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Gail Troussoff Marks
Mothers Raising Sons
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Mothers Raising Sons

It is often tempting for moms to fall into the “Hes a boy, what do you expect” mentality when raising their sons. While there are differences between boys and girls, both genders can moderate their behavior and respect others. Boys come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments, as do girls, but boys are generally considered to be more active, aggressive, and physical. There are many active girls and boys, but boys do seem more rough-and-tumble and inclined to enjoy crashing into mats or people.
The mom of four boys suggested this topic and offered some suggestions for raising boys that grow into well-rounded men. “It is a good idea,” she said, “to ask your sons to show courtesy to you by actions such as opening doors and pulling out your chair.” Learning these simple gestures may encourage your son to be respectful and courteous to girls and women as they get older. It also helps foster thoughtfulness in dealing with others of all ages. It is touching and appreciated when children thank teachers or apologize when they have bumped another child.
Mothers have the ability to broaden a boys perspective and can help their sons understand and deal honestly with their emotions. Anger and aggression seem to ignite more quickly in boys than in girls, and boys often respond by acting out physically. Turning those situations into teachable moments can help boys develop strategies to deal with those responses in a more positive manner. Beginning to learn those skills at a young age is much easier than changing an adolescents behavior. Boys have fears, too and are timid about learning some skills, so encouragement and empathy are needed.
Keeping boys active and involved in sports, projects and crafts, church, and community service helps build a grounded person. Individual sports can be of as much value as team sports. Particularly for boys, it is important that they learn that competitiveness does not have to mean winning. The value of participation in a sport is much greater than just coming home with a win. Needing to win at any cost does little to build strong interpersonal skills.
Some other advice offered was to teach sons household chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. This gives them the experience to be helpmates rather than liabilities later on in their own homes. Working or volunteering in a nursing home, being a camp counselor or taking a child development class in high school can help develop skills that young men can call on later when raising their own children or dealing with family commitments. Those abilities will win bonus points for your sons later with girlfriends and wives.
In our media-driven, hi tech, and fast paced society emphasis on thoughtfulness towards fellow humans can get left behind. That is why mothers need to teach empathy and thoughtfulness. Boys need help learning control instead of having behavior brushed off with a shrug and “Hes a boy, what can I do”. Mothers can teach their sons to walk away or talk rather than hit or lash out verbally when their emotions are stirred up. These skills will help sons grow into well-rounded men who can contribute in many ways to society.

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