My son is 16. He is a kind, sensitive, hard working and funny; a man-boy. I love that he is beginning to go out into the world with curiosity, awareness (well as much as we could give him) and wonder. However, it has been a challenge at times! All children can be tricky to parent but, having taught many, many children, there can be a difference between boys and girls. Not always, but sometimes, they need different things just as first borns or the youngest may do too. I do believe in treating boys and girls the same but just sometimes they need a different approach. With this in mind, here are my top 5 tips for parenting boys.
1. Give them lots of outdoor exercise
Recently, a mum of a little boy in my class said that she basically treated her son and her Labrador the same; feed them well and make sure they get to go for a good run outside everyday! I thought this was funny but she had a point. Boys need to be outside. Sometimes, the exercise will be organised like playing football or going to soft play but, the best type of exercise could also be wonderfully playful. Building rock towers, transporting sand from one area to another or climbing anything. It doesn’t really matter what they are doing as long as it’s outside and involves using their bodies. Making it competitive also works like -“Whoever can run to that hill over there and back the quickest…..” and they’re gone! I can’t remember one walk where our small son didn’t climb something or find some amazing stick with superpowers.
2. Hug often
Boys don’t tend to be able to verbalise themselves as well as girls, especially little boys. They may just get angry or cry when things get too much so a hug always helps. It just works when words fail. I also think that sometimes boys have quite deep emotions that they just can’t put into words like a girl could. ‘She said that I could play but then she didn’t so…..” you get the picture. Boys tend to lash out instead so a good hug can work wonders. Boys are not emotionally stronger than girls; they are children and need hugging just as much as girls.
3. The word ‘poo’ will lighten the mood
What is it about the word ‘poo’? It always used to make both my children collapse into fits if giggles but especially my son. I think boys can be preoccupied by their poo as soon as they are potty trained. I remember one of my friends little boys had to keep his poo in his potty until his Daddy came home -to show him! Girls just think it smells…..oh and don’t get me started on pee. Let’s just say, it gets everywhere and I mean, everywhere.
4. Always have a banana in your bag
My son is often hangry. I mean really, really hangry. I’ve learnt that I always had to have a banana as a snack in my bag for those moments. I learnt that early on….🤔. Even now, when he’s out with his girl friend, she knows that he gets hangry so she now carries a snack in her bag! I’ve passed the snack baton that is a banana…
5. Clothes are important
We think that what our children will wear will be most important for girls. I have a girl and a boy and I am honestly say that clothes have always been very, very important to my son. Whether it was his Batman pants or his red T-shirt with the Digger on, clothes were, and are, important. I’ve learnt that does it really matter if your son spends his life dressed up as a Jedi or Snow White? Those clothes are as important to our boys as they are to our girls.
Obviously, these tips are a bit of fun. Parenting children has the same challenges and moments of laughter whether you have boys or girls. These are based upon my own experiences as both a mum and a teacher of young children. I have also taught the boy who spent his entire Reception year in a wedding dress, the girl who climbs to the top of the climbing frame everyday for the entire summer term and the boys who explains, very eloquently about his feelings about a new film he’s watched. But sometimes tips can be useful and funny! If you are a parent of little boys, I hope you can relate to some of these.