How to raise boys effectively?

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Answered by: Jennifer, An Expert in the Health and Development Category
Surviving the storm of boys.

Stories of the little tornado

Dennis the Menace is an icon we all can identify with. We automatically picture a little boy that is very mischievous and every parent's nightmare. That, unfortunately is most boys!

When you become a parent, you have so many feelings of anxiety and excitement and joy, but have you ever felt prepared for your little tornado? Many of us enter parenthood unprepared for what is to come. There is not a manual telling us every possible thing that can happen and what we should do in response. We are also not told that the way we react and respond to our children can be detrimental to their well-being. Everyone told me that raising boys are so much easier than girls, but they did not say they are much easier if they survive their young childhood years.

I have 3 boys and 1 girl, and I can tell you that my boys have been the most challenging by far! My daughter is entering her teenage, hormone ridden years and there will be challenges, but I feel more prepared for that than I do for another second with my boys!

My 8 year old has thought of things I never imagined! One morning he was getting ready for school, he was in the bathroom and appeared to be up to something. He is highly creative but I can always tell when he is up to no good. I asked him what he was doing with his backpack in the bathroom and he replied the common fib of "nothing". I went over to inspect further and as I grabbed the backpack he told me he had placed a mitten in it. I put my hand in the bag and shuffled the papers and things around until I touched something soft and "cloth like"; I pulled it out of the bag and was instantly in "flight or fight" mode although I wasn't going far, my feet were moving fast. I had pulled out a little garden snake that he had found in the yard the day before. He snuck it into the house and had kept it in the jewelry dish that sits on the bathroom counter. I have never read a book anywhere that tells me how to respond to this situation!

I have plenty more stories of how I was surprised by my precious little tornadoes, and that is not easy to do as I am highly creative and thought I had set the record of coming up with things to get into....I was wrong. My boys are little creative geniuses.

Don't worry, there is hope for us!

Hope for the weary

When we see our little darlings thinking of things that are truly one of a kind, harness that creativity and guide it towards wonderful things that will build a leader in the future, even though it is a natural reaction to scream and hollar and think bad thoughts....refrain!

I volunteered for a child abuse prevention agency and one day I went into a store to hand the manager an agency brochure. As I walked in, I heard a woman yell "Stop it or I will punch you in your face!!". I turned and looked to see a woman pushing a cart with a little boy sitting in the basket and another one walking alongside her. My heart went out to those boys. I could not imagine being talked to like that, and I know the boys had to feel a great deal of fear, sadness, etc from those harsh words. I walked up to her and handed her the brochure I had in my hand for the agency. I spoke very gently and understanding to her. I simply told her that it is hard being raising boys but there are resources out there to help you learn how to parent them and save your own sanity.

There are some basic things to remember when dealing with a typical boy tornado:

1. Remember this is part of them growing up and discovering life, they do not mean any harm to you, they are just curious. Be thankful you have a child that is able to discover life and praise God for bringing that special creature into your life!

2. Think before you speak. Words are highly powerful and if you begin shouting, cursing, and threatening them you will only be hurting everyone, including yourself. Speak to your child as you would like to be spoken to. Be respectful so they will respect you in return, which leads to them responding more positively to you as a parent and will help them respect others.

3. Material possessions can be replaced but people and time cannot. If your child broke a cup, before you become angry remember it was probably an accident (that could have been avoided), and have them clean it up and thank God that he is ok and was not hurt. He can still have a consequence just make sure it fits the crime.

4. Discipline means to teach not to punish. When you are disciplining your child think "What do I want them to learn from this?" If you want them to learn that you should scream and act ridiculous when angry, then by all means scream and act ridiculous.

5. Provide opportunities for them to get into stuff. Allow them to play in the mud, bury things in the yard so they can dig them up, go on scavenger hunts in the house, and do plenty of science experiments.

6. MOST IMPORTANTLY! Love your child and treasure what time you have with them. They grow up fast and you would not want to look back and wish you could do it all over again...time cannot be replaced so invest your time wisely.

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