Boys will be Boys but don’t worry it’s normal!
Like it or not, there’s a difference between the way young boy and girls behave and act as they are growing up. Whereas girls are attentive, boys like to be boisterous, sometimes to the point where they struggle to focus on things that matter, like their education, which will benefit them in the future.
As any concerned mom knows, raising boys can be a little nerve-wracking. Will they turn out okay? Is their behavior normal? Is my boy just doing what boys do?
The best available evidence suggests that optimal parenting for boys is quite “hands-off.” In practice, that means refraining from micromanaging everything the child does, both in and out of the house. Micromanagement is a form of aggression: the constant monitoring of another person causes stress for both parties and means that the boy never actually develops his own agency. This can either go one of two ways: either the boy becomes passive and submissive, realizing that it’s better just to submit to authority figures, no matter what their instructions. Or the boy will rebel and desperately try to exert his individuality in all situations, opposing all parental commands.
No doubt, you want a better solution. Here are some parenting guidelines to nudge your boy onto the right developmental path.
Expect The Best
Many child psychologists will tell parents that they need to “praise the positive” behavior of their children. However, this turns the child’s attention toward the parent. That may not seem like a bad thing, but if the boy needs you to validate his actions, he could become dependent. Parents should try a different tactic – one with more psychological clout. Instead of praising the positives, they should embed their expectations for behavior into what they say. Boys need to learn their own unconscious boundaries and internalize good behavior, otherwise, they won’t know how to act or what to do when you’re not there. Embedding standards is relatively easy: adopt high standards yourself, like no name-calling in the household, and model dispute resolution and your boy will copy you in his own interactions.
Provide Support, Even If It Feels Embarrassing
It’s crucial that parents support boys throughout their development on an unconditional level. Boys need to know that there’s always somebody they can turn to, no matter what problems they’re experiencing.
Boys are often less forthcoming about their problems, but need to be encouraged to do so to keep you in the loop. Moreover, there’s evidence to suggest that boys are more sensitive to adverse events than girls, especially in early childhood.
Problems like bedwetting can be quickly resolved in the short term with incontinence pants for boys. But moms need to focus on dealing with the underlying causes. Often boys experience bedwetting because of anxiety, either about something happening in the family or something school-related. It can be a little embarrassing broaching topics like these, but it’s good practice to help both you and your boy express yourselves on a meaningful level.
Get Him To Practice His Social Skills
According to Baby Center, boys don’t form relationships as easily as girls. It takes them more time to build up levels of intimacy and mutual respect. As a result, it’s a good idea for parents to help their boys mingle with other children and build up relationships which last. What can you do directly? You can take him to clubs, organize play dates and counsel him on how to improve his existing relationships.
Encourage Outward-Facing Activities
The essence of growing up, according to psychoanalysts, is “the process of letting go.” Letting go of what, exactly? According to experts, personal development is all about the successive realization that you’re not the center of the universe and that there are other people in the world whose feelings, thoughts and desires are just as real as your own. When babies are very young, they don’t even recognize their mothers as separate people: instead, they view them as an extension of their own body which fulfills their needs. As boys grow into men, they begin to understand that they aren’t the only person in the world and that the world doesn’t revolve around them. But they can be thrown off track if they grow up to focus on themselves, rather than the wider world around them.
The job of parents, therefore, should be to point boys outward in the direction of the world. The world should be a place which they long to explore and experience. Getting them to join clubs or engage in activities outside of themselves can really help give them a sense that they’re part of a wider community of equals.
Don’t Suppress His Natural Energy
Some boys are highly strung, and most are full of beans. Why? Well, scientists think it has to do with our evolutionary past. Boys needed to be energetic and enthusiastic to learn about the dangers present in the natural world. They needed to master their environments quickly if they were going to survive and thrive.
Today, boys need to be similarly inquisitive. They need a natural drive to discover how the world works if they are going to be successful in the future. Parents, therefore, shouldn’t just chalk their child’s energy up to hyperactivity or sugar. They should harness it and point it in the right direction. A high energy level is great for getting things done in life and achieving one’s goals. It should be encouraged, not dismissed.
His Emotions Are Important
Many parents get worried when they see their boy acting out. Sometimes it can be scary. But emotions are an important part of all of us, and shouldn’t be suppressed. Anger is often portrayed as a negative emotion. But it’s also an important one: anger is our involuntary response to being violated. Boys need to express this emotion to know when they’ve been harmed by somebody else so that they can tell you or another caregiver what’s happened.
Experiencing emotions also encourages emotional control, something which might not be developed if the boy is constantly trying to hold back the flood.
*This is a collaborative post
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