Bringing up your boy- what does he need?
The number one need is to feel loved and to feel capable. Our boys need to feel that they belong and are seen in the family. How do you spell the word love? T.I.M.E.
Time is love and love means giving time
Make time every day to sit and chat (not interrogate!) your boy and know that you choosing to spend time with him increases his self-esteem and self-worth.
Boys are best when they operate from head and heart
Boys need to develop both their masculine and feminine sides. The feminine sides are empathy, which is the ability to feel how another person may be feeling, to have the ‘emotional vocabulary’ to interact and to help the other to deal with their feelings. This comes from them being able to know their own feeling and be able to self-regulate when they get angry, frustrated, or annoyed.
Who teaches them how to do that? You. Your ability to:
- Know your own feelings
- Manage your own feelings
- Identify your boys feeling (through empathy)
- To help him with his feelings give him emotional wellbeing, so he will not have to suppress how he feels or use unhelpful coping mechanisms (drink, smoke, drugs etc.) to ‘get it bottled up’. Encourage him to talk about his feelings from a place where you talk about yours, so he has the vocabulary to express sadness, upset or inner turmoil.
More girls finish school and go to college and get better marks – they are focused and know where they are going
Boys can be
- Boys awkward in relationship
- At risk of violence, accidents and suicide
The world needs boys who can handle themselves and other well
The world no longer needs men who can hunt/kill, but the world needs men with people skills and who can handle their emotions well. However, if the parent is not emotionally available, in the early years then the boy to control his pain shuts down his heart and otherwise too painful to feel loving feeling and not have they reciprocated.
Fathers play a vital role; (even if their own father was not all that great). The absence of fathers due to separation and divorce and the rise in parental alienation is bad for boys who need role models.Mum is a practice girlfriend who teaches him how to interact with women.
Dads must not be busy workaholics or absent themselves emotionally or physically
For thousands of years mothers have needed to raise boys without a man in the house and more often than not, boys have turned out just fine. Research always gives the same advice:
- Find good male role models Uncles, friends, teachers, sports coach, and youth leaders – but be careful who you choose to have access to your child of course. However your BOY NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT A GOOD MAN LOOKS LIKE
- BE Networked in your community, whether through SPORTS – CHURCH – EXTENDED FAMILY – in your NEIGHBORHOOD
- Mum needs recognize she needs to be kind to herself. Martyrdom is like milk; it has a shelf life and tends to go sour!
When emotions get frayed; the best response is:
- Count from 0-10 tell him you need to calm down
- If you’re angry or upset, you’ll come back to the subject later, when less emotional
- Go and sit in another room. Later set aside the original problem, it is important to get along. This involves compromises.
- What you will not compromise on is safety and respect.
- If he is cross, you need him to stop and calm down, and say ‘I see you are upset; but I cannot talk with you until you calm down; I will not respond when you raise your voice, when you calm down we can sort it out’
- Boys love to cook! Pizza, barb que, Grills, Pancakes, Omelette, Stir fry, maybe not to boil water till they are nine years of age, 5 years they can do the cutlery and at 7 they can make their own lunch and clear the table.
- Something remarkable happens in family where boys are given a chance to be useful by cooking. The teen experiences the pride of being useful to family/relatives and good at something, at a time they may feel good at nothing else. They taste the special joy of earning respect through making a contribution. He will never lose that feeling.
- If he experiences the joy of being useful, it will affect his values for life. The first batch of pasta with a bottled sauce and a simple desert is very important.
- Conversation:; another good reason. Talk sideways; if you want to get close, help him offload or share his joys, you have to do things together. This is the time the child will tell you about something in school. Enjoy each other and have long talks.
- Role Model: Moderate your drinking; if you think it is normal to have a couple every day, then it’s likely the kids will have be problem drinkers too. Having kids is a great way to moderate your own drinking.
- Do not offer the first drink at home – research has changed on this and instead:
- Delay and Distract with sport and alternatives
- Do not supply alcohol at parties
- Alcohol is often boredom and lack of opportunities
- Kids with interests and active social lives built around sport, outdoor activities do not look to drinking as a recreation in itself
Boys drink to get to courage to approach girls and vice versa, where you may be relaxed you lose the ability to converse.
- Teach them to say no.
- Stay interested in their lives
- Drop and collect when they go out – even though inconvenient for you – in other words TO CARE
Teach them lifeskills:
- Be a good loser/winner
- Be part of a team
- To work for a long term goal
- See that everything you do improves with practice
- Give it your best effort even when you’re tired or you lost and to keep on going.
Huge benefits – Exercise – Challenge – Sense of Achievement – Fun
Sport build character (ups & downs) and you learn about life. However when competition and winning are made so important, sporty/academic child may not feel seen for who they are, and only for what they do.
Male Mentors are very important for the teenage boy; what do they offer?
Time – Attention – Affirming – Positive – Warm but firm; someone who like’s you
Shared interest – they see you as a person – you have a sense of belonging in a world you may feel unseen
Bullying – signs
- Physical Bruise/cut/damage to clothes or personal belongings
- Stress Caused Illness: Unexplained aches/pains
- Fearful behaviour
- Schoolwork begins to fall
- Home hungry
- Not invited to parties
- Anxiety, bedwetting, nail biting, fears, not sleeping
Sex: Teach them
- To be respectful of all people
- To find activities to where he gets to know girls as friends
- Tenderness is learnt by receiving it from their parent
- Masturbation is not just harmless, it is good for you
- Discourage porn, discuss it and its messages
- Mum tell him what girls like: Kindness, conversation and a sense of fun and that you hope he will handle his sexuality in a responsible and self-respecting way
Gay children need our support – they’re at risk from our rejection & from a harsh world
- ‘You want him to be happy’
- You want him to handle his sexuality in a responsible and self-respecting way
- They need parents who will listen and understand
- It is now believed that many youth suicides are caused by youth’s discovering they are gay. Some gay men had remote and critical fathers and are now seeking from a gay partner what they needed and never got from their father. The sleazy side of homosexuality comes from loneliness and rejection.
2012 Tavistock Clinic in London reported a rise in addiction of young boys to hard-core porn. This is what the research said:
- It can spill over in de humanising women and losing respect for them as people, and to see them as deserving of ill treatment.
- Online porn is instant gratification and the young men reported they prefer sex online, as they find real girls too difficult to relate to.
The UK government found 80% of 16 year olds regularly access porn. 1 in 3 ten year old’s has viewed explicit material.
What to do?
Difficult as it is, talk calmly ‘There’s some weird porn about; it is harmful to keep looking at & I don’t want you to do this@
- Filters in the computer
- No phones in bedrooms
- It’s normal for him to be curious – you don’t want him to get addicted
- Porn is very tempting, advise him to say ‘No thanks, that stuff messes with my head’
- Porn is a bigger industry than sport so a battle to beat
For more read Steve Biddolfs book on this topic.