Boys can be mean in more subtle ways, especially when it comes to dealing with girls. Below are some tips on how to raise boys that will help your sons grown into kinder young men.
There have been many articles floating around social media about raising girls who are kind to each other. As we all remember how mean girls can be, especially in the middle school years, this is so important. But, it also made me reflect on how we are raising our boys to be kind.
I think that because boys tend to get over problems with each other quicker, we think that our sons don’t need as much explicit instruction on how to treat others. But boys can be mean in more subtle ways, especially when it comes to dealing with girls. Below are some tips to help your sons grow into kinder young men.
HOW TO RAISE BOYS THAT ARE KIND
1.) Teach them that no means no!
We have all heard this before, but we associate it with having “the talk” with our sons. Parents don’t need to worry about that until they are teenagers, right? But understanding this concept actually starts much earlier than most parents think. When you tell your eight-year-old not to play with his video game and he does it anyway, you just taught your son that no doesn’t really mean no. If your son knows that you might change your mind or that you might not follow through with a consequence, you are reinforcing the concept that he doesn’t really have to listen when you say no. This concept of “no means maybe” will follow him as he grows. Kids need to understand that when you or anybody for that matter says no, that he is expected to stop whatever it is he is doing. The key is consistency. He must understand that “no always means no” and that starts at home.
2.) It’s ok to cry.
While showing my class a movie with a very sad ending, one of my students began to cry. Almost immediately, the other boys picked up on this and began teasing him. Of course, I stopped the teasing right away, but then asked the kids why they thought it was ok for my female students to cry, but not the males. They didn’t really have an answer. Crying during sad movies or stories is a sign that your son can show true empathy for others. This should never be discouraged. Feeling empathy and compassion for others will be a key component in forming positive relationships with others as an adult. Encourage your son to talk about his feelings and let him cry when his feelings are hurt.
3.) They aren’t “just being boys.”
I am not a fan of the saying, “boys will be boys.” It seems to be an excuse to be rough, disrespectful of others, and sometimes, mean. Parents and teachers need to hold our boys to a higher standard than this. Many boys do have more energy and tend to benefit from more physical forms of play, but this doesn’t mean that he can’t sit still in class or show respect in a friend’s home. Be sure your son knows what is expected of him as far as good behavior is concerned. Provide consistent consequences when the rules are not followed and allow for plenty of unstructured, active play to get his energy out in a positive way.
4.) Encourage kindness.
In order to raise kind sons, you have to model kindness for them. Make kindness a part of your family life. Volunteer together as a family. This could mean helping a neighbor rake leaves or making cards for a sick friend. Make a big deal about small acts of kindness when you catch someone doing it. Sharing a toy or helping set the table deserves a few words of praise. The more you focus on good behavior the more results you will see.
Until next time,
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