Raising boys that are confident, self-assured, mature and resilient can feel difficult to navigate. We want our boys to be tough yet empathetic, mature but fun-loving and honorable yet go-getters. So how do we balance all of these things so our little guys grow up to be men we can be proud of?
I don’t have a son, but I know that men need positive role-models in their lives to thrive, and when there is an absence of that due to circumstances, how do you fill that gap? Or, when you as their parents weren’t raised by positive role models yourself and feel a bit at a loss, where do you turn for some additional insight so you can do the best job you can? Below you will find some resources.
Consider the following:
Take Action Academy via Free the ChildrenÂ - This leadership academy happens in the summer and involves facilitated discussions about world issues and encourages teens to examine those issues with a leader’s mind. They bond with other kids and even enjoy a little fun in the process. The Academies happen all over the U.S. and they even have a few in Canada.
Some books I found that might be helpful to the parents of boys:
Raising Boys: Why Boys are Different – and How to Help them Become Well-Balanced Men by: Steven Biddulph – The author is an award-winning psychologist who has had this particular book published in 14 countries. He takes a light and humorous approach to giving insight into a young man’s mind. He explains the differences between how a female brain and male work.
The reviews were mostly positive with a few sprinkled in that took issue with what he said about boys being more likely to thrive in a small home daycare setting or with a stay-at-home mother rather than that of a daycare scenario.
Raising CainÂ by: Dan Kindlon, Ph.D and Michael Thompson Ph.D sets out to explain to readers what they’ve both discovered in their collective 35 years of psychology experiences working with boys and their families. What struck me so much when reading this book’s overview was this statement:
They reveal a nation of boys who are hurting–sad, afraid, angry, and silent.
Which, as a mother who is raising three daughters that will marry these boys, I found this news disheartening. But, with that statement they follow with:
Kindlon and Thompson set out to answer this basic, crucial question: What do boys need that they’re not getting? They illuminate the forces that threaten our boys, teaching them to believe that “cool” equals macho strength and stoicism. Cutting through outdated theories of “mother blame,” “boy biology,” and “testosterone,” the authors shed light on the destructive emotional training our boys receive–the emotional miseducation of boys. Kindlon and Thompson make a compelling case that emotional literacy is the most valuable gift we can offer our sons, urging parents to recognize the price boys pay when we hold them to an impossible standard of manhood. They identify the social and emotional challenges that boys encounter in school and show how parents can help boys cultivate emotional awareness and empathy–giving them the vital connections and support they need to navigate the social pressures of youth.
Making this one of my top picks for parents of boys who are looking to help them through their most formative years so they might be the best man they can be and more importantly, happy.
Our kids are our future; we owe it to them to try and understand them a bit better. That doesn’t mean we should enable them into bad behavior or take away all road blocks so they do not attempt to persevere on their own – it just means we should be their biggest support system through life’s challenges.
Additionally, I think with boys, we need to realize that they aren’t all testosterone and machismo. Hopefully some of these resources will be useful for those of you looking for additional insight into your boys. Their future wives (ie. my daughters and those of others) will thank you and more importantly, your sons will thank you for caring enough to delve into who they are at the core.
What resources have you come across in your journey with raising boys? What would you recommend?
Image: lanx1983Â via Flickr