Are You Raising Your Son with Old-School Thinking?
Source: Hermes Rivera / Unsplash When I raised my son decades ago, the dominant cultural belief was that even young boys were expected to emulate the “macho” characteristics of their male elders: to be tough, not back down, and not show emotion. Although I have not specifically highlighted or subscribed to this machismo in my […]

Hermès Rivera / Unsplash

Source: Hermes Rivera / Unsplash

When I raised my son decades ago, the dominant cultural belief was that even young boys were expected to emulate the “macho” characteristics of their male elders: to be tough, not back down, and not show emotion. Although I have not specifically highlighted or subscribed to this machismo in my parenthoodLike many other parents, I would sometimes encourage my son to keep his emotions in check. My advice was often "manly" so different from the emotional education girls received and still receive. Fortunately, my son has grown into a sensitive, kind and respectful man.

It was then. In many ways, it is more difficult to raise boys who will be good men. Today, from a young age, boys witness excessive amounts of real-world violence on the news: the frightening and all-too-frequent shootings in schools and attacks on other random innocents. They witness bullying in schools, violence in so many video games and public shame on social networks. And yet, as several recent studies point out, boys continue to be discouraged from showing emotion or vulnerability.

It is more important than ever that parents pay Warning and changing approaches to raising boys to combat these endless and confusing negative signals. In his new book, You throw like a girl: the blind spot of masculinity, Former US quarterback and NFL quarterback Don McPherson "sees boys being brought up with a primary mandate to avoid being girls or gay and being tough, quiet and stoic - an essentially misogynistic approach which, he writes, also limits men's emotion. growth and sense of responsibility, ”notes a review in Weekly editors magazine.

Fight the violence boys see

Fostering sensitivity and empathy in today's boys begins with letting go of the macho male stereotype. It can be difficult, especially when we look at the media - namely the world of sport. Boys are influenced by the hyper-masculinity of sports personalities who behave in reprehensible ways and yet are often idols and role models for boys. Think Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice or Tiger Woods. Unfortunately, there are many more.

Michael Reichert, Ph.D., founding director of the Center for the Study of Boys 'and Girls' Lives at the University of Pennsylvania and author of How to Raise a Boy: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men, highlights and documents what parents of boys face: "The stronger the adherence to masculine norms, the more likely a young man is to follow poor health practices." Compared to girls, boys use more substances, drive recklessly and generally take more risks which often lead to injury. As Reichert notes, it is "one thing for a girl to be a 'tomboy', but quite another for a boy to be a 'sissy."

In an effort to address the alarming amount of violence and callous attitudes to which boys are exposed, a program designed to prevent bullying and go out together violence among college boys succeeded in changing the boys' beliefs. Reported in Child and Youth Services Review, the program consisted of one-hour sessions over four months reviewed genre role assumptions, including their normalization and ubiquity. During the program, boys learned about empathy, healthy relationships, and gender-based violence.

"By focusing on positive expressions of masculinity, such as the ability to be respectful in relationships, this program helps boys find positive ways to prevent violence and deal with the violence they may have. be exposed before, ”said Victoria Banyard, senior author and professor at the School of Social Work at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

How parents can refine and optimize their approach

Given today's landscape, how can parents raise caring boys who will be "good men" while allowing them to withstand the undue pressure they are under? How can parents encourage their sons to be respectful and honest human beings with empathetic perspectives, and still be able to defend yourself?

Dr. Reichert has made important observations in his global research and offers parents suggestions to minimize outside influences, encourage emotional expression and compassion to help break down old male stereotypes. Making adjustments helps you become good men in these very different and difficult times.

Here are nine of his key lessons, among others:

  • Beware of traditional stereotypes that start early in a son's life - shaming boys who play with dolls and other toys considered to be girls ... or encouraging (or insisting on) playing sports, especially if your son doesn't like competition.
  • Allow your boy to follow his own path, not the one you may have predetermined for him. This way you respect his individuality and uniqueness personality rather than expecting it comply old and traditional male roles.
  • Listen to what your son has to say, especially when he shares his feelings, worries or fears. Listening is crucial to maintaining the connection boys want ... and need. Be patient and approachable.
  • Encourage your son to show his emotions, from sadness to anger. Let him know that vulnerability is more than okay: that it's okay to cry, that he doesn't have to keep his feelings bottled up when he's around you even if it makes you uncomfortable.
  • Help your son by "interfering" or ask him if he wants help in a given situation ... or find solutions together, but avoid taking over so that he can build his self-confidence.
  • Share your own stories of hardship and / or embarrassment of your childhood. Let him know you made mistakes.
  • Do not shy away from difficult conversations - whether it's a death in the family, your child's bad grades, a divorced, relationships with girls - not only to strengthen your connection, but also to stimulate opening and the sensitivity of your son.
  • Say “I love you” regularly to let your son know that you are seeing his efforts. He will "get" you to recognize him and accept him for who he is.
  • Exercise your authority as a parent by setting boundaries and providing guidance at the same time. Listen to your son when he behaves badly or tests his limits without reacting negatively to his emotions of anger, for example. You can set guidelines for how this anger can be expressed strategically and not reactively.

Reichert's knowledge and understanding of what boys need gives parents what they need to fully identify with their boys and help them thrive. Where was this book when I needed it? If you have concerns about your boy, they are likely covered in this book, whether in games or online. addiction violent behavior, being socially avoided or being bullied to the point of underperformance. Obviously raising boys now demands extreme attention to what we say and do in terms of raising boys who will be, in Reichert's words, "good men."

Gloria Steinem once suggested that we "raise our sons more like our daughters." It means showing emotion and expressing what "hurts" the understanding of parents and thus, abandon the stereotypical and ubiquitous male model that promotes harshness and allows for destructive and thoughtless behavior. Steinem and Reichert have infinite meanings.

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Copyright @ 2019 by Susan Newman


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Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

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Don’t try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child’s minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.

Pick your battles. Kids can’t absorb too many rules without turning off completely. Forget arguing about little stuff like choices and occasional potty language. Focus on the things that really matter -- that means no hitting, rude talk, or lying.

Play with your children. Let them choose the activity, and don’t worry about rules. Just go with the flow and have fun. That’s the name of the game.

Read books together every day. Get started when he’s a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents’ voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set him up for a lifetime of reading.

Schedule daily special time. Let your child choose an activity where you hang out together for 10 or 15 minutes with no interruptions. There’s no better way for you to show your love.

Encourage daddy time. The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with Dad -- early and often. Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.

Make warm memories. Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals -- like bedtimes and game night -- that you do together.

Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.

Fess up when you blow it. This is the best way to show your child how and when she should apologize.

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and garde each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.

Always tell the truth. It’s how you want your child to behave, right ? Kiss and hug your spouse in front of the kids. Your marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship looks, feels, and sounds like. So it’s your travail to set a great standard.

Give appropriate praise. Instead of simply saying, ' You’re great, ' try to be specific about what your child did to deserve the positive feedback. You might say, ' Waiting until I was off the phone to ask for cookies was , and I really liked your patience. '

Cheer the good stuff. When you notice your child doing something helpful or nice, let him know how you feel. It’s a great way to reinforce good behavior so he’s more likely to keep doing it.

Gossip about your kids. Fact : What we overhear is far more potent than what we are told directly. Make praise more effective by letting your child ' catch ' you whispering a compliment about him to Grandma, Dad, or even his teddy.

Give yourself a break. Hitting the drive-through when you’re too tired to cook doesn’t make you a bad mère.

Trust your mommy gut. No one knows your child better than you. Follow your instincts when it comes to his health and well-being. If you think something’s wrong, probabilités are you’re right. Just say ' No. ' Resist the urge to take on extra obligations at the office or become the Volunteer Queen at your child’s school. You will never, ever regret spending more time with your children.

Don’t accept disrespect from your child. Never allow her to be rude or say hurtful things to you or anyone else. If she does, tell her firmly that you will not tolerate any form of disrespect. Pass along your plan. Mobilize the other caregivers in your child’s life -- your spouse, grandparents, daycare worker, babysitter -- to help reinforce the values and the behavior you want to instill. This includes everything from saying thank you and being kind to not whining.

Ask your children three ' you ' questions every day. The art of conversation is an important social skill, but parents often neglect to teach it. Get a kid going with questions like, ' Did you have fun at school ? ' ; ' What did you do at the party you went to ? ' ; or ' Where do you want to go tomorrow afternoon ? ' Teach kids this bravery trick. Tell them to always notice the color of a person’s eyes. Making eye contact will help a hesitant child appear more confident and will help any kid to be more assertive and less likely to be picked on.

Acknowledge your kid’s strong emotions. When your child’s meltdown is over, ask him, ' How did that feel ? ' and ' What do you think would make it better ? ' Then listen to him. He’ll recover from a tantrum more easily if you let him talk it out.

Show your child how to become a responsible citizen. Find ways to help others all year. Kids gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in the community. Don’t raise a spoiled kid. Keep this thought in mind : Every child is a treasure, but no child is the center of the universe. Teach him accordingly.

Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early : When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why. Explain to your kids why values are important. The simple answer : When you’re kind, generous, honest, and respectful, you make the people around you feel good. More important, you feel good about yourself.

Set up a ' gratitude circle ' every night at dinner. Go around the table and take turns talking about the various people who were generous and kind to each of you that day. It may sound corny, but it makes everyone feel good.

Serve a food again and again. If your child rejects a new dish, don’t give up hope. You may have to offer it another six, eight, or even 10 times before he eats it and decides he likes it. Avoid food fights. A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat. If he refuses to finish whatever food is on his plate, just let it go. He won’t starve.

Eat at least one meal as a family each day. Sitting down at the table together is a relaxed way for everyone to connect -- a time to share happy news, talk about the day, or tell a silly joke. It also helps your kids develop healthy eating habits. Let your kids place an order. Once a week, allow your children to choose what’s for dinner and cook it for them.

Say ' I love you ' whenever you feel it, even if it’s 743 times a day. You simply can not spoil a child with too many mushy words of affection and too many smooches. Not possible. Keep in mind what grandmoms always say. Children are not yours, they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people. Savor the instants. Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting emploi on the planet. Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry’s piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your kid just laughed. Enjoy it now -- it will be over far too fast.

Teach your baby to sign. Just because a child can’t talk doesn’t mean there isn’t lots that she’d like to say. Simple signs can help you know what she needs and even how she feels well before she has the words to tell you -- a great way to reduce frustration. Keep the tube in the family room. Research has repeatedly shown that children with a TV in their bedroom weigh more, sleep less, and have lower grades and poorer social skills. P. S. Parents with a television in their bedroom have sex less often. Get kids moving. The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level. Place your baby on her tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in her stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.

Get your kids vaccinated. Outbreaks of measles and other diseases still occur in our country and throughout the world. Protect that smile. Encouraging your kid to brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will guard against cavities. Be averti about safety. Babyproof your home thoroughly, and never leave a child under 5 in the tub alone. Make sure car seats are installed correctly, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding his bike or scooter. Listen to the doc. If your pediatrician thinks your kid’s fever is caused by a malware, don’t push for antibiotics. The best medicine may be rest, lots of fluids, and a little TLC. Overprescribing antibiotics can cause medical problems for your child and increase the chances of creating superbugs that resist treatment.

Keep sunblock next to your kid’s toothpaste. Apply it every day as part of the morning routine. It’ll become as natural as brushing her teeth. Put your baby to bed drowsy but still awake. This helps your child learn to soothe himself to sleep and prevents bedtime problems down the line. Know when to toilet train. Look for these two signs that your child is ready to use the potty : He senses the urge to pee and poop ( this is different from knowing that he’s already gone ), and he asks for a diaper change.

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