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Thoughts on Parenting : Raising Boys

7 April 2006

These last few weeks, I’ve been going to a parenting workshop entitled, “Raising Boys”. It didn’t click when I put my name down, but parts of the course was based on the very popular book, Raising Boys, by Steve Biddulph. Which I have heard about, but haven’t read yet.

Usually, I’m someone who would much rather buy the book, read it at my own pace, spend ages thinking and circling points and chatting about it to someone else…. than to go to a WORKSHOP. Pay money for a 3 hour lecture? Do WORKSHOPY things like group discussions and role playing? Sheesh, who’s got time for THAT?

However, the story goes… my aunt does some volunteer work for a small community group, that (basically) provides a one-to-one home service for parents who need help or advice about anything to do with parenting. They’ll pop in, share a cup of tea, get to know you and the kids, listen to your difficulties or questions, give you suggestions and advice, come back next week to see how things are going… for free! Like super nannies! It sounded amazing! Anyway, she told me about the course, and I signed up.

So far it’s been excellent! I’ve learnt so much and there’s no way I can write it all down. But here are some stuff that stuck in my head :

Apparently, when a baby boy is born, he has the same amount of testosterone as a 12 year old boy! The testosterone levels will settle down, but will peak again around 3-4 years. It keeps going up and down, and by the age of 11-14 it will rise by 800%.

The surge in testosterone slows down connections to the language part of the brain, makes them more muscular, active, restless, argumentative, act first, disorganised, prone to separation anxiety, need to have clear set of rules. (Nice to keep these things in mind whenever my son whacks another kid.)

When boys are play-wrestling with each other (or with dad) they are actually learning about their bodies, strength, and limits. You should encourage it!

From the age 6-13 boys are learning how to be male. They start to “lock onto Dad” to study how to act, talk, and be a man. That window of time is the biggest opportunity for fathers to have an influence on their sons.

If boys don’t have a strong male role model at that time, they will usually find one for themselves – sporting heros, super heros, musicians, celebrities, teachers, uncles.

And a really nice tip I overheard in a side discussion – When asked about what they did at school, many boys tend to answer “Hrmph, nothing”. If you want your boys to talk to you, you have to teach them by doing it yourself. Start them young! Try a one-on-one game at bedtime called “Talk about your day” List a good thing. A bad thing. And a funny thing. (Callum loves it so far.)