The last decade has seen heightened interest in and awareness of the issues surrounding boys in most of the western world. It is common knowledge that boys lead the way in all the wrong statistics, including; problematic behaviours, learning difficulties and health problems. Educators and professionals around the world are looking for ways to cater for and engage young males.
Approval and high regard lie at the heart of raising happy, well-adjusted boys. Boys are approval-seeking creatures. They craved to be liked, loved and appreciated - particularly by their mothers and other significant women in their lives. They also want approval from their fathers, which can be a tough ask.
Yes, boy's behaviour are often in your face and direct. Subtle, boys are not. But at least you know where you stand with boys.
Yes, they can be dirty, scruffy and smelly but scratch the surface and you will reveal a gem underneath.
Yes, they are often more boisterous and active than girls but don't mistake boisterousness with aggression. Provide them with the space to be active and give them ways to channel their energy in productive ways.
Yes, they are more prone to solving social problems physically than we would like but their verbal skills need to be worked on a little harder. They need to be shown how to resolve issues verbally rather than told how to do it.
Yes, they are developmentally not as advanced as girls but we need to aware of this when we decide the age they should start school. Boys who start school on the before five years of age often have an uphill battle compared to girls who can have a twelve month edge on them maturity-wise.
Yes, some boys have difficulty getting organised and will invariably have messy bedrooms, desks and leave clothes lying around but they need step-by-step advice (as well as some lists and a willingness to repeat instructions) about how to manage themselves and their schedules.
Yes, boys are not strong at reading the signs that others give and can say and do the wrong things in public or at school. But we need to encourage them to stand back and look (or think) before they leap (or act) so that they can be a little more intuitive.
Yes, they are not the world's most avid readers but we can account for this by reading to them and making it fun, giving them more male role models who read and provide alternative ways to gain information other than books.
Yes, boys don't work as neatly as girls in school but they are usually more task oriented and can't see the point of such processes. Computers are a huge help for those boys who struggle to produce neat, tidy work with neat, tidy borders.
Yes, boys can be clumsy socially but they form friendships around shared interests and are less likely to exclude people from their friendship circles because of something trivial such as the clothes they wear.
Yes, boys play for keeps when they play competitive sport but it is the way they push themselves rather than prove themselves at the expense of others.
Yes, boys have a different pathway to adulthood than girls - they become adults by proving themselves so even simple games of sport can become a test of their mettle. We need to provide them with safe proving grounds so they don't have to resort to illegal or dangerous ways of testing their masculinity.
Okay, so this maybe a biased, Pollyannaish view of boys but to successfully raise and teach boys we must understand and work with the gender differences. And above all us you must LIKE them.
Michael Grose is The Parent Coach. For seventeen years he has been helping parents deal with the rigours of raising kids and survive!! For information about Michael's Parent Coaching programs or just some fine advice and ideas to help you raise confident kids and resilient teenagers visit http://www.parentingideas.com.au
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