I came across two old blog questions the other day about raising a boy. How to nurture one son. And also how to build relationships with sons. And they brought back all the memories.
Especially because the other day I got to see my one son (and the whole Utah crew too). I got to hug him up and see his slow smile again and his delight in his baby (oh he is the best dad in the whole wide world).
After we left him, Dave and I were marveling at how grown up our one boy is. He is balancing work and school at the same time that he is making time for his wife and new baby. He, the boy who couldn’t save a dime if his life depended on it, has turned into the best saver and investor. Max is now such a hard worker and is even getting so good at answering the phone when I call:)
It hasn’t always been this way. There have been all kinds of ups and downs through the years. But I’m here to give mothers of sons hope in what is to come.
If you are dealing with a tricky teenager (or toddler for that matter!) there is hope! Things are going to get better.
And then worse.
And then better again. Because that’s just how motherhood is, right? We just need to hold on for the ride. But for what it’s worth, here are a few questions and answers from the raising of our one good boy.
Giving that one son some special privileges
Here’s the question that was posed:
I have 3 girls then my only son. He gets left out of everything and hates being the only boy in our whole family, even the rest of family is all girls. So when your kids were little like all under 10 did he feel left out or did you do something special for him??? Any tips would be great.
We give Max a lot of special privileges. It helps that he’s the oldest because that makes it easy for us to let him stay up later than the girls, have friends over longer than the girls, etc. I think that although Max complains about being the only boy a lot (especially lately), he’s actually aware that he’s got it pretty good. I read this question to him and he told me, with a sheepish smile stretched across his face, that the good thing is that he gets to have his own room and his own “things.”
Look for the good
Every once in a while I’ll look over and see Max alone while I’m clamored about by my gaggle of girls needing bows and curling irons and endless attention, and my heart aches for him to have a brother. But honestly I don’t know that he ever feels left out. Since Elle came only 14 months after he did he’s always had a buddy. My heart melted when I read the card he wrote to her for her birthday this year: “You’re like the brother I never had.” All those little sisters adore Max and I love to watch the twinkle in his eye when they do something funny or adorable. He adores them too.
I don’t want to make it sound like it’s all butterflies and rainbows because sure, at times they really, really bug him to the point that he can hardly stand it. And boy howdy he has perfected the art of being a tease. But we make the most of it and I think we’ll all survive 🙂
Point out the good things
Having your boy as the youngest is a different situation but you can give him some pretty special privileges too. Even if these so called “privileges” include things you’re doing anyway, you can juice them up when you talk to him. And if you do it in front of the girls it will make him feel about ten feet tall. You can tell him things like how lucky he is that he’s the only boy because he gets to________ or _ . Fill in that blank with things he’s doing anyway: have a skateboard, go to a basketball game with his dad, stand up to go to the bathroom (ha!). Anything to make him feel like being different is special.
I think it’s really important to get your girls on board too…have them help you build him up and tell him how cool he is. I hope that helps!
Building a positive relationship with boys
And then a question about fostering positive relationships with boys:
You and Max obviously have a wonderful relationship, which is saying something as he is in those turbulent teen years. I have three boys (4, 3, and 4 months), and I desperately want to build a positive relationship with them, but sometimes I feel like all I do with my older two is nag and scold (I know a lot of that has to do with their ages). What things have you done with Max through the years, particularly his preschool years, to foster and develop the positive relationship you two have?
I think that does have to do with the ages of your boys, but I think it’s so smart to think about this from the time kids are young. And you are very nice to send over that compliment because although our relationship could always use work, I really do work on it.
Good relationships take work
I always remind myself that a great relationship isn’t just going to materialize out of thin air…it has to be nurtured and worked on from the beginning. I went to a conference a while back and took some notes that I think about all the time when pondering how to nurture my relationships with my kids.
Do your Homework
I shared on the blog all those ideas, but the one I love the most that can really be related the most to the preschooler age you asked about is “Do your homework.” Find out what makes them tick even though it will most probably be vastly different from what makes you tick. Take an active interest in what they are interested in. If it’s important to them, make it important to you. I am still working on this and am sorry to report that I still don’t know all the sports teams nor do I have an infatuation with doing back-tucks on the trampoline. It’s a continual process.
Talk side-by-side rather that face-to-face
I have to say that I have changed my mind about #3 from that list though, at least with Max. Our best talks are those that do not include eye contact, or even undivided attention. I have found that Max opens up more when I’m doing something and he can just talk and talk while I listen and work. Good conversations tend come when we are working on something together or driving in the car. (That’s why I justify making cookies together when he gets home from school every now and then…he opens up like a book and I love it.)
Five-facet reviews really help as well. They help Dave and I know exactly what Max (and everyone else) needs and then we can apply that to how we talk and communicate with them.
So there you go: some ideas for nurturing boys.