5 THINGS ABOUT BOYS
(I learnt from Maggie Dent)
The other night I went to a seminar called BOYS, BOYS, BOYS! I'd wanted to see Maggie Dent speak for a while and this seemed to be a perfect opportunity. I was looking for someone to help me understand my boy. I think I have a good relationship with Lucas, but sometimes I shake my head not knowing what he's doing or why, and on some days I think I reprimand too often. I don't want to break his spirit, but he also has to learn life lessons.
Am I doing it right? It's always good to learn more about kids, and people in general. So off I went.
It was a hugely illuminating session, the sort where you jot down things to remember and where you continue to think about, and talk about, some of the things days later. In the two hour session I spent many a time laughing or looking to my friend (the gorgeous Chrissie from @ChrissieChaostoCalm ) and going 'Oh, yeah that makes sense!'
Here are my favourite lessons, in my own words (sorry if I have messed up your message Maggie). Please go to the source and stalk Maggie yourself -HERE- if these resonate with you, or if you don't understand my ramblings.
Oh - and before I start - the first thing I loved was that Maggie clearly started with the idea that ...
In discussing boys and how they work we are in no way undermining girls. All kids should be loved and cherished.
It's a point I try to promote all the time. Just because we are here for boys does not mean that we are not also interested in and adore girls. Boys are a little bit different to girls....they process things differently, and as a Mum I needed some help deciphering their actions.
Here are the 5 things I learnt, that I am thinking about a few days later.
1. Boys forget we love them
When you tell you boy off, or he gets in trouble...he thinks you don't love him anymore! EEEK no! Well actually...yes! Now that I think about it I can see this also applies to the big boy (man) in our household.
When you reprimand or correct behaviour always be sure that you remind them that you love them. And remind them, and remind them again. (They also have terrible memories!) Let them know that you don't like the behaviour, but you still love them.
2. Boys need positive role models
Provide positive roll models for your boy. The bit about this that I love is that it's not just about a great dad, or uncle Ben or the teacher who he adores. They are important, but we also need to look to the community. We need to surround our boys with positive role models out in the world. Show them the guys that are gentle and giving and good in the world.
Search out the positive news stories and men who are doing well in their fields and share them with your son. We hear so many bad things about stupid or mean men, we need to balance that with good news and positive influences. Maybe mention at dinner about how a man helped his family escape a fire. Or a local hero who won the Birdman Rally. Sam Johnson is a fabulous positive role model and Lucas and I talk about what he's doing all the time. (check out Love Your Sister)
3. Boys don't listen!
Well I know that already. Frustrating isn't it! So the bit I learnt about this was when she explained it's not that they do it on purpose...it's just that they are singularly focused and they are not focused on you.
I have fought with the head mechanic for years about him not listening...maybe it's time to accept he just doesn't work that way. With little boys you can try to tickle them or touch their hand, and then tell them the news you need them to hear. The good thing is that when they are focused on you - you have all their focus. Now that's special.
Also - don't tell them a lot at once, they get lost after topic one.
4. They aren't as tough as we think
Boys are sometimes loud and full of energy, and get bruises, climb trees and are risk takers - so we think that they are tough. The truth is that they aren't as tough as they act. Inside they are gentle and we need to nurture and protect that.
Boys need to know that it's OK to cry when it hurts (physically and emotionally), they need help to understand their emotions and how to deal with them. It's important that we give them a safe space to tell us what they think without judgement. Remember - Boys hate judgement - back to point #1.
5. Spoken words don't mean as much as actions
OK - this is not to say that you can say anything to a boy, we just learnt that they aren't as as tough as we think, so we need to be nice when we talk to them. This point is more about the idea that boys communicate more by DOING things instead of saying things. (hence why men talk less!) Maggie introduced me to something she calls love bridges. You know when you put a sneaky chocolate biscuit in with their lunch, or you write a little note an put it on their pillow which says - Love you to bits!
These love bridges can be micro moments - not days or hours that we need to schedule, more like little snippets in the day where the boys are getting that positive feedback and connection with you. Even a wink or a thumbs up when you head out the door.
Heading out on a school night and battling peak hour traffic was so worth the time and effort. It was an entertaining night, lots of laugher, aawwww's, and I had tears at one point, as did a few around me. Some great examples and such down to earth suggestions. These 5 tips are just a few of the things I took away and really reminded me that Lucas works differently to me on a basic level. (and I learnt so much about the head mechanic too - which was a huge bonus!)
This is not sponsored, but as owner of a shop full of boys toys and a Mum of a little guy - I think the more we can learn about our strange little beings the better.
Maggie Dent has a range of resources that you can browse online, or books to help you to understand the minds of the boys in your life. I highly recommend going to a seminar if you can.