Friday, July 17, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Cara: Raising Boys

Most times they are easier than raising girls. Girls are…well another post altogether! But sometimes boys can be complicated.

I am trying to raise boys that are not boorish ghouls. I want them to grow up to be nice young men, who treat girls with respect and are good true friends. And ultimately grow up to be great men like their dad. At the same time I don’t want to raise boys who are wimps. I don’t want them to think its ok to be treated badly by their peers. I find especially at a young age, it’s hard to help them realize when it’s ok to tell someone to get lost and when it’s time to be nice and cut them some slack.

It bothers me that I need to teach a naïve boy who just wants to go out and play that he better make sure no one is ganging up on him because he is the target of the day. It bugs me that I have to get a little tough with him so that he can realize when he is not being treated the right way to do something about it. I was worried that I was turning into one of those “helicopter moms”. You know the type that hovers over their kid no matter what they are doing be it playing with friends, playing sports, doing homework etc. I cannot stand that.

I like to say “go play with your friends have fun and I will sit here and chat with their moms….call me if you are bleeding or on fire otherwise go…” I don’t make him come back and check in every 10 minutes when I can see him from where I am sitting. I like to bring my chair, sit on the side lines and cheer on the WHOLE team not just him. I like to let him do his homework and ask for help if he needs it or ask me to check it when he’s done.

But I think I am raising good boys. The big one is kind, friendly, and respectful. He walks quietly but carries a big stick. I like that. The little one, takes turns, is happy for a friend when he catches more fish than he does, lets a friend hold his hand because she was nervous going into the waves at the beach.

I cannot hover over the big one anymore. Not only because he is bigger than me, but I know he gets it now. And if there was any serious problem he would tell us. Little Guy had a busy playdate (for lack of a better word…hate that word) filled week. He laughed and played and had a great time. No crying. No one made to feel like the odd one out. Hovering is annoying. But I still may do it a little for the times when I think I need to have his back. I will give him all the examples he was given this week of how a good friend acts. So when a “friend” does not act that way he can make the decision to do something about it or leave.

His fishing buddy sat off to the side while his dad let Mike drive the boat home. It was very exciting for a 7 year old boy. And although the fishing buddy doesn’t get to drive his dad’s boat much, he sat there quietly and gave thumbs up to his friend. (even a pat on the back for doing a great job!) He let his friend just have his moment. He knew he would get his turn next time he went out fishing with his dad. I wish I could have bottled that moment. That little fishing buddy gave me hope that there are times when you can just let them be and they will work it out. And that sometimes they actually remember all the things we teach them about being a good person. I felt in a way that the little thumbs up was for me too.


Cherie said...

I can so relate to what you are saying. I am constantly trying to get my boys to stand up for themselves! To learn to tell a friend "No" when they are doing something they do not like! I don't want push-overs for boys and don't want bullies. So where is the middle line??

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