By Micheal Grose
The topic of raising boys is still a big interest to parents. It is no
secret that many parents struggle when it comes to raising or even teaching
boys. Boys are easy to raise and teach as long as you understand the trigger
that motivates them.
The last decade has seen heightened interest in and awareness of the
issues surrounding boys in most of the western world. It is common
knowledge that boys lead the way in all the wrong statistics,
including; problematic behaviors, learning difficulties and health
problems. Educators and professionals around the world are looking
for ways to cater for and engage young males.
Approval and high regard lie at the heart of raising happy,
well-adjusted boys. Boys are approval-seeking creatures. They craved
to be liked, loved and appreciated – particularly by their mothers
and other significant women in their lives. They also want approval
from their fathers, which can be a tough ask.
Yes, boy's behavior are often in your face and direct. Subtle, boys
are not. But at least you know where you stand with boys.
Yes, they can be dirty, scruffy and smelly but scratch the surface
and you will reveal a gem underneath.
Yes, they are often more boisterous and active than girls but don't
mistake boisterousness with aggression. Provide them with the space
to be active and give them ways to channel their energy in
Yes, they are more prone to solving social problems physically than
we would like but their verbal skills need to be worked on a little
harder. They need to be shown how to resolve issues verbally rather
than told how to do it.
Yes, they are developmentally not as advanced as girls but we need
to aware of this when we decide the age they should start school.
Boys who start school on the before five years of age often have an
uphill battle compared to girls who can have a twelve month edge on
Yes, some boys have difficulty getting organized and will invariably
have messy bedrooms, desks and leave clothes lying around but they
need step-by-step advice (as well as some lists and a willingness to
repeat instructions) about how to manage themselves and their
Yes, boys are not strong at reading the signs that others give and
can say and do the wrong things in public or at school. But we need
to encourage them to stand back and look (or think) before they leap
(or act) so that they can be a little more intuitive.
Yes, they are not the world's most avid readers but we can account
for this by reading to them and making it fun, giving them more male
role models who read and provide alternative ways to gain
information other than books.
Yes, boys don't work as neatly as girls in school but they are
usually more task oriented and can't see the point of such
processes. Computers are a huge help for those boys who struggle to
produce neat, tidy work with neat, tidy borders.
Yes, boys can be clumsy socially but they form friendships around
shared interests and are less likely to exclude people from their
friendship circles because of something trivial such as the clothes
Yes, boys play for keeps when they play competitive sport but it is
the way they push themselves rather than prove themselves at the
expense of others.
Yes, boys have a different pathway to adulthood than girls – they
become adults by proving themselves so even simple games of sport
can become a test of their mettle. We need to provide them with safe
proving grounds so they don't have to resort to illegal or dangerous
ways of testing their masculinity.
Okay, so this maybe a biased, Pollyannaish view of boys but to
successfully raise and teach boys we must understand and work with
the gender differences. And above all us you must LIKE them.
Michael Grose is Australia's leading parenting educator. He is the
author of six books and gives over 100 presentations a year and
appears regularly on television, radio and in print.
For further ideas to help you raise happy children and resilient
http://www.parentingideas.com.au. While you are there subscribe
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