HomeOP-EDWhen Does a Boy Truly Become a Man?

When Does a Boy Truly Become a Man?

The transition from boyhood to manhood is a complex and cultural driven process that many people have questioned for centuries. The transition from boy to man can be shown by physical, emotional, and social changes that happen according to your society, or when and where you grew up. Every man’s childhood and upbringing are not the same and the way certain men act accordingly shows. One way to look at the transition from boyhood to manhood can be how their body changes, or basically when they hit puberty.

If you were to look at it this way, puberty basically shows the beginning stages of so-called manhood. A boy’s growth plays a significant role in displaying the coming manhood, but it does not tell the definite answer on when he is in the process of becoming a man. In many cultures, the coming of puberty is indeed seen as a great achievement, but it is not the set standard for which a boy is becoming a man. Furthermore, puberty is a poor measure of manhood because of an enormous difference in timing between people. The growth of mental and emotional maturity is another vital part of the transformation from boy to man.

According to Jeffrey J. Arnett’s article entitled, Emerging Adulthood: A Theory of Development from the Late Teens Through the Twenties, the way certain men are able to think emotionally or have the ability to handle complex emotions, and a sense of responsibility, are all good traits to show in the process of manhood. Even though these traits can show at different times for different people, they are still important factors to being considered a man.

Manhood comes from a realization of self-discovery, personal growth, and the ability to contribute to one’s community and better the people around him. Determining when a boy becomes a man is a complex mix of trial and error, learning from your mistakes, how are you carrying yourself when your family is not around, or even the social, and psychological factors they are faced with in society as an everyday man.

Even though a young male showing signs of growth from puberty are significant, they do not provide a complete picture of the process according to authors Mead and Margaret in their book, Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization. Ultimately, the transition from boyhood to manhood is a deeply individual and culturally distinct process. It might not have a set age or starting point, but it is marked by a buildup of mental, emotional, and physical changes that change among people and individual experiences. As a result, the process of growing from a boy to a man is complicated and always changing.

Ryan Poston
Ryan Poston
Ryan Poston is a Junior Mass Communications major from Canton, Mississippi. He will be a contributor for The Campus Chronicle during the 2023-2024 academic school year.


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