WT 108: Raising Little Boys
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Today we are excited to bring you the first episode in our 4 part mini-series all about Raising Boys & Girls. Today we are fielding questions from boy moms - specifically little boys. Body odor and hormones here we come! What a privilege and what a challenge to be a boy mom huh?
Question 1: I have 3 boys, 7, 4, and 3. They are all very different but all very boy. As you can imagine, everything in our house is a competition. While this can help speed up some processes, like getting upstairs and into the car, it has become an energy drainer for me and often ends in ugliness between the boys. How can I address this? I’m a competitive person, and was indeed made to be a boy mom, but - for the love - let’s please not race through brushing our teeth! I’d like them to be proud of their brothers for good accomplishments and want to work on fostering “brotherly love” but right now it’s just not what I’m seeing! Help!
Karen's Answer: I had some friends and they had four boys and the same thing was happening. They would make each boy take a month of going last. Last to everything, last to enter the car, last to serve their plate, last to order food at a restaurant, etc. You could try that. Also, maybe at night when you are all getting ready for bed, have the boys give one compliment per sibling. That is a good way to foster love. Another thing, is keep the competition outside, and not in the house. Be competitive when playing sports, etc, but inside the home make it be a safe zone, competitive free so everyone can relax and enjoy being home and not competing.
Question 2: How do you address the “penis-obsession” (touching it, talking about it, pulling it out) in small boys (3year old & 4 year old). And how do you word a conversation about “private body parts” and who can see/touch them. Thanks!!
Karen's Answer: Boys will be boys, and they are ALL obsessed. If you can figure it out, write a book and make a million dollars! I had lots of private part discussions with my children and just said, no one touches you there except for mommy and daddy while wiping you or the Dr. If anyone does touch you, please come tell me. I also told Taylor we don’t show our private parts to other people, it’s private. Deal with it one day at a time, try not to pay it too much attention.
Question 3: My son is obsessed with weapons and violence (fighting bad guys), even though we don't let him watch it and we try to keep him from being too rough. It's obviously a natural inclination and I know this, but I don't want it to go too far. He has seen other boys play 'swords' and 'guns' and latched onto it. How do I help him find a healthy balance?
Karen's Answer: Keeping a boy from being too rough is like trying to stop the tide from rising. Boys are just drawn to it. I think it’s good that you don't let him watch violent things, or I wouldn’t let him play video games that are violent. Taylor used to pick up a stick and that was his sword. It’s almost intuitive. Maybe create a space where he can play and “fight”. With Taylor it was always outside, and he could only hit things that weren’t people. Sometimes if we forbid something, they want it all the more. It doesn’t sound like it’s a problem, try not to worry about it until it becomes a problem. No need to borrow from tomorrow when today is enough to keep you busy. Teach your son, when we “fight” we fight to protect our loved ones, not just to fight. But, depending on his age, he may not understand that concept. Unless he is being aggressive with his siblings and peers, I would really just relax and not worry about it.
Question 4: My son is a big feelings child with big emotions and big highs and lows. How do I find a healthy balance to help him understand emotions but teach him/coach him to be brave and strong in a tough world? I want him to grow into the man God has designed him to be with a healthy understanding of emotional health but also be a strong man who can lead his own family one day.
Karen's Answer: Big feelings and emotions are great and very needed. Praise your son for his sensitive heart. Life will give you plenty of opportunities to teach the brave, strong and tough stuff as he gets older. Like I said earlier, you don’t need to borrow from tomorrow and bring it in to today’s world. It will come in due time, and then just ask God to give you wisdom on how to move forward. Keep growing your relationship with your son, and when the harder conversations come, and they will, he will listen to you!
Question 5: How do I curb the hitting and pushing? I am a parent who “pops” the back of the leg when a child doesn’t listen or is making poor choices; but it’s tough to enforce “no hitting” when I “hit” them. I’ve explained that they are not the parent and that they are brothers and they need to use words... yada yada... but it doesn’t seem to stick. Any wisdom on this? Just keep on keepin’ on? Thanks in advance! Much love!
Karen's Answer: Ha! Yes! :) You could change the pop with the use of your hand to a wooden spoon or something. I’ve heard it distinguishes it. I agree with you, that you are the mom, and you are not hitting because you are angry, or being mean, you are disciplining. They are young, and they may not understand it, but keep doing what you are doing. I got this, so I switched to the wooden spoon and that helped. Most of the time, my children knew why they were getting popped, they were guilty as charged. So, their argument didn’t hold any ground.
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Thank you moms, have a great day!