Kids can be very cruel on the playground, calling each other names. Again, these labels may cause deep psychic wounds in the child until she or he addresses these issues. We may also have experienced being rejected by a certain group of peers, the “in crowd” or the “cool kids.” We just didn’t measure up; we weren’t enough; we didn’t wear the right clothes; we didn’t live in the right part of town; we didn’t come from the right family; or we didn’t worship at the right church. The list is not exhaustive of how cruel kids can be to each other. Peer wounds may also impact our sense of gender identity and social adeptness.
We gain our sense of masculinity and femininity from several sources: (1) our same-gender parent, (2) our same-gender relatives (siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents), and (3) our same-gender peers (guys with guys and girls with girls). The ages of nine to fourteen is the period of homo-social bonding. This is when guys hang out with other guys and girls hang out with other girls. During this stage of development, we learn to be one of the pack and feel comfortable being in the presence of our peers. “I belong. I fit in.” Then, as we go through puberty we experience desires for the opposite sex. Boys learn about girls, and girls learn about boys. This begins a new journey of discovery that most often leads to marriage and family.
This is a normal psychosocial and psychosexual child development. However, being mocked by either same-gender or opposite-sex peers at any time during this process may have a damaging effect upon ones sense of self-worth. Those feelings and thoughts will not automatically disappear in adulthood unless you go back and extract the wounds from your soul. Peer wounds may be experienced through harassment, name calling, and put-downs.
Satan 303: A non-athletic boy is a “fag,” and a rough-and-tumble girl is a “dyke.” Of course, this is a lie. If a girl is athletic, it doesn’t mean that she experiences or will develop same-sex attractions. If a boy is not into sports, that doesn’t mean he is same-sex attracted; if he is more interested in the arts; then that is his gift from God. If a guy is not athletic, this will not compromise his masculinity unless his parents and peers punish him for not participating. God does not define a man by the prowess of his athletic ability. This is a man-made concept. The measure of a man, according to God’s Word, is to be the priest, provider, and protector of his family. He is a responsible man to God and the spiritual leader of his family. If he can throw a ball or enjoy the Redskins, that’s great! If he likes classical music and/or enjoys dance, that’s great, too!
-- Let’s Talk About Sex by Richard Cohen, M.A.