5 Ways to Turn Adult Children Into Men

Male Archetypes and How They Love … or Not

Let’s get one thing straight at the outset. You can’t bully, plead, cajole, threaten, make rules, punish, clean up after or in any other way try to manipulate an immature male into behaving like a grownup. It didn’t work for his parents, and it won’t work for you, no matter what your relationship.

Maturity has to happen from the inside out. It cannot be forced or directed, but it can be inspired. Let’s define a mature person of either sex as someone who is inwardly secure and outwardly responsible.

In their ground-breaking book about masculine archetypes King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette theorize that modern men have trouble achieving maturity because the old rites of passage, the events which defined the requirements of the next level, have been lost. I think we have so lost touch with mature masculine archetypes that we no longer have the capacity to even imagine how mature masculine energy could and should behave. Witness government and Wall Street.

What you can do to improve this situation is re-learn how the mature masculine functions, and start expecting mature behavior in both your personal and professional relationships.

It will help you to know a bit about the major masculine archetypes, because you might be surprised to find that what you had labeled as immature is actually healthy… just not what you want. And a mature man often exhibits more than one archetype at the same time.

Masculine Archetypes

The King – The two primary functions of the King archetype are ordering or organization, and fertility or blessing. He is the Father in both physical and social terms. The immature King can be a tyrant or weakling, using whichever method will achieve his aim of total domination. The mature King, like the legendary King Arthur, sees to the well-being of the corporation or community by creating laws, policies, maps and other structures which bring order, and leads by his example.

The Warrior – This archetype has been driven underground in today’s world, giving plenty of room to its shadow expressions of abuser, bully, coward and terrorist. The mature Warrior is action-oriented, decisive, highly controlled and motivated by devotion to a cause or ideal. The positive Warrior is still a destroyer, but before he acts, he steps back to be sure that his act of destruction will serve the greater good. The Warrior in combination with other archetypes confers both strength and depth.

The Magician – Moore and Gillette identify the Magician as both a theoretician and a master of technology. Anything which requires special training is the province of the Magician, whether it’s high finance or quantum physics, shamanism or psychoanalysis. The immature Magician appears as a know-it-all, practical joker or manipulator. Detached and thoughtful, the Magician understands and masters the use of raw power, and in his maturity tames that power for the benefit of others.

The Lover – The Lover is about the sensual, in terms of both sexual expression and sensitivity to the beauty and delight of all aspects of the physical world, from Nature to art to eroticism. The Lover is often powerfully empathic and even psychic, and he sees and experiences the world through an artist’s sensibilities. An immature Lover can be impotent or a sex addict, a Mama’s boy, or all dreams and no action.

The Shepherd – This archetype was not discussed in Moore and Gillette’s book, but I’ve met him many times. An immature Shepherd could be a Mama’s boy, or one who gives as a way to buy love and approval. A mature Shepherd can be a father, minister, CEO or physician, but in any guise he is personally concerned with the well-being of each individual in his flock, as well as that of the collective.

What can you do to assist in a rebirth of the mature masculine? Now that you know a bit about what mature archetypes look like, and how they operate, the most important thing you can do is to act as though that these mature expressions of archetypal energy can and should be a part of your everyday reality.

You can also elicit their mature expression by recognizing the immature version and, through discussion, work assignments, joint projects and other co-creative actions, give the mature masculine hidden beneath the bad behavior a chance to express itself, and then reward it when it does. You’ll be healing our world every time you encourage and strengthen the mature expression of these vital masculine energies!

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4 thoughts on “5 Ways to Turn Adult Children Into Men

  1. Hamed

    But James, we are all guilty of the behaivor she describes. Not always on a religious platform but certainly moral platforms or even philosophical. There isn’t a person I know that hasn’t held their beliefs in higher esteem then/over someone else and either passively or aggressively made that clear either vocally or in action. These people exist. They’re in all of us. I think that perhaps such behaivor is a side effect of feeling conviction. That when it comes to the way a person lives their life: pride is the dark brother of passion. The ignorance then would be of our flaws or the flaws of our own belief system. The questions then are: Do we try to rise above those flaws? Are we even capable of rising above them or is it enough that we constantly make the attempt? OR do we accept and revel in our flaws? The last choice would certainly solve the problem of pride while maintaining the passion. But that leads to another question. Are we capable/willing to really recognize our flaws? Or is that not something our ego/psyche can handle? What if our own flaws can never be fully comprehended or, once again, is it enough that we try?

  2. Lisl

    Thank you for reminding us of the archetypes, and their shadows. Humans haven’t changed all that much since our earliest writings, so these are solid types. I like your suggestion on how to reward the positive embodiments, and help extinguish their destructive forms.

  3. marise Costa-Aguilar


    This is a very good and educational article, and reading it, I clearly recognize all those types, including 2 of them in my life now.

    Thanks very much,


  4. Pingback: Ways to Turn Adult Children Into Men | Perfect Partners Inc.

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