Raising boys is different to raising girls and I must confess, I am happy to admit it. There is no way you can place both sexes into the same category all the time. Boys play different to girls. Boys see the world differently to girls. Boys instincts are different to girls.
I am not saying you can’t teach boys the same things as girls but when raising boys, you need to put your ‘Mum-oy’ hat on as opposed to your ‘Mum-irl’ hat. All children can be taught manners the same way, eating habits the same way, respecting their elders the same way and many life skills. However, the wiring for boys is different so as a female, we need to learn about different wiring so our boys turn into beautiful , respectful men.
Here are my top 6 tips on raising boys:
- Boys do not listen – and I’m not joking. I have worked out that you need to ask the same question 3 times to get a response (I started to learn this from 17 years marriage to a
boyman). I cannot spend my entire life arguing with my boys, so I try not to sweat the small stuff. I am happy to ask a question or give instructions 3 times before I begin to head down the path of screaming the instructions. 1 – “Can you please brush your teeth?” – they walk away in some sort of trance. 2 – “Can you please brush your teeth?” – they look at me and nod but the dog runs by and off they go to chase the dog. 3 – “Can you please brush your teeth mate?” I hear a yep and off they go into the bathroom to finally brush their teeth.
- Boys like rough play. While girls can sit still and quietly play along aside friends, most boys struggle with this type of play. They need to move and move often. Boys are very touchy feely too and this is completely normal. They like to be physical with each other, all the time. To keep my sanity with my boys I have made the rule (in my head at least), if I do not see blood, I will try to stay out of the ‘brothers play’. If they have a mate over, the rough play is allowed but it can quickly get out of hand so having rules in place can stop this. Oh and I don’t use the same blood rule with friends – just my own.
- Boys love cuddles too. Little boys and big boys all like to hug their mum (and often dad too). This tough boy image may occur in front of friends but at home boys love (and need) to be shown lots of affection, and this can be one of my favourite parts of the day. Encouraging boys to show their emotions is important as this produces mentally healthy boys now and in the future. Showing affection with boys teaches them to have empathy for others, which can sometimes be seen as feminine but an essential quality as they grow into men.
- Boys need praise too. Boys are emotional beings and love getting praised when they have achieved something in the same way girls do. Don’t give out false praises like “You are the best at basketball” because they know if they are or not. Often the good things boys do can go unnoticed or skimmed over because of their continual play fighting or yelling or running around. Telling your son he played awesome defence in soccer or that his manners today were impeccable or what an amazing drawing he produced is all they need to hear to keep them going for days.
- Boys work so much better with discipline. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Yes, they are going to challenge these boundaries and yes, there are times you are going to want to throw your hands up in defeat. However, boys thrive on knowing the boundaries and if they push them too far or break the rules, there will be a consequence. Simple rules are best but must be adhered to so the boys realise you mean business.
- No matter where you go, take some sort of ball – tennis ball, cricket ball, football, soccer ball, basketball, netball, soft ball or hard ball. Boys cannot often sit still and when you need to keep boys (of all ages) amused, get out that ball and you have an instant game. Boys don’t care who joins in the game, they are competitive and want to be seen as part of a team and playing their best. Look around you next time you are at the beach or park and see how many boys (of all ages) who are playing with some kind of ball.
Admitting that you parent your boys and girls different is not against the rules. The older they get, the greater the difference and the more skilled your parenting needs to be.
Do you have any advise on parenting boys?