Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mommy, Let's play PUNCH!

Image found, yeah, flickr. I have no idea who this child is. (But hypothetically this may have occurred while the amateur photographer was trying to get her settings right, not really paying attention to her child and his destructive behaviors. Hypothetically.)

Parenting topic numero dos: Boys, Boys, Boys. This is a post for all 3 of you that have a boy besides me. Okay seriously, I know oodles of families with boys but they are either not Eliot’s age or not in our daily-life-social-circles. Eliot is constantly surrounded by girls. It has ALWAYS been this way. I pin the fact that he didn’t learn to crawl “on-time” because little girls kept bringing him all his toys. At church on Sunday I looked over at him just in time to see a girl feeding him a grape. Seriously. But that’s a whole other issue.

Focus, people. Squirrel!

This child-o-mine can be described in verbs at this stage. Verbs that don’t sound very nice. Punch, throw, kick, climb, etc.

Boys are different than girls. Parenting him feels different than watching my friends parent their little girls. It *sometimes* makes me wonder if he has issues. But then I remember he’s a boy. He pokes me in the eye to show me affection. He points out cute penguins to tell me that they just "tooted."

But that’s a slippery slope. The day I mutter the words, “He just has a lot of energy…” will be a bad day. A very bad day filled with dairy and shoe shopping. And I shall die on that hill. Maybe I’m jaded to that excuse from teaching because in my mind, "kids with no discipline at home" is the synonym for “having a lot of energy.” So it's the balance of consistent discipline vs letting a boy be a boy that we're trying to figure out here.

(oops, how did that get in there? weird.)

I’m currently in search of a good book on parenting boys. Not necessarily because I think we’re doing a bad job, mainly because we’ve frankly never done it before. We don't have a problem with him sneaking ants in the house and whatnot. I am prepared for (more) stitches and broken glass, etc. Again, it's the balance between that and for-the-love-of-dairy-please-stop-kicking-the-dishwasher!

facebook status once joked something about toddlers being bipolar. Parenting boys makes me feel bipolar. Within minutes I want to squeeze him because he's driving me batty and the next because he's so flippin' sweet. That's probably not specific to boys, actually. I think parenting was designed to make you feel that way.

Keep in mind, while I look forward to braiding a little girl's hair and shopping and painting nails, etc. I absolutely love the essence of 'boy'! As a teacher, I preferred a room of boys, so much less drama. I love adventure. I just need some ideas on how to keep the adventure from becoming a behavior issue. Make sense? I feel foggy.

So, parenting a boy: where should our expectations be? Still trying to figure that out. Tips? Stories? Encouragements? Book recommendations? Judgements? Comments = open forum. Go for it.


erin said...

Hmmm, I think I saw that little girl feeding him grapes too :). I read "Don't Make Me Count To Three" by Ginger Plowman. Its not specifically about boys but I really like a lot of what she says and find that it does work well.

heather said...

Can I just repost my last comment on here too? (the shoe part too... can't get those out of my head) Thanks for writing this Katie.

I was JUST having this conversation with a friend yesterday... talking about the difference in our firstborns' vs. seconds' personalities, specifically the energy levels, physical levels and lately anger management. The stuff we wrestled with is how much is "different personalities", "boy vs. girl", and just plain Issues. Do we even need to know where it's coming from or do we simply focus on how do we channel the aggression and the physical to where it's released in healthy and constructive ways. LOTS to wrestle with. Especially with the upside-downness of our particular life lately.
I've yet to read any specific parenting boys books although Dobson's Bringing Up Boys has always been on my list. Be sure and pass on any other good ones you find!

And also-- I so wish we lived closer as I know El and Sawyer would have been fast friends... all about the sports and the stuff despite being surrounded by nothing but girls.
When we lived in MI all our friends had boys Sawyer's age... (when they were babies!!) and absolutely no girls for Savannah. Now here for the past three years we have had nothing but girls... and I mean NO ONE! Sawyer's two best friends are girls and every single friend of Savannah's has... you guessed it, little sisters.
I'm really praying for families with a good mix of genders when we move this time!!

K.M.L said...

Thanks for posting this Katie. I'm always on the lookout for books especially about raising boys since I have NO idea!

Here is a list of books that I've come across but haven't read I have no idea if they are good or not. I will probably be checking a few out from the library though. :) Some of the reviews of the books below from amazon are pretty good.

Raising Boys: Why Boys Are Different - and How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-Balanced Men by Steve Biddulph

It's a Boy!: Your Son's Development from Birth to Age 18 by
Michael Thompson Ph.D.

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by
Dan Kindlon

Wild Things: The art of nurturing boys by stephen james (this book has boys in capes on the cover!) supercute!

Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons by
Meg Meeker

Jack said...

Thanks for this post Katie and let me tell you our household sounds very familiar to the Mohr household! Seriously boys are so different than girls and most of Jack's friends are girls! We did have a recent playdate with a little boy from his preschool and let me tell you it was WILD!! Of course my husband says they are just boys that's how they play! Let me know if you find any good books!
Nancy (Julie's Sister)

Laura Stern said...

My mother in law swears by the book "sheperding a child's heart" by tedd tripp. I just got it so I can't tell you how amazing it is yet. Just a thought :)

Oh and your blog posts always make me laugh. You are such a good writer!

Chrissy said...

Ok. I've been thinking about this. You know that our house is nutso approximately 22.4 hours a day and the majority of that chaos is caused by 5 boys. We've made a conscience effort to let them be boys. The line, however, is drawn when they become willfully disobedient. Were you told not to play basketball in the living room? Yes? Then you are in time out (or whatever). Did you accidentally break the window when you were swatting a fly (which actually happened)? Ok, then just don't do it again. Does that make sense? Our rules revolve around being respectful. We don't hurt each other or our animals. We don't do anything that is destructive to the house (obviously...things happen. But, my boys run in the house, they ride their scooters in the basement, when Mom isn't in the room they have farting contests...
I did read "bringing up boys" and the main thing I got from that book is to quit emasculating our boys. Let them grow up to be men. (I could go on and on and on....)

Sara D. said...

I don't really have many good book recommendations for boys, but I did read "How to Really Love your Child" a few years ago and it was awesome. I didn't read it specifically with boys in mind, but I know it will have some great insights. These days I am only reading things involving Motley Crue...

You know, my theories on raising boys are a little different, because I had a girl first, and my most wild child boy is our 4th. That kid can practically set the house on fire, because I have relaxed on a lot of things with each successive child. Now, violence for us is never okay, BUT, I am working REALLY hard to let most things go. Because most of what I focus on is behavioral verses character. I am GUILTY of focusing on appearances, so its foreign for me to just let them be, when they are not being intentionally harmful. I don't think I'm being naieve when I say that mine are not mean or aggressive kids...sometimes stuff just happens, and I am learning that grace is REALLY hard to give :) However, with Grace, I poured SO MUCH energy into molding her behavior that she is so timid and afraid to doing anything wrong...whoops. I know that's not really all that helpful, but honestly, I am winging it and TRYING to make it possible for them to make mistakes and not try to run and hide it from me.

Erin said...

yeah, talk to Chrissy or Sheri Ferris. They've both got multiple boys and seem to have a handle on the chaos that comes with sons. (Emphasis on the chaos, of course!)

This nanny's got nothin'. Boys are crazy.

But this step-momma of a girl also knows that's a WHOLE 'NOTHER ball of wax. I bet you never have to put teeeensy tiiiiny shoes on a doll, do you?

amy said...

oh boy, raising a boy is different. and easier. and hard. Luke is sandwiched between 2 girls which makes me *think* he is softer but then he enters a room and wrestles one of them to the ground OR pokes, pokes, pokes his sister til she gets upset and wrestles with him. it seems that his boy nature is oozing out everywhere we go.

we are careful to follow 3 simple rules (from Adriane) 1. show love 2. be respectful 3. no lying.

most "offenses", that really are "offenses", fall in one of those 3 categories. otherwise we let Luke be Luke.

that has been really helpful for us.

we also read Wild at Heart. it's not about raising boys but about understanding them.

Oh and I do like Shepherding a Child's Heart!