The release of the book, The Prince Boofhead Syndrome, could not come at a more needed time. With the almost daily news and discussions about violence between and from men in the media, parents are asking the question: “How can we stop this from happening to our own kids?”
Here we talk to Elly Robinson, one of the authors of the book, to give us more information about this syndrome that is fast becoming a rampant societal problem.
What is the Prince Boofhead Syndrome?
A syndrome is a psychological term describing a collection of signs and symptoms that have a known outcome and require a tailored response. The Prince Boofhead Syndrome is characterised by demanding, tyrannical behaviour, usually in the late teens and early 20s, although signs may be present earlier. Prince is ready to blame others if things don’t go his way and he is not interested in others’ thoughts or opinions – he has zero respect for his elders.
Of course, the vast majority of boys emerge as capable, considerate and reliable young men. We’re talking about a subset of boys who are often raised in loving homes with lots of resources available and become this way in spite of their parents’ best efforts.
How will parents know if they have one at home?
Most teenage boys will test limits, answer back or point-blank refuse to do what is asked of them at some stage – this is standard developmental behaviour. But Prince Boofhead takes it to another level. He may demand that his parents fund him not just through school, but until “someone” offers him employment that he deems worthy of his time, skill and intellect.
He may tell his parents that it’s far too difficult to get a job, as it will negatively impact his capacity to study and get good results. If he gets a poor mark or is subject to criticism of any kind, he often falls into a rage-filled quicksand of depression. Yet underpinning all of his bluff and bluster is a paper-thin sense of self that crumbles easily under pressure.
What’s the best thing a parent can do to deal with a Prince Boofhead son?
It’s important that children are not given something the moment they desire it – saying “no” sometimes (and riding the storm if necessary) is the key. Too many parents exhaust themselves trying to make their son’s life easier by automatically doing things that he can do for himself, leaping in to fix his problems, handing him every opportunity on a plate and being his full-time cheerleaders. We’ve become worried about setting limits, saying no and negotiating consequences if he is out of line.
Our book gives parents practical advice to enact the type of support and guidance that all young men need, including on contemporary issues such as gaming and gambling, pornography and drug use.We’ve become worried about setting limits, saying no and negotiating consequences if he is out of line. Our book gives parents practical advice to enact the type of support and guidance that all young men need, including on contemporary issues such as gaming and gambling, pornography and drug use.
What should they NOT do?
Buying of lots of stuff and ferrying them around from sport to parties to shops with no expectations of gratitude or assistance gives children an unrealistic sense of entitlement. Also, if they are constantly buffered from the possibility that they played a part in a less than ideal outcome, they start to believe that they are destined for greatness.
If they fail to perform, the responsibility to be perfect all the time sits alongside a severely underdeveloped set of coping skills. The result? An emotional and behavioural ticking time bomb. Let him learn from his mistakes instead, in a safe environment and from an early age – this is how he will develop the resilience and self-respect to solve his own problems in later life.