around with women, you are gathering curses, soul ties and covenants and diseases that you will pass on to your wife and children. It is important to know that, as a father, everything you do affects your next generation whether positively negatively. It doesn’t matter whether you know it or not. It is a principle that God put in place.
At this phase, you are a man, you have to leave all the childish ways behind. Your words are very important to the opposite sex. You cannot just utter words of love to someone you are not sure you are going to marry. Words like "sweety, honey, dear, my love, baby" and others must not just come out of your mouth. These words mean a lot to women. They were designed to sooth their hearts and such words are supposed to come from men who genuinely mean what they say.
You can’t be a gentleman and casually speak to girls with words of love. Many girls have been heart broken by careless men who were not well mentored. At this phase of life, you must act as a gentleman. You don’t just touch a woman with intentions of arousing her sexual desires. You must keep your hands to yourself till the day God gives you a woman to marry, then you are free to speak all your love language to her because she is your covenanted woman from God.
These words are meant for only men who are serious with life and are pursuing righteousness and a godly generation. There is a high price to pay if you are to be regarded as a man of substance, a man who commands authority and respect among men, women and children.
Being a real man doesn’t begin the day you get married. It is a long journey that you intentionally walk. When you get a family, you bring your baggage with you. A real man prepares himself before getting a wife to marry. This is a call to wisdom. The Bible says,
Jesus Christ our Lord, grew in stature, wisdom and favor before God and man – Luke 2:51.
The man who is our role model, designed us a path that we should emulate. In the adolescent phase a boy has fully developed in his stature (physical appearance). But he should not only grow outwardly but even inwardly.
Inwardly, he grows in wisdom and favor. This is the proper growth of a boy who is going to become a real man.