Advice Column, Parenting

What Moms Should Know About Raising Boys

  • Bill Corbett
  • Category Advice Column, Parenting

Discipline for both boys and girls is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are innate differences that must be addressed to help each gender develop appropriately. Since moms do a lot of the discipline, here are 7 suggestions for raising boys.

Allow Appropriate Rough-Housing
I raised two girls and one boy and it was common to see my girls sitting contently, playing together with their tea set or dolls for long periods of time. This is how girls engage in learning development. My son however, would be banging his trucks together or setting up lines of army men to shoot at each other, all while making loud explosion noises and occasionally flipping upside down as a way of physically acting out the violence he seemed to be creating with his toys.

Communicate with Them Directly
Two little girls can sit side by side, talking away and hear every word the other is saying without making eye contact. Because this style of communication is innate in mothers, they get frustrated when they issue a command to their son while washing dishes or shout an order from the next room and don’t get the results they are looking for. Successful communication with boys requires getting to their eye level, speaking in a calm tone, and even placing your hands on their arms or shoulders to make a physical connection.

Teach Them to Express Their Emotions
Boys who are able to feel their own emotions and know how to react to them with appropriate behavior are more likely to be understanding and respectful of others and their feelings. These boys develop a higher level of emotional intelligence and are less likely to be driven by their anger when things don’t go their way or when someone makes them mad. They also turn out to be great husbands and fathers. Helping your son feel his emotion requires him to feel comfortable expressing what he feels and avoid telling him that “big boys don’t cry.”

Provide Them with Positive Male Role Models
Boys learn a great deal through what psychologists call observational learning. My grandmother use to call it monkey see, monkey do. A boy learns how to act like a man through the examples set by other men around him. A single mother raising sons needs to find positive role models for them to watch and emulate from, such as her father, brothers, or uncles. Women are nurturers by nature. Once a boy reaches the age of 8, it is not nurturing he needs more, but examples to learn from as he grows into his adolescent years.

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