“Oh you have your hands full!”
Regardless if you have all girls, all boys, or a mix of genders under your roof undoubtedly someone is going to speculate on how that makes your hands more full than the next mom. I don’t envy any mom’s lot, we each have our own challenges, though I do agree that what toddlerhood brought my way is nothing compared to the tweens and teens I’m dipping into the waters of now!
Today, though, I’m learning from and sharing the tips Betty-Ann Heggie highlighted in her latest blog post about raising sons. Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails be damned, as mothers and fathers we are fully capable in 2017 of raising our boys to be sweet too.
Here’s how she suggests we can do it:
1) Allow your son to explore the full range of his emotions. Support and empathize with him when he says, “I am sad; I am uncertain; I feel hurt or I am scared”. Let him express this openly and without recrimination.
2) Avoid gender labels. Instead of saying, ‘two boys are playing” say “two friends are playing” or “two kids are playing”. We may not see any harm in mentioning gender but the more we do, the more likely it will be that our children segregate and adopt gender-stereotypes.
3) Make a mix of toys available to him. Offer building blocks along with doll carriages, racing cars and creative kitchens. Children learn from play and you’ll be teaching your son that these are all parts of himself.
4) Let go of gender expected behaviour by encouraging your son to daydream, become emotionally tuned to others and accept caregiving responsibility.
5) Have your son spend time in the company of girls so he can adopt their conditioned attributes by osmosis and also become comfortable sharing power with them. These early lessons in ‘even-distribution’ will better prepare him to share child-care and family finances in a twenty-first century family.
6) Expose him to strong women through books or movies and discuss examples of men who support these role models.
My son is thirteen and I’m still learning how I can teach him to develop both sides of the ‘typical’ gender attributes. He plays football, therefore we want to teach him to be aggressive on the field and have confidence to make the play. He has two little sisters who look up to him, so I want to ensure he has empathy and nurturing abilities. It’s not that we need to overthink it, but rather be aware of the words coming out of our mouths and the actions we’re demonstrating.
Which of these tips resonated most with you? We’re asking you to share how you utilize one of these tips already, or how one of these inspired you to try it at home, in our monthly PayPal contest!
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