For every mom that has boys…this is a must read. I had 1 girl and then 2 boys followed. Boy were they different, even as babies! Boys and girls are not the same people and each requires different things in life to succeed.
Every year the statistics on boys and achievement become more alarming. Boys are falling behind in school, boys are entering colleges at the lowest rate in history, and the number of young men returning home to live with their parents, working only part time or not at all, has more than doubled in the past two decades.
“Girl behavior is the gold standard in schools,” reports Psychologist Giordana Toccaceli. “Boys are treated like defective girls.” I see this happening time and time again mostly with female teachers who may not understand boys and what their needs are.
Here are some tips for dealing with boys:
1. Treat boys like boys.
“Girl behavior is the gold standard in schools,” observed Psychologist Giordana Toccaceli. “Boys are treated like defective girls.” We’ve got to stop playing it that way. Boys have unique strengths. Why not play to those strengths rather than constantly try to make boys into something they’re not?
2. Bring Back Recess.
Recess is being pulled out of schools. We can’t change that. However, you can have recess with your son after school. If your son doesn’t want to play competitive sports after school, take up a physical hobby together – fish, run, lift weights, play tennis, etc. More than one researcher points out the foundational biological need that boys have to express themselves physically, to engage in play, and to periodically disengage from the structured learning environment. “Although boys are more active, only a small percentage engages in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day,”said Lorraine Robbins, assistant professor of nursing at Michigan State University.
3. Make sure they’re thirsty.
Someone who is never thirsty is never motivated to look for water. So, we need to dismantle the “entitlement” economy so many parents have established and make sure your child is required to earn access to what he wants by accomplishing real goals. “Learned helplessness” has to be taught. Set deadlines. Impose structure. Dad’s job is that of coach, not quarterback.
Encouragement is the key to motivation. Take the training wheels off, give the bike a helpful shove, even run alongside if necessary. Let go, but hang around to encourage. This means compliment real achievement, teach problem-solving skills, and then step back. Allow kids to achieve something worthwhile so your compliments actually mean something.
5. Take the Goodies out of His Room.
James Lehman, MSW, contends that boys should be required to venture out of their rooms and engage life. No computer in the bedroom, no television, no video-gaming system and certainly no access to a smart phone if he’s not performing. He’s a boy, so he needs to be hunting and gathering in every aspect of his life.