“We can raise a generation of boys that are happier, more alive, more connected to the human race, just in time for a world that so badly needs good men.”Steven Biddulph, Raising Boys: Why Boys are Different – and How to Help them Become Happy and Well-balanced Men
The gift of a boy! Now that you have a boy, make a man out of him; correct the impressions that people have about boys.
Once a young child was visiting my house; he was playing and moving about swiftly. He noticed my disapproval. His response to me was ‟boys are rough”. It was the first time I heard that statement and from a 6-year-old! To say that I was shocked is an understatement, but imagine my utter displeasure when I realized that many adults believe the same thing about boys.
As a mother of two boys, it worries me when I hear other sad phrases about boys. Certainly, people are born with different personalities. But to determine set rules for a particular gender such as “rough” leaves me speechless.
Here are some things we can help boys attain
An Identity: An identify that is not “rough.” Of course we can utilize their strength but we should channel all that energy to positive and not disruptive use.
Security Consciousness: In his book “Raising Boys”, author Steve Biddulph provides statistics showing that boys are at far greater risk of getting into trouble and being in danger than girls. We can teach boys to look out for signs of danger.
Communication: While working with young children I observed that boys and girls communicate differently; for example, a child who wants a toy. Boys may grab the toy, push or hit another child while girls may cry or become sad. Instead of labelling the boy as “rough” an observant educator or parent (adult) ought to model the right style of communication. This type of involvement will ensure that boys practice appropriate communication skills that will be useful their entire lives.
Develop Skills: An excellent place to start is to get boys to do chores. As the world advances, it is no longer commonplace to have gender specific roles. It is more common to expect that people can be useful to themselves and others. If you are a parent raising a boy, it will be unfair and a great disservice to your male child to grow up without understanding that doing chores is a life skill. Furthermore, because boys tend to be less conversational, involving them in an activity that is of interest, appropriate and safe, is a great way to get them to interact with others.
I recommend the book by Steven Biddulph: “Raising Boys: Why Boys are Different – and How to Help them Become Happy and Well-balanced Men.” (Available at the Calgary Public Library. Membership is free.)
Boys may be bullied or engage in bullying behaviour. Read more about this in our article: Signs of Bullying in Young Children.
About the author
Onyinye Odih is a mother, early childhood educator and author. She has a heart for families and believes that children are beautiful beings that families have a responsibility to nurture. Find her on instagram: @odihonyinye