Raising Men: Part 1
I have to be honest, the moment I found out I was having a boy, my heart sank. I didn’t know the first thing about boys (and I still ). Being one of three girls, boys were/are aliens — like all the way from Jupiter. And I was scared. Scared of the wild, scared of the gross, scared of messing up. Because God knows this world does not need another messed up boy (insert: child) roaming the streets. What I didn’t know about boys was the sweet and tender love they have, or their adventurous spirit, or the way they completely and totally wreck a mama’s heart. I definitely wasn’t ready for that last one.
It wasn’t until my son was born that I realized the role that I would play in his life. I never thought about what it meant to raise a boy to be a man. The responsibility we as moms have to raise MEN can be overwhelming and terrifying. But, I believe, it is also empowering and exciting. We play such a huge role in who this itty-bitty little child becomes! Wow!
4 Insights into Raising Boys
I can’t profess to know the exact formula for raising boys, but I do know a few things in the short year and a half of doing just that
(disclaimer: this can go for boys and girls, but I’m talking specifically of my experience in raising one — soon to be two — boys).
- Boys need to know they are unconditionally loved and accepted and that you, as mom, will never judge them.
My son is not even 2 and I have experienced this countless times. He is a little stinker. He likes to do his own thing. He likes to run away from mama and cover his ears when he doesn’t want to listen. He is a strong-willed, stubborn little guy. When he is throwing a fit, having a meltdown, or struggling to listen, I try to get down on his level, look him in the eye, and tell him that I love him and hug him. 4/5 times he calms down. All he wants to know is that I love him and that I hear, acknowledge, and validate his crisis.
2. Boys need to explore.
This also means that boys need to get dirty and be allowed to climb things. Nothing bothers me more than when someone comes into my home and starts throwing “no’s” out left and right: “No, don’t touch that! No, don’t climb on that! No, don’t do this! Don’t do that!” I understand that most times they are concerned for the well being of my child, and for that I’m grateful, but if I’m not worried about it, then you shouldn’t be either! Yes, boys need boundaries. He needs to know it’s not okay to run out in the road or intentionally hurt someone, but if he wants to dig in the dirt, pick up a bug, or make a mess of the house, that’s OK! Safety first, but exploration second. Don’t get me wrong, I say “no” a lot during the day (something I’m trying to work on!), but it’s usually because my son is pushing a boundary I am not comfortable with.
3.Boys need to be praised!
There is nothing my son loves more than hearing “good job” or seeing mama or dad clap when he’s done something AMAZING (i.e. built a block tower, gone on the potty, ate all his food, colored a picture, etc). I’m not trying to raise a boy who thinks he’s better than others, but I AM aiming to raise a boy who knows his value and worth as a human being.
4. Boys need to play with trucks and cars and balls and blocks AND DOLLS.
My son loves his cars and he loves to build with blocks. Most of the time, he would choose his car over a doll. But he also loves his baby. I think it’s very important for him to learn how to nurture and care for something smaller and more vulnerable so when the day comes that he has to make a choice between defending someone or joining in with the bullies, he chooses the former. Because THAT is a true sign of a man.
And that is what I am in the business of: raising men!