Friday, February 8, 2008

Raising Boys and Protecting Their Feelings

Our first daughter is a girl, then comes a boy, then a girl and then two younger boys. For me it is kind of natural to raise a girl: the gossiping, the clothes, the phone calls, boys... I went through all that and learned a lot from my experience.

But what about boys, how much do we know about them? We love them, but do we understand how they think? How can we know what they are feeling?

Michael Thompson points out in his books "The Pressured Child", boys do have feelings, they do care, they do go through a lot of emotional rollercoasters and the difficult part is that sometimes they can't comunicate with words what it is that bothers or worries them.

They can express anger by slamming doors or showing no interest in inviting friends over, trying to be alone, but how can us moms go inside their minds and hearts and help them translate those feelings into words?

I have found that it really helps improve communication if you ask them very specific questions like for example: With whom did you sit at lunch today? Tell me the names of your teammates at the dodgeball (football, basketball, baseball) game today? Who picked the teams? or ask them to draw a floorplan of their classsroom and write the names of their classmates in each table; listen to what they say about each one and ask questions about them.

After these very specific questions, I make up the moment to get into a great conversation and guide them with future examples on "what to do in case of... " like a peer pressure event, not beeing picked up first by the captain of the team, how they are going to handle the rejection of the love of their dreams, and so on. You are not being pessimistic, you are being realistic and giving them tools to work in the future on a particular situation "if" they have to go through it.

I have found that helping my boys understand and talk about feelings is very important, crying with them if it is necesary. Find out if it is a situation that goes on every day and makes their life at school or after school very difficult, stressful.

Changing kids from classrooms or moving to a different school doesn't fix the problem it only delays it, showing them the way to ask for help, giving them guidance on "what to do in case of..." , in my opinion, is the best way to raise them.


Anonymous said...

Good morning:

Thanks for contributing this post to this week's Carnival of Family life, hosted at Health Plans Plus!

As a mother of two boys, I found much to agree with in your post. You do have to draw them out in order to get information. They are completely unlike girls and the difference was readily apparent from birth. Our best friends have 2 girls and they have grown up together while the 4 parents compared notes and marveled at the differences.

Be sure to stop by the Carnival tomorrow and check out the other wonderful entries!


Nic said...

I have three boys and one girl. Only two of the boys are old enough to express themselves. Th oldest boy at 9 still tells me how he feels quite openly, my 6 year old on the other hand finds it a lot more difficult and I have to what him more for signs of what is going on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your submission to the Homeschool Carnival. You can find your post at

Eric Novak

Unknown said...

This article has been included in the latest edition of Mom's Blogging Carnival