Raising Boys

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Justin West, School Counsellor

Two weeks ago, I facilitated a workshop on ‘Parenting your Middle Schooler’. I talked about the stage of development in adolescence and what to expect  as children transition into adolescence and enter the first stage - ‘Early Adolescence’. Parents from Years 5 to Years 8 attended. It was a lively session - lots of laughs and sharing of experiences of some of the delights and challenges of living and working with young people making the transition from childhood into adolescence.

We explored some of the key changes ( i.e., physical, cognitive, emotional, social, academic ) as they enter “Early Adolescence’  and there was much discussion around some of the  differences between dealing with boys compared to girls. I will be exploring some of these differences as well as ideas for supporting our young men and women a little further in coming articles

I am drawing on the material from Australian author and parenting expert, Michael Grose. Michael writes about some of the things to consider when it comes to raising boys. Here are some of his observations:

Raising Boys

“Boys are wired differently to girls. They thinking differently and about different things to girls.

They mature more slowly, particularly when it comes to language development, social skills and their fine motor skills.

They are organisationally-challenged as well. They are more boisterous, more self-conscious and more awkward than girls...particularly as they move into adolescence.

Loyalty is a high driver for most boys. Many will get into fights at school to back up their mates, or because someone said something nasty about their little sister.

The abiding wish of all boys from school-age through to adolescence is to fit in and be part of a group. They are group-oriented by nature.

Approval is at the heart of working successfully with boys. They will walk over broken glass or hot coals if they sense you like them...which is an important message for teachers too.

Boys and Confidence:

Boys need specific parenting. Here are some examples:

  • They like limits and boundaries. They help them learn. They also like to push against them too so you had better have a backbone if you are raising boys
  • Boys also respond to ‘think’ language. If you want to know how a boy feels, just ask him how he thinks...and he’ll probably tell you how he feels.
  • Boys generally are more impulsive than girls so strategies that help boys think and reflect on their behaviour are really beneficial.
  • Boys embarrass easily and they generally respond better when they are praised in private, rather than publicly”. ( from www.parentingideas.com.au - ‘Parents’ section, ‘Raising Boys’ tab ).

I encourage you to check out his website. There are articles on parenting, suggestions on books to read, and there are links to online parenting courses which you might finding both thought provoking and very supportive. He is offering a three-week online parenting course titled :Raising Mighty Boys’, which starts on 19 August.

There are a number of authors writing on the topic of raising boys.

Here are a few suggestions ( this is by no means comprehensive, but is just a starting point as you explore the topic ):

  • Michael Grose: A Man’s Guide to Raising Kids Great Ideas for (Tired) Parents
  • Michael Thompson: Speaking of Boys - Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About  Raising Sons
  • Steve Biddulph: The New Manhood Raising Boys: Why Boys Are Different - and How to Help Them  Become Happy and Well-Balanced Men

(I am ordering copies of these books and will let you know when we have copies in the library for you to borrow )

In coming weeks, I will be talking about raising girls, and about  helping to nurture ‘happy families’. Stay tuned!