What Elementary Age Boys Need Most from Their Parents.
Since I am knee-deep in podcasting and book launching this summer, I decided it would be a good time to re-share some of my most popular posts from all of my blogging years! Most summers I have spent some time re-sharing older posts, but I saved the very best posts for now…Which means it’s been nearly FIVE YEARS since I’ve shared most of the posts I will be updating this summer.
Today I am starting with my Elementary-Age post…Perhaps the most important one — because it’s where it all begins. The middle school and teenage years all (ideally) build on the earlier years. This post has been shared nearly 300,000 times (three hundred thousand!? — what!?) so I suppose it has resonated with a lot of people..
Whether you’re reading for the first time or revisiting this post, I hope you enjoy. Please consider sharing it with your friends as well!
What an Elementary Age Boys Need Most from Their Parents
As most of you know, I love my teen boys, and the glimpses of manhood mixed with occasional remnants of boyhood that I see in them. The teens years are what I call my reward for all of the hard work that came in the younger years.
So, what about those younger years? Many people have commented and emailed asking “What are some things you suggest we do BEFORE they are teens?”
A good question indeed.
Because really, if you haven’t built a relationship of love and respect with your son when he is young, everything will be much harder when they hit their teenage years.
So, let’s dive in to the earlier years…One stage at a time.
Today we look at the Elementary years.
***For the sake of non-US citizens and us home school families who never know what grade we are in: “elementary years” refer to the ages of approximately 5 to 11 years old. :)***
The Elementary years can be such a sweet season, full of imagination, laughter, snuggles, and questions…a lot of questions. Major bonding occurs during the Elementary years, and most of us will miss these innocent childhood years when they are gone.
However, as far as our role as Mom and Dad go during the Elementary years…It’s a big job. Hold on tight:
Because…If parenting in the teenage years bring to my mind thoughts of mutual respect, shared humor, and expanding freedoms, I would have to define parenting in the elementary years with things like teaching respect, training in character, and not giving a whole heck of a lot of freedom.
(See why I started with the teenage years? A bit more fun, right? )
But the point I want to make is: The reason parenting in the teenage years CAN BE so much fun, is because we have trained up boys in the younger years who are now truly pleasant to live with. We have done the work. Sure, there are personalities to take into consideration, and there is never a guarantee with kids, but I think as a general rule: If you put in the work when they are young, you’ll reap the rewards as they grow up.
It’s not that the Elementary years can’t be fun…every stage can and should be fun! But the elementary years are the most important years to focus on discipline, character, and instruction. Lots of instruction. In fact, instruction seems to be woven into everything we do when our kids are young. We give instruction on how to speak, how to listen, how to look a person in the eyes, how to answer the phone…It’s all of the stuff of daily life, but if we teach it when they’re young, it will stick.
So, here is a list of things that come to mind when I consider…
quick note: This list may very well apply to girls as well as boys. As a mom of four boys (and no girls,) I have kept it boy-focused, but if you find this helpful for your daughters–I am thrilled!
1. Teach him restraint:
One of the most important skills you can teach your son is to accept a “no” with a submissive and content heart. Sometimes it’s just “no” to a momentary want, and sometimes it is “no” to something that most of the other kids have, and you don’t believe they need. (cell phones, video games, etc.) When kids are allowed to have things that are more age-appropriate for teenagers, then they have very little to look forward to as teens. In turn, they grow into teenagers who think they need the “next thing,” and you can see the dangerous pattern here…There is a season for everything, and when they are young, we say no to a LOT.
2. Keep him close.
Not in a dysfunctional or self-serving way, but in a healthy family-first way. Time with friends is great, especially if they are good kids who will have a good influence on your child, but there is no better place for your kids to spend the majority of their time than with their own family. From a young age make the home a positive place, and when you are there, have fun and talk about everything. This forms a very natural mentorship which will mold and shape your son’s values and attitude for the rest of his life.
3. Help him choose good friends.
Help guide your son to choose the kinds of friends that he will spend time with. Too often, out of insecurity or shyness, a child will be drawn to the most accepting crowd. And we all know that sometimes the most accepting crowd is not a good one. Teach your son how to pick friends, and what a good friend is, and is not. Talk to him about their friends, and get to know his friends. Let him know that sometimes it takes patience to find a really good friend, and hanging out with mom and dad is not all bad either.
4. Help him develop interests/hobbies.
Some kids are naturally inquisitive and will want to learn everything about everything. They do sports, want to play a musical instrument (or three,) and could entertain themselves for hours studying insects, or building a lego universe. Other kids seem to find almost nothing interesting, and give a mere nod to the things the other kids find fascinating. (these kids might be most drawn to video games, etc.) I have found that if you continue to introduce your son to new things, something will eventually click. Don’t give up. Besides sports and musical instruments, my boys have hobbies that range from studying rocks and minerals, to birding, to graphic design. With the internet at your fingertips, kids have the whole universe to discover. Let them dive in. (with appropriate supervision/filters, of course.)
Side note: Though I am not totally anti-video games, I do think that there ought to be serious limits, and having interests and hobbies can make this a lot easier!
5. Stretch him:
Boys need to be stretched. They need to overcome fears, accomplish goals, and yes…fall down and scratch some knees. (or in our case, break some bones.) This is good. This is also a great role for dad or another male figure to play in your boy’s life. I remember a time when my oldest was just getting into surfing, and as much as he loved it, he would confide in me that he was scared when he went surfing in some of the waves his dad was taking him to. After checking with my husband who assured me they were absolutely safe, and talking to a few friends who would give me objective advice, I decided not to intervene. I had to trust my husband, and believe that this “stretching” would develop my boy into a stronger man.
Encourage your boys to try things. To jump off high places. Let them fail. Let them try out for teams, and not get chosen. Let them tremble, and teach them how to handle their feelings when they are afraid.
6. Give him work:
Boys need to work. They need responsibilities, and accountability. They need to realize that they are depended on by the family for things that simply will not get done if they neglect to do them.
At some point it is a good idea to offer them work that they will be paid for. This is how they will learn to manage money, and will also help them transition into their teen years realizing that an hour of their day could be wasted carelessly, or used to work and save for things that they really want. (a video on how our chore system works, here.)
If your boys grows up embracing a good work ethic, they will go into their teenage years with more self confidence, and greater usefulness wherever they are. My teenagers would never ever admit to being “bored” at home because they know that will only get them a new chore to do. 🙂
7. Teach and Model Communication:
Young boys can talk. A lot. And about all kinds of things–from ridiculous made up stories, to the cartoon they just watched, to whatever fleeting thought just went through their head–They want to share ALL OF THE THOUGHTS. It’s so easy to tune them out when they do this, but now and then stop, and really listen. Engage. Ask questions. Make it a habit now and they will trust you and be comfortable sharing with you as they grow up.
A good friend taught me to “Talk about issues before they are issues.“ Bring things up early on, and make it open for conversation. Then when they actually face it, it will be familiar territory. You might talk to them about expectations, prepare them for disappointments, and bring up change before they face the change. (It’s a lot easier prepare them to be a teen when they are 11 than when they are 14. Better to discuss sexual purity before they are actually drowning in hormones.) Open that communication door wide and it will likely stay open well into their teenage years. And far beyond.
I could go on and on, but the list has to stop somewhere. 🙂
Finally, I will add that our faith affects everything we do, including (and especially!) our parenting. We teach our boys about God’s love and grace from a young age, and we keep an open environment for them to ask questions as they work out their own faith. This post could not cover everything, so I stuck with the practical side of parenting…If you are interested in more on the spiritual, perhaps a future post will cover that! 🙂
Your turn! Add to my list, ask me a question, share a story! I love to hear from you!
If you enjoyed this article, you will want to get your hands on my new book, Boy Mom: What your son needs most from you.
Order it now on Amazon: Boy Mom: What Your Son Needs Most from You
AND be sure to check out the BOY MOM PODCAST where I make it my goal to offer practical advice and Biblical wisdom for raising boys in this often crazy world! Find it wherever you listen to podcasts!
Hi from Denver. Can you give some advice about how to teach restraint and compliance when you say no? I understand why it’s important, but have a hard time knowing how to implement this with a 7 and 10 year old. thoughts? Thankful for all your resources. a direct answer to prayer over here :). Can you also speak to finding other christian families and good friends for your kids? where do you look ? I feel like we don’t know anyone in our school or athletics or even our young church with kids our age who love Jesus. How do we find others?~
Why did you have to mention the faith part ? Now I trust nothing you say.
That’s too bad. Faith is the reason I am who I am today. God is the One who gave me kids and my very life. It’s all from Him and I am so grateful for His grace each day.
I have a 9 year old who sort of hates me because I’m always the one pushing him to do things on time. I haven’t been able to convey the importance of scheduling to him and as my first born he’s been able to get away with the most. He’s a great kid, smart, intelligent and funny but he’s so critical of me. Last week he made a monster caricature of me with a dialogue bubble of all my nagging. It is nagging because if I don’t we’re late for everything. I hate being the bad cop, but I have 2 other kids – one’s easy going and the other in remission at 4. I try to be a good parent but I lose it at him more times than I’d like. It’s like living with a very small mother in law. Most nights I go to bed feeling horribly guilty and it’s chipping away at me. What can I do to show him that I’m actually nuts about him and want what’s best for him? I know he loves me but he never sees the good in me just the overbearing parent. Help.
Amazing, insightful article.
Thanks, Thanks, Thanks …
I shared and printed it to read it with my husband (he doesn’t read, only technical manuals, or “ends-of times” fake articles 🙂 …).
Great way to explain to my husband what I been trying to say the past 5 years 🙂 (a prove that I am not great communicator 🙂 ).
I am so grateful for your posts. Thank you for your insight and support. You truly make a difference.
Thank you!! 🙂 So happy to hear that!
Thank you, Monica! We have 3 boys and love your guidance!
OH thank you so much Sondra!! Blessings to you and your boy crew!! aloha-
Hi! How/when did you talk about sex to your boys? Is there an easy way to bring this up? My son is 8 so a few more years and his hormones are expected to go haywire.
Hi Christie! Great question. I should probably write a post to address this specifically, but this post does touch on that: https://monicaswanson.com/what-you-should-do-before-your-son-starts-puberty/ Hope something in there helps! 😉 Much aloha (And don’t worry about the haywire hormones…It doesn’t have to be that bad!! We’ve been through it 3 times and it has not been anything like people want you to think. ) Stay positive, you’ve got this!
Thank you. Both my husband and I are very type A and my husband is a very tough mainly man type of guy who believes boys should wake up wanting and begging to play sports everyday. My son on the other hand doesn’t have the same motivation and if let to his own devices would play video games all day. Since I work from home and have two other kids to deal with, the video games have been a crutch for me to get some time, but reading through your article has give me some insight to things that need to change.
Those are great tips, thank you for sharing….I’m pretty much a single mom to a 7yr old boy. His dad is in and out of our lives and that has hindered my Son in excelling in sports, he’s great academically but sports hasn’t been a big part, yet. The problem has been with his making friends. He’s had a hard time with that. You see, I have an 18 yr old daughter too, and she and I have pretty much raised my son into this loving well mannered respectful boy. The problem is we gave him too much love and he was in for a rude awaking in public school, he approached new kids with kindness only to have them be rude or mean to him, now we’ve really struggled with this…I have for sure. Especially when so many kids at a very young age know how to say and do some very cruel things, I witnessed a kid spit in my sons face and I put that boy in his place immediately but couldn’t believe where these kids learn such negative behavior? I’m struggling right now. I don’t know if showering my son with love was the way to go or should I have been teaching him boxing lessons, which is where the lack of his fathers parenting really has an affect as well. Any suggestions on feeling so out of place at school. What else am I lacking here??
I just wanted to add that having a father is nice, but may not have been the solution here and you’re doing an amazing job as a single mom. I feel that my son too gets walked on at school and has such a soft heart. He just wants to be everyone’s friend, but my husband sees him as weak and a push over and not living up to the aggressive man that he is. So, my point even when there is a dad in a boys life he may not be all the glory that we believe and your job as mom is the right fit!
I am going through the same issue! glad im not alone. My older son is 20!
I refer back to these posts all the time. Thank you! I have three boys, two are elementary age, and I’m wondering if you have any posts on faith formation at this age? When do they start making their faith their own? When should family devotions turn into individual devotions? Also, do you have any resources or ideas about “understanding” your kids? My 8 year old is a complete enigma to me. I love him so much, but I don’t understand how his mind works, what motivates him, and why we disagree so much. My decisions and methods seem to bring him to frustrated tears way too often, and I don’t know why! He and I are so different. I’m desperate to work on this, and don’t know where to start!! Any advice or resources to recommend?
Becky from Michigan
Hello my name is Sierra I have a six year old son, Josiah. I love this article it is the best one I have ever read and it really really makes sense thank you for sharing!! His father and I are not together and he has barely been in his life. I have been dating someone for a year now and Josiah has said he considers him part of our family. Should I be concerned with what might happen say if my boyfriend and I don’t work out? I have always been worried and troubled when it comes to this subject.
Also do you have any guide on how to organize a child’s room so they are more enticed to play with all the toys they have? Thank you so much☺️
Separate the behavior from the person
A little boy had gotten in trouble
and was put in time out
With tears streaming don his face, shouted to his Mother
YOU DON’T LOVE ME
Whereas the Mother gently kneeled by her son and said
“You’re wrong son. I may not like all of your behaviors,
but I’ll always love you.
I always encourage parents to let your kids know they can talk to you about anything and you won’t be angry for them telling you. You might be disappointed. They might have consequences, but you won’t be mad.
This has worked really well in building honesty and openness with my grandson and my daughter before him.
These are excellent points. The one area I want to caution on is gender roles: our sons AND daughters need to see their Moms taking risks, failing, and trying again. This will help our children choose not only healthy friends, but also healthy life partners. Mom and Dad need to do ALL of this together, including helping our sons discover their interests. For example, I am a civil engineer. I am helping my son discover his passion for large-scale modeling projects (whether legos or Minecraft). My husband is a computer scientist, he is helping our son explore his interests in building computers and programming. We all do sports and the arts together. The Lord has blessed us with many talents, we need to empower each other to share them with our children – even when they don’t follow “gender norms”. Our kids need to know, see, and experience that is OK.
I am a mom of two young boys I really enjoyed reading your post.
thank you!! I appreciate you taking the time to comment! 🙂 All the best, and Aloha–
Great post! Think it applies to girls as well as boys, so not sure why the title. Perhaps you just have boys.
Make sure they know how to keep a house clean, take part in the day to day, such as dishes, dusting, bathrooms, and how to do their own laundry. When they’re out on their own, it will be a huge shock if they’ve not been brought up to know the necessary mundane things that keep a home safe and healthy.
Hi Monica I live in a situation which may not be as unique / difficult as I am currently making it but I am a “baby” Christian and my husband is not our children are 9 and 5 I have recently noticed a change with in the last 6 months in our son with his attitude, who was initially in a private Catholic school before changing to a small Christian school. I have anger and argument with everything lately I understand where he is coming from he had more “freedom” to watch TV or play video games (the video games we limited but honestly the TV has been not) so with such changes of course there will be resistance I want to adopt your chore plan and money management into our home, yet we have long days out by 6:30am should I start with less responsibilities and then add to it ? Can you offer a suggestion on how to introduce that, also I have asked him multiple times to try different activities he says no to everything should I give him two choices and tell him he has to pick one? I understand there are no fool proof methods to raising a child and what ever suggestions you make are just that 😉
SO excited/stoked on this website. I am a homeschooling mother of 4 boys and 1 daughter… Some days I feel alone but your website is really encouraging. Love your vision and attitude/love towards your boys. My kids are younger than yours so it’s awesome to see someone a few steps ahead! Thanks for sharing.
Yay, thank you Briana! And oh my…You said 4 boys and 1 daughter…That kinda kills me! 🙂 I want a daughter!! 🙂
Much aloha to you- so glad you came by!! xo
Plz guide how to get over my 6. 5 years old son from his bad dreams after watching his favorite tv shows like cid.
I loved this post and just discovered you today through FB.
I am in uncharted waters with a 9yr old son who is the baby and only boy of my 3 children. Up to this point he’s been fun and adorable but this year, 3rd grade has brought out a side of him I have feared: the gross, obnoxious, dabbling in disrespect type. We have lots of training to continue with him and spiritual maturity that needs to develop. I’ve felt a bit discouraged about the stage he is in over the last few months but thank you for the encouraging words that it will get easier (if we do the work) and sweeter again. I love having a son after two girls and I really want to “get it right” so to speak. So glad I found your blog!
Thank you Alisha! So glad you found me (And please let me know where you saw my post on Facebook–I love to know who shares! :)) Be encouraged–You’ll do just fine. Some amount of gross humor is going to be normal with boys (for example, fart jokes are just part of boyhood.:)) But yes, clear expectations on what is and isn’t ok for your family is important. Regular communication about what he might find at school or “outside” the house and why that isn’t ok will help in this process. Also as much time as possible with people and in places that share your values. Hang in there and you’ll do great!!
I agree with all your points. The problem I am encountering is that my boys’ father just can’t STOP buying and buying and buying. They are 8 and 11, and just received their very OWN laptops. I am trying to manage screen time and then he did this. What is he going to buy them when they are a little older when he sets a presidence like this?
Hard to be the “no” parent when they have the “yes” one too.
A wonderful list! I completely agree. Developing a close relationship with your child from a young age always pays off. I always try to show my kids that even though I have to discipline them its not because I want to be mean to them, its because I love them & want them to grow up & be who God wants them to be. My job is to train them in the way they should go and I know that means I have to be there along the way. I can’t check out & hope they reach the destination they need to arrive at.
I’ve been a single mom for about 7ys. My son is almost 14 and my daughter is 10. They are good kids, respectful, kind, thoughtful and loving. Their father isn’t really involved. As my son is developing he hasn’t had the typical sports/male bonds. My focus has been on providing and now that I’m financially able to spend more time at home, I’m afraid I missed the developmental window for him to have those sports bonds. He’s at a beginner level and other boys his age have been apart of a team since the age of 5. Suggestions? Recommendations?
Oh Gladie–Bless your heart. I actually do relate to this one, because raising my kids in Hawaii (and homeschooling,) it occurred to me not too long ago that my boys had not been even introduced to a lot of the mainstream sports. Sure they know how to surf and skate, but if they were thrown into a baseball game I was terrified that they might have no clue! 🙂
You are NOT too late at all! I would recommend spending a little time online looking for basic videos to introduce your son…Maybe youtube or “how to” kind of things. Once he sees others doing sports and knows the basics, maybe you could find a YMCA or rec. center that offers more casual sporting opportunities. If you are comfortable doing it, I would get outside with him (bring your daughter too!…and a friend or grandparent if you can!) and practice throwing or kicking or batting…Just get him out there. When he is ready to try out for a school or community team, just let him know that it’s ok if he isn’t up to speed with the other kids. You can tell the coaches that he is a beginner but willing to learn. Better now than later! 🙂 All the best to you, and bless you for being a great mom!!
“Too often, out of insecurity or shyness, a child will be drawn to the most accepting crowd. And we all know that sometimes the most accepting crowd is not a good one.”
Could you elaborate on this? I’m having trouble with this idea because I tell my 8 year old son that it’s important to accept people as they are and that he should be who exactly who HE is, and a good friend will appreciate him for that. These two sentences of yours make it sound like acceptance is NOT a good thing to look for in a friend? I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this. Thanks!
Thank you for commenting, Jake. Maybe I should go back and edit that because someone else has also asked about it and I think it came across wrong! 😉 What I was referring to was how sometimes kids who are bad influences find ways to welcome in a kid who seems out of place. They encourage them to try smoking, or drugs or anything to “fit in.” I should clarify that because yes–sometimes the kind and good kids are also very accepting! Your advice to your 8 yr. old sounds very sound. Keep it up! (and I’m really glad you asked!)
i have an 11 year old son, I have 4 grown daughters. I have not done a very good with my son so far, I relied on my husband to handle the (boy) talks and he has to much freedom. How do I turn it around? (I don’t have much input / help from my husband. It is so hard to try and go backwards. I wish I had known or read your articles years ago.
Parenting alone in 2 parent household,
Oh Jeanna, I’m so sorry. First of all, I would highly recommend you find a way to communicate with your husband and do what you can to be on the same page (counseling perhaps?) Even if he does not do what you think is his fair share, perhaps you can come to a compromise that is reasonable…Next I would honestly sit your son down and have an honest chat. Let him know how much you love him and what your concerns are. Find some areas that you are certain he has too much freedom, and let him know that you will have to go a bit backwards–out of love–and he may not like it but he will have to accept it. If you keep building the relationship, you can hope that he will understand your heart is for his good. If your husband is still not on board, perhaps a local youth leader or friend could step in and help out in this area. ? Most of all pray a lot and keep firm. you are not there to be your son’s friend but his mother, and you will never regret protecting him from things that are beyond his years.
Hang in there and thank you for the honest comment. I will have more articles along these line in the future so do stick around! ALoha-
Great advice. The only thing I would add is to #3 and that would be to also teach out children how to BE a good friend as well. We just finished up our VBS and it was in Proverbs and one day was on walking with the wise and I kept thinking how important it is to teach the children to be wise, be a good friend, because in the end we are accountable for ourselves only.
I have four kids and am struggling with my son, age 8 and the third-born, quite a bit when it comes to accepting a “no”. I struggle with him more than any other. He’ll often lash out in anger or refuse to accept it without an adequate reason.
Tips on helping a boy process the “no” in his life?
Thanks for commenting, Sara. Good question. With four kids, you’re bound to have one really challenge you like this. :).
I think that if in a good moment you can clearly communicate the problem his behavior is causing, and set some goals with him for working to change things (knowing it won’t happen perfectly all at once, so planning to even reward improvements a bit at a time,) you’ll have a good first step. Then be sure to follow through and give consequences for each time he might argue or lash out, and blessings for obedience. Consistency is key (and personally my biggest challenge!) Hang in there–I fel your pain! 🙂 **This post on “when your kid argues about everything,” also might help: https://monicaswanson.com/when-your-kid-argues-about-everything-5-tips/
Thanks for commenting, Sara. Good question. With four kids, you’re bound to have one really challenge you like this. :).
I think that if in a good moment you can clearly communicate the problem his behavior is causing, and set some goals with him for working to change things (knowing it won’t happen perfectly all at once, so planning to even reward improvements a bit at a time,) you’ll have a good first step. Then be sure to follow through and give consequences for each time he might argue or lash out, and blessings for obedience. Consistency is key (and personally my biggest challenge!) Hang in there–I feel your pain! 🙂 **This post on “when your kid argues about everything,” also might help: https://monicaswanson.com/when-your-kid-argues-about-everything-5-tips/
I really enjoyed reading this, and I look forward to scrolling back through previous posts of yours. Thank you for the wisdom and encouragement. I have three boys, 5 yrs and younger, and I find the task overwhelming and often daunting. I truly appreciate practical advice and guidance. Thank you thank you! Blessings on your family 🙂
Absolutely LOVE this! And I would love to know how you raise your boys on the spiritual side of things as well. It is so encouraging to hear of other families raising their children in the Lord!
Great article for raising boys AND girls! From a mother of now 24 year old boy/girl twins, I would like to add teaching respect for girls. If boys respect females as a youngster, they will respect women when they are older.
Wow! It does work. I had 2 boys and 1 girl and this is how they were raised. Now in their 30’s all are excited for life and very happy. Good world citizens.
Yay!! I absolutely LOVE to hear this kind of thing! Thank you for the encouragement! 🙂 XO
Love this article. Not that I need to meet any ones expectations but from this. I feel more confident I’m doing a great job.(even if I Question myself sometimes ) lol
We all do! :). And thank you. Keep it up!
My four sons are now 32, 28, 27 and 24. Their childhood was the greatest blessing of my life. Your list is completely accurate. to break your bullet points down further I would say that it is very important that they learn how to properly do laundry, clean a bathroom, run a vacuum and a mop, cook basic meals, change their sheets, paint a room, write a grocery list and shop for it, cut the grass, wash a car and buy their true wants with an allowance based on effort (without being begged to do the tasks) and the quality of the work. I am not saying to turn them into your housekeeper or yard guy. I would boldly underline your item regarding chosing friends. The little, cute, innocent, freckled friend who comes from a great family now can turn into someone in his teen years you would not want influencing your kids. Eat dinner at the table as often as possible with the TV off, no electronic devices and pray before the meal. Give them stability, clear expectations, consistent consequences and rewards.
I met my now husband over 4 yrs ago. He was divorced 2-3 yrs before we met. He has two amazing little boys (6 & 10). Our family situation is different than most divorced families. We have our boys 1 day a week and every other weekend. We plan our weekends ahead of time. From playing at the park, biking, hiking, camping (which our family loves), family gatherings, etc.
Lately, I’ve been noticing our oldest has become distant, non-engaging…only wants to play video games, and does not like to eat anything I make… And only wants to eat what daddy makes. This is becoming frustrating for me… I have a saying I use… If you don’t eat dinner or what’s on your plate than no dessert. I ALWAYS give small portion sizes and if the boys want more then they can have more and they get their dessert because they finish what we first gave them. Make sense? Our youngest, tells me when daddy’s not around and sometimes the oldest will tell me that their mother does not like me and says bad things to them about me and their father. I’ve replied, “well that’s very nice” … “How does that make you feel” and sometimes the boys will tell me and sometimes they won’t.
I make it a routine…When I come home from work, I’ll go around give hugs and kisses and tell them I missed them both, and I love them… And then ask how their day was, or how was school. Did we learn anything new today? And they’ve always told me “no, we can’t tell you.” And when I ask why… They say “my moms says don’t tel you.”
How do I engage in conversations with them both if they won’t open up to me?
Our oldest has told his dad that I’m angry at him and that I hate him… Puzzled by this, I’ve asked my husband “why in the world would he think that?” For the sake of argument…”I NEVER EVER uttered any words at all about hating/disliking him” I do not get it?
He’s changing before my very eyes and I don’t know how to interact with him. It’s like his pushing me away…. Then their are those times when he’ll tell his dad that “I’m more of a mom than my own mom is to me why is that daddy?”. “Maybe he thinks that’s what moms do, because that’s what his mom is doing to them both now? Pushing them away…
I’ve confided in my mom and sisters in how to handle this and they all tell me to keep doing what I’m doing.
Keep it structured–kids love structure, never give into their sad looking faces/eyes (our youngest is famous for that), always listen to what their saying, Keep loving them and being their for them, doing things together with them. Show them you are there and you’re not leaving.
Our oldest is under the impression that daddy left mommy and it won’t be long until daddy leaves me and/or their step-mom.
In addition, our youngest on several occasions has referred to his biological mom as “the other women ” or calls her by her first name. I correct him and say “oh your mom?” And he replies…”ya, that other women…”
He tells me that your my mom, (meaning me) and I say “well honey I’m your step-mom” do you know what a step-mom means? He would tell me his version of it by saying “ya, you” and I tell him…”you have a mommy who loves you very much… ” And he always replies… “No, you’re my mom” it warms my heart to hear him say this but on the other hand I start to wonder why is a 6 yr old dis-associating himself from his own mother? When the boys have to go back to their mothers they fight and argue with their dad that they don’t wanna go back we just wanna stay here with you guys. And they beg and plead. It breaks my heart to see them go. I always go into their rooms grab one of their stuff animals curl up in their beds and nap until their dad gets home.
I hear the stories both boys tell me and its followed by others who know their mom. What the boys say is true…don’t get me wrong their mom does take them to places but the babysitter is always with them. We always asks, “did you boys have fun?” And they respond either yes or no, if yes we always say well that’s all that matters. If no, then we ask why didn’t you have fun? And then they say never mind I don’t wanna talk about it or I can’t tell you…
Any advice you can give to help would so greatly be appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to listen
bravo on the article what elementary age boys need from their parents! I’m excited to see what else you blog along the way, and I’ve already shared this article to a parent that I think will find it very relevant.
i enjoyed and agree with you. I’m a proud grandma of the my daughter and son n law who homeschool our two grandsons. I have seen first hand what you are saying and it is so true and it works. My grandsons are 6 1/2 and eight years old. They are lovely and so enjoyable to be around they’ve been taught manners and respect.
My question for you is how can the grandparents be productive in assisting the parents in rearing their grandchildren. I see how difficult it can be but it’s also so gratifying and takes considerable amount of time and patience.
Thank you and keep up the good work we need more parents like you and my daughter and son-in-law.
God Bless you,
Thank you for the encouraging words Teri! Great question…and maybe a good one for an Ask Monica segment (coming soon,) or its own blog post! 🙂
I do think the grandparent’s role varies family to family and probably is best determined by open communication between parents and grandparents. I think it is easy for any of us to assume someone needs what WE needed when we were in their position, but sometimes if we ask we find out that other’s needs are completely different. If you want to lighten your daughter and son-in-law’s load, you might just ask straight out, “What do you need most.” Or if you just really want more time with the grandkids, you can bring it up at a good time and ask if it’s ok if you play this role or that. Maybe you’d love to teach them a skill you have, or read them Bible stories or etc… I think traditions with grandparents are awesome, so it might be fun to just find a little special role that is all yours…
I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface, but it is a great question and worthy of some time and thought! Much aloha-and stick around, I may just revisit this soon! xo
I follow and been doing everything you talked about raising an elementary kid. My wife found your site and shared it with me I jumped up and said I told you haha. But my thing is well something I do to my son is use destructive criticism example he might say something or create something and once in a blue I might say that’s wack which mean not cool or I don’t like it. But the reason why I do that is because the whole family always say that’s nice that’s cool great job all because he’s a kid but I’m different SO AM I’M WRONG?
Hi Chase, and thank you for commenting. I think I understand what you’re saying…My husband also gets annoyed with the more recent “Everybody wins” theme to everything and teaching kids that they can do no wrong…(am I understanding you right there?) Anyways, I do believe that there is a balance in there somewhere. It is possible to be honest with your son, and not all gushy and full of bologna with him, but to do so in a loving way. I don’t think it’s ever right to be mean spirited or put down our children. But you can point them to what they are truly good at, and honestly say that they have some growing to do in other areas. Or if he creates something, instead of saying it is “wack” you might just say “I think you could do better…why don’t you try this or that…” And then encourage the progress (which is really what we want to see, right?) Not sure if any of that helps, but always be kind, and yes, some honesty is not all bad. (Hoping I pleased both you and your wife, haha!)
Most (if not all)of these DO apply to girls as well. No.1 is especially discussed in our home now with my almost 11 yr old daughter yammering about wanting a cell phone because everyone else has one. Though all of these points has come into play in our house at one time or another. We are not religious, however, again these points don’t have to be based on religion to apply. Thanks for a great post!
Awesome post and very true! We have a 9 year old boy and a 7 year old girl. I never realized this stage would be possibly the most challenging. The challenge does not come from our son, he is great. It comes from our understanding that we are responsible for raising him to be confident, compassionate, and spirit-filled. I believe your list could easily be for my daughter as well. Thanks for this!
I am happy to say that i am attempting to encourage and practice these 8 areas with my son since he was born. At least to some degree. He is now 8. I was fortunate to be brought up in a home where these 8 practices were my parents mantra. There were five of us…i was the baby… But none of us were nor will be perfect. As parents we practice what we know at any given time.
So here is my problem…lol..
Im a 42 year old single mom…unemployed teacher…earned a masters degree..and i have a few health issues that are becoming restricting. For example…because of arthritis i am no longer strong enough to hold the bike to teach my son how to ride.. I cant run and wrestle like we used to and thats ok. But im also very tired and in pain. Im normally non stop bulldozer so this is hard for me…but i have an extremely supportive family that has taught..encouraged… Supported and loved my son as much as i do! So he is a great kid. He is outgoing, friendly, helpful, already has a positive work ethic… I could go on…i get compliments on his behavior constantly.
However when we are alone i sometimes wonder if im raising Jekyll and Hyde! The respect for me goes out the door..he answers me back..tells me no….he sometimes thinks he rules the roost. I mean as a teacher of 27 kids i wascommended on my management abilities. Now im in a constant power struggle with my only child! I try not to personalize….its talk and i know he loves me but i want to be respected! I’ve explained how boys easily start off with a lil disrespect and then they turn 13 and they curse at you and refuse to go to school. Then i get a hug and apology. But im over that baloney too
cause its old. We’ve talked about how you can’t keep the same behavior and expect me to keep saying ok. I told him that i have to do my job as mom to help him do his job as my son.
I know i havent been consistent lately and im arguing with an 8 year old! Njkjü
Thank you for your insight. I have one son who is 6. He is number 3 of four kiddos. My older girls have been so easy so far. My son, however, is EXTREMELY stubborn. He can also be very emotional at times. My question to you is… How do you suggest I direct his stubbornness for good? He is a “I want what I want when I want it” child and we have tried very hard with all our children to not give them everything they want. He has also been getting into trouble A LOT in school for being silly or talking excessively. When he is upset he will NOT talk to us. Not even to tell us hat is wrong.
I know stubbornness can be great when directed in the right direction but I am not sure how to do it.
Any advise is appreciated. Thank you
I highly recommend: Parenting Challenging Children With Power, Love and Sound Mind; The Nurtured Heart Approach from a Biblical Viewpoint by Wendy West Pidkaminy
Awesome Mary–thank you for that recommendation. I’ll look into it for sure. From the title I think I’ll love it! 🙂
Way to go!! Love your Christian foundation and fun mama flare!! Thank you for your time you invest into this blog!! Making our parenting better!
i think teach him to question and think critically is one thing I am instilling. Too many people take the status quo or follow blindly. In this world that is complicated, look at who is giving the message and whether it’s a valid message for you.
Example: our neighbour teaches him bible stories and talks about God and faith. We are atheists. He decided to believe in God for a time and we accepted that. We also provided scientific facts based on evidence for him to consider. Now we are reading books on all world religions as he has become fascinated as his best friend is Muslim. He has since decided he wNts to be a scientist as religion is invalid.
Thank you for sharing your experience raising boys.It was informative and very inspiring. I am a mom, raising two boys on my own and I’m of the opinion that boys are fun,exciting, edifying,wild,
gratifying,best road trip companions and even though at times it can be frustrating,I can tell you never before have I been showered with so much unconditional love,sticky kisses and out of the blue ‘I love you mom’.
I love being a mom to my boys and I’m thrilled that I have been chosen to be their mom.Looking forward to reading more …
I’ve learned to laugh with my boy. To take a little bit of time each day and listen to him be funny. He is a man child of literal translation of everything and watching him let that go for those short periods of time (even when time is stretched) is my daily blessing. The laughter won’t always come as easily in the future but I need him to know that if we reach for it, we can always find a happy space.
well said Stephanie!! Good job momma! 🙂
Will you do an article on college age boys/men? After reading elementary needs, this was how we raised our son. Family was safe to discuss any subject. Any actions he had at this point in time had a result whether good or bad, depending on his actions. He learned that if he told the truth, punishment would not be as stiff if he lied. Sometimes when he told the truth, there was no punishment. His best friend moved to our school in their 3rd grade year. As they grew up, they realized that their choice in friends was better when they stuck to the morals taught in both homes. These two boys went through Boy Scouts, their first job, graduated HS with honors walking side by side, chose the same college & are roommates. We are very lucky!!!!
Awesome Yvonne! What a great story. I’d love to have my boys find a friend like that. Well done, Momma!
I have one of those boys with many interests…one that I try to curb is the techno interest! Not bc it is all bad, but my idea is GO OUTSIDE if you can-enough with the ipads, phones,wii, etc. You mentioned you had one that is interested in graphic design. I would love to see mine utilize technology to create (other than just minecraft!)=do u have a program that he uses/prefers? I am pretty clueless when it comes to anything beyond the basics of what comes on the computer and if you all have something you love I’d love to check it out. Thanks for sharing!
I will share this.
I love the list!
I was just going to add, as a mother of teen twin boys, show them affection and don’t rebuff them when they want to show you affection. I am not naturally an affectionate person. But, when my boys were young and they reached out for me, I reached back. Now as teens they are still loving and open. They can be on the baseball field and when they are doing well they look over and smile.
When they walk off the field they mouth out “love you.” When they are home they will often randomly walk up and hug me or give me a kiss on the cheek. They taught me how to be loving, but first I had to be accepting their love.
It’s the first time in a long time when I’ve read something about raising elementary boys. I have a 9 year old with ADHD and a 6 year old, with an 8 year old daughter in between. I appreciate the affirmation of what my husband and I are doing as well as the gentle reminder of things we need to work on. Your inclusion of faith formation was a blessing to read as that is such an important part of being a parent and instruction. I do want to add that your comen’s here are on the mark for girls as well. My daughter needs to learn these same basic foundations to be successful and productive, however they are sometimes addressed in a slightly different way.
Awesome to hear, thank you Lisa! I have heard that about this applying to girls as well and I am so glad. Thanks and keep up the great work! 🙂
Monica…what a great guide for parents! I especially appreciate your willingness to express your faith by acknowledging that God factors into the decisions you make regarding the upbringing of your boys. As a grandparent, can I stress how important we are in helping to nurture our grandchildren? They will often take advice & criticism much better from us than mom & dad. Parents are so busy these days that they often overlook the opportunities to express closeness to their children, whereas as a grandparent, I look for these openings and jump in head first.
I had the privilege of working at my daughter’s house for a whole summer recently and can’t tell you how many times her two boys would ask me to stop working and play ball or play some other game or just wrestle in the grass. I always tried to accommodate their request for my time and attention. By the end of summer when the work was done and I wasn’t going to their house every day, my daughter would tell me that the boys were disappointed that grandpa wasn’t coming today. I can’t tell you how this made me feel…to actually want to spend time with someone that’s 64. I now have the most wonderful relationship with these grandsons of mine and big hugs are a huge part of our greetings and goodbyes. Let me say that the two things that I’ve learned that this age group craves are time & love.
God bless you & keep up the good work,
Awesome comment, Marv! Thank you so so much. I love that story, and I am so thankful that my boys have a great relationship with their grandparents (both sides! :)) as well. IT is a treasure!
Much aloha and thank you for the encouragement!
I have a boy and two girls, and this list is right on for both genders.
I love to hear that! Thank you so much…:)
Well, my oldest is 11 and I feel like I’ve already failed with him. He has a bad attitude about everything, which started when he was 8. He has always taken a no answer in the worst possible way, changing his mood from light and happy to dark and ornery just because we told him no. This has been his way since he was little and I don’t know how to change it. Perhaps we gave him too much when he was little. I think it’s just who he is because we have done things pretty much the same for the others (I have a boy who is 10 and one who is 8, and one who is 3) because his two brothers do not react the same way. It seems that he is always in a bad mood because we tell him no. Every single time we tell him no about anything (having a dessert after dinner, playing a video game, going somewhere with friends, staying up an extra half hour after his younger siblings go to bed, and so on) that he is in a bad mood. We have talked with him about this, about how often he will not get to do what he wants when he wants and he shouldn’t let that put him in a bad mood constantly, but that is how he is. I feel like a total failure.
LOVED your list! It sounds spot on. We are raising a challenging but loving, kind, and smart 9 year old boy. Definitely not an easy task, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. I appreciate your blog. Thank you.
This is my 1st time catching your site. I hope i do not loose you. I enjoyed readin this plus loved reading the comments.
i m a grandmother. This sounded a lot like me. My kids turned out really good. You are so good at doing this for a lot of THIS NEW Generation mothers. This kids are getting really bad.
Stay married. with a 60 percent divorce rate I’m really surprised this was not hit upon. Nothing’s more devastating than trying to raise families and nurture future men and women in the community then to fail from the start and deny your child the learning opportunity of being a submissive husband and wife to one another. what’s the point of raising a family if you’re just going to get a divorce? You’re raising the next generation. At some point they’re going to need to know how to have a family of their own and how to work through their problems the same way you should be working through yours.
Please send me the things a teen boy needs from his mom. Thanks
Hi Kerry! Here is a link to the post..>And for future reference…There is always a link to this post in my right hand side bar! 😉 XO
I enjoyed this very much! I have a 9 year old and I absolutely love this age. I want him to stay little but I honestly can’t wait to see him as he grows up. I have a tip I use for #7 as my son talks constantly and asks me tons of questions. I’m a single mom with only 1 son so it leaves us lots of time to discuss the world. When ever he brings home a word that he wants to know more about…. I have to brace myself. They are usually words I don’t use at our house and are provided to him by a child with an older sibling, lol. So when ever he says “Mom, what’s a XXXX” I immediately follow up with “Can you use it in a sentence”. This way he gives me the exact context he heard it in and I can be sure I don’t under or over explain. It also allows me some time to collect my thoughts without showing my hand that I’m nervous, lol. I love that he brings these things to me so I want to keep encouraging it.
Thanks for the great article.
Thank you Bmommma! I absolutely LOVE your tip! 🙂 I’m gonna use that for sure. Much Aloha!
Monica – have you done (or will you do) an article about Grandparents and the kids? I am a single grandmother and I moved in with my daughter and her family. They have two kids (a boy 6 and a girl 7). I adore the kids and they love me too but sometimes I don’t know where to put myself in the family dynamics.
Also, can you do an article about adoption. Both of my grandchildren are adopted (since they were 2 and 3). I know the consistency part is the same but are there any things that need to be done differently? thanks, Linda
My little man is five, but I agree it is so important to start helping him and guiding him now, my daughters are older, but I do think your advice is great across the genders. Great Blog, I have Tweeted you, pinned it and subscribed, you give great advice!
Such a good post! As a mom of 3 teenage boys, I would also add general mannerliness, meaning- boy grossness has its place, but that place is not everywhere! We used to call it “bathroom talk” not to be said outside the bathroom! Made for overall less disgusting teenagers! Still normal, just more considerate.
This was so encouraging to me.
I find in our culture that I’m feeling somewhat alone in the importance of doing the hard things in the elementary ages.
So much of the time we think this is too much struggling and I hear a lot of “let’s just forget about all the have-to’ and just have fun!”
You make some great points of how to balance both the struggles AND the genuine heartfelt engagement with our boys (and girls).
Thank you. Genuinely excited about my boys today!
I’m SO glad to hear that Leilani! I love how you said it…exactly how I feel! And I do hope you have a great weekend with your boys 😉 Aloha
Just what I needed to read. with 4 kids under 10 and 8 weeks of Christmas holidays , I need all the parenting tips I can get….
It would be good to see an article written with an autistic boy in mind…. where some limitations are placed on the 7 points posted above….. like communication.
Anyways, very good article.
Thank you! I loved this article.
Teaching them to cook from an early age is a good tool.
I’m brand new to your blog. I came across one of your articles before about teenage boys and really got me interested to learn more about raising good teen boys even though my two boys are still young. Then I came across this article about elementary age boys and I really wanted to read it because my oldest son is 8. When I read your article I can really identify with the things you describe about what boys need because of what I have gone through with my kids. I’m happy to hear about another mom’s advice with lots of experience with boys. I’m an elementary teacher so I have plenty of experience with boys in a school and learning setting but it’s different being a mom to boys at home. I’m always looking forward to learn more on how to be a better teacher but also a better mom to my two boys and one daughter. I just subscribed to your blog and I’m looking forward read more useful articles like this one. Thank you!
This was wonderful!
Awesome article on how STRUCTURE begins at home. Just yesterday I was in a discussion at noon day prayer, about our youth of today.
Parents are on the front line of building or preparing their children to be successful in a dysfunctional society. It is in the home where the foundation of life is laid. Without a proper foundation, you cannot build a proper structure. Because of the busyness of life of some parents, STRUCTURE has become a lost art. Such as greeting a child getting home from school; eating dinner at the table; spending quality time together without technology, social media, etc.; showing affection, and most of all not teaching and being an example of Biblical standards for life.
Your article is a wonderful guide to help parent raise children. This is not for boys, but all children. Thank you for your article.
Great post! I just finished reading the one about teenage boys. So in line with my own thinking and some new insights – thanks! My oldest just turned 14, and my youngest is a boy, and he is 7, so both of these are fitting for me! I have two girls in between them, too. I was wondering what you recommend for a good internet filter. Not only for computer, but particularly for ipods/ipads, etc. I’d like something that works for it all. We have been using one for a while now but it is so strong, my kids are blocked ENTIRELY from the YouTube website as well as most of Google. I want to protect them but need to give them the ability to enjoy some of the good stuff that is out there. Thanks!
Thank you Shauna! Sounds like you have a pretty awesome family lineup! 🙂
Oh…I’m w/ ya as far as internet filters for devices go! I wrote a post about kids and porn “The slippery slope” (https://monicaswanson.com/kids-and-porn-the-slippery-slope/ )and mentioned a couple filters, one being NetNanny, but for devices I think it is more challenging. Sorry, I don’t think I’m much help! 🙂
Keep me posted if you find anything else as well! 🙂 Aloha and thanks so much for commenting!
I super recommend Covenant Eyes for all your devices 🙂 You could also configure the settings for each individual person. https://www.covenanteyes.com/
Thank you for sharing, I have a daughter (7) and this all can be applied to her too!
Thank you Diane–I’ve heard that a lot, so I am happy to hear it! 🙂 Aloha
As I was beginning to open your article, I was a but afraid because I thought I was going to read all the things I didn’t do and know that I failed my son. However, I (we) have poured so much love, support and encouragement into our son’s life over his years. For example, from day one we read to him every book out there that he loved over and over. We did puzzles, hot wheels, sand castles, Legos and the list goes on. He loved Legos, hot wheels, army men and animals. He played on his own extremely well and we also played with him. Encourage like minded friendships with get-togethers of outdoor activities and other fun stuff boys like. We vacationed as a family to the beach, camping, fishing, and hiking and hunting. As for work, he had his chores and helped with both indoor and outdoor chores. We didn’t give him apple products until 14 not did we fill our house up with violent video games. We had regular family fun nights. We talked through problems and also reminisced together. He write thank you cards and has done mission work in inner city and a 3rd world country. He is on swim team and water polo team. He has lettered as freshman in both. We homeschool and sent him to school when he asked but them asked to come back to homeschool. He is not on drugs, drinking or smoking but he is now 16 and the most defiant lying kid. I would never have believed it but it’s true. Refuses to do school work and is mean to us parents and his sisters. This has gotten gradually worse over the last 2-3 years. I’m ready to send him to military school. Could you shed some light as to why I may not have that awesome teen you are talking about.
Oh Veronica…I am so sorry to hear that! It is heartbreaking. But your story (and your son’s story) is not over. I suppose the first thing that comes to my mind is if you have the kind of relationship where your son will talk to you…Open up what is going on inside of him. Could there be something you don’t know about–a time in the past that sent him down the wrong path, etc? Abuse, or bullying, or something that affected him. Has he had the environment where he can share his feelings openly? AND…is he currently getting freedom only in relation to his responsibilities and respect to his parents? Perhaps he has been given so much that he is taking advantage of you now. Pulling in the reigns may be the wisest thing. Perhaps counseling. I’ll say a pray for you to have wisdom. Also you mentioned mission work etc, does that mean you are plugged into a healthy church? If so, is there a youth pastor or someone your son feels close to that you could bring in to help with the situation? Hang in there. I’m sure your blessings will come!! aloha
I love love love this post! You sound like you do parenting just like I do. & I would love to hear your take on the spiritual side. Definitely do a post on that! Your advice is so wonderful and it was a good reminder since I still have two elementary age boys!
hi, thank you for the list!
I have two boys aged 8&6 and I agree with everything you said. It is very reassuring to be reminded about why we do what we do because it is very easy to get stuck in the age or in the stage that you are in. I do however struggle to let them “stretch” themselves and have to make an effort to trust them and my husband with this important part of their development.
I will definitely share with my friends.
Loved your post.
What about daughters? Any advice on how to handle….GIRLS?!!!
Thanks so much for this list!! I have four children – three girls and one boy, who is now six. I love this post – I wish more people waited on the material things. I told my kids that they will get a phone when they go to Junior High – which will be next year for my oldest – but it seems all the kids have them now! Even some in 3rd grade! Also, I stared very early on with my kids – when they ask for something at the store, I simply say “we will put it on your birthday list”. Now they don’t even ask – they just say “can I have this on my birthday list?” It really has helped with meltdowns when we are out.
Excellent post! Obviously you’ve “been there, done that.” Really appreciate your proactive approach. Teach/model values & virtues BEFORE stormy season. I particularly appreciated your decision not to interveve in your husband’s tactic as he worked with your son in surfing. That was wise — in terms of your marriage and your parenting. Thanks.
I just found this website and I am so glad I did. I really liked your blog on When you child argues about everything. I have a 10 year old who disagrees with everything I have to say. One thing about his post that kind of made me feel a little guilty was that I haven’t been much of a parent when he was younger, like I said he is 10 now and now it is when the attitude and arguments are coming in. Am I too late? I know it’s never too late to start but I just want to first forgive myself for not being there fully and to know that I am trying to make up for lost time and be extremely patient. One thing that my son has and I’m so blessed is that he wants to know about God. We do attend church and I’m trying to get us more involved into living a spiritual life.
I’m really enjoying your blogs. Keep it up and Thank you.
I agree! One of my biggest fears is that it’s too late to be a better mom (my boys are 10 & 7). Can we have a post some day with your suggestions for turning it around if you are still struggling to make the right parenting choices as your kids get older? I absolutely love your blog! Thank you for all of your messages.
Carolina and Becka–
First of all, bless your hearts! You are precious. And no–never ever too late. I would love to write a post addressing your question because it is much more common than you think…And something I also relate to. But I believe with all of my heart that not only is it never too late, but an attitude of humility wanting fresh starts can model some of the most important qualities to our kids.
Stay tuned as I will be praying about and working on this post over the next days or maybe weeks, but it will come! 🙂
Much aloha and never give up!! xo
Hi Monica! I just wanted to drop you a message to let you know that I was so encouraged by this post. I am a Christian, homeschooling mother, and have three boys myself and love it! As an Army spouse, we would love to make it to the island some day 🙂
Thank you for this list! Not only was it reassuring for me but also encouraging. My son is 10 and we have been struggling lately with the “Friend” issue. New neighbor boy that he likes to hang out with, but yet doesnt make the best choices around for the fear or being made fun or liked. Glad that there are many other parents who share the same vision and are bringing their children up to be responsible and well rounded individuals!
One more thing I would add to the list:
Come up with one special place or activity that you and your child do together.
Making it special for just the two of you that they can look forward too. My son and I go on a “Mommy and Son” date night once a month. He knows that once a month, him and I have an entire night with each other to do something fun. We have both experienced many new things together by brainstorming or coming up with ideas on what to do. Sometimes it’s a movie and dinner, and other times its adventure like indoor rock climbing. Our last date, which was this past Tuesday I took him to his very first concert. I know that looking back he will remember the nights that he had with just him and I… to me that puts a smile on my face.
Love the site 🙂
I enjoyed your guide very much and have done most if not all of these with my own sons. There is however one very important idea that we feel is important for them to learn. We teach them to not only speak up about their feelings and concerns but to stand up for others that don’t have the strength. While my son is confident enough to speak his mind and defend his thoughts if he sees another child that is having trouble with a situation we encourage empathy. We teach him that all people are equal/different and important. In today’s society it is very easy to fall into the “well I’m fine so I won’t get involved” but we feel that the best way to make us (as a society) better is to teach our child that we are all connected and sometimes people just need kindness to make their day brighter.
I am really grateful for this post. I have felt so frustrated and sad at my parenting skills lately. I have three children both my older ones are boys 7 and 5. We have really struggled lately with so many things it seems like from yelling at each other, constant fighting, unwillingness to help when asked unless they are in the mood, and doing what they want regardless of what I say. My 7 yr old has become particularly strong willed and mean in his speech and both have been hitting g each other and myself now too. I have tried so many things. They both can be loving And write sweet notes to me and help and play together when they want but how do I teach them to be good when they don’t want to. How do I get chores done when they don’t feel like it? How do I get them to speak respectfully? Even when they are mad? And how do I get the hitting of each other and our home to end? Do other parents struggle with these? I love my children so much and I fill I am doing a disservice to them if I don’t find away to help them. There will be so many times in their life when they have to do things that they may not enjoy but that are necessary…sorry this is so long but I am feeling so defeated and I am hoping you are an answer to prayer and may have some advice for me.
This is appropriate for girls and boys. I now have four grown daughters. Teach them respect for self and others. Responsibiilty. Don’t blame others for your actions. Another teach children to dream make goals. Take kids on vacations a lot. Day trips, weekend outings. Teach them about their heritage and ancestors. Family. Help them write stories real and make believe. Show them love. And how to love.
I really liked what you had to say. My teen years were the time I needed my parents the most. Sure they gave a great start BUT the teen years were boys, dating, first cars, first jobs, friends, drugs, riots in school due to social upheavals, war, friends suicides, friends eloping, friends getting pregnant out of wedlock. Skipping school=if the cops catch you=you’ll go to jail! What am I going to do with the rest of my life? It was tough. I had fluctuating feelings about my parents. You know=put me on restriction=I hate you! Where are you going, what time will you be home? Who’s going to be there? I want you home by curfew! Geez mom! I never had this at seven.
Hello, I am a mom of 4 little boys too(10, 8, 6, and 5)…most times I feel like a beatin, battered referee….it’s very encouraging to read your posts….just to know us mom of all boys are not alone! Thanks so much!
Thank you so much for this post ! It let me see my little boy in a new light and help for better understanding his first years of being a little man 🙂
love this blog!
I LOVE THIS! My son Wyatt is in kindergarten which has been such a journey already. He seems to constantly be in trouble. Not concentrating ,can’t sit still ,will not focus ,will not listening ,eating glue sticks ,coloring shoes, and even getting in trouble for hugging the teacher. I sometimes feel as though SOME of the things he gets in trouble for is just normal 5 year old behavior. His birthday was in April and he is immature for his age. I am having a hard time teaching self discipline. I’m a single mom and a nurse so we are ALWAYS on the go like most families . He has chores and we have a star system in place for rewards for good behavior. I try to enforce good behavior instead of the constant badgering. I just don’t know what to do any advice helps.
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I found out about your blog when a post was shared by a friend on fb. So glad I took the time to read it. I wholeheartedly agree with all the elements of this post. I have 3 young boys, and 1 girl. Who I agree, can benefit from all these same things. One thing you didnt mention directly in your post is how important it is for boys to be outdoors. It is assumed, though. Since your boys surf and you mentioned how important it is for them to take risks. We love camping all over California as a family and traveling/surfing in baja california, Mexico and know how important it is to get them outdoors. One other thought is the idea of the kids having unsupervised time to play, whether indoors or out. A time where they can figure things out for themselves, with guidelines and rules of course…..like no throwing rocks…etc. Again, I just love this post! I wish it wasn’t so rare to find mom with this perspective. I see how your vantage point of having older boys, can make an impact on those reading. Love it!!!!!
As a college consultant, I work a lot with teenage boys. I am also the parent of five children. I think your advice is excellent and something that every mom should read.
Wow, Susie! Thank you so much. That means a lot coming from you! 🙂 Appreciate your words! Aloha
Thank you so much
I agree with all of these. I raised 4 girls. They started learning self responsibility at an early age. I always told them that someone has to take responsibility for their lives. The parents retain it until parts can be handed off to the child. If they can’t handle the responsibility, it get returned to mom and dad, until more training allows us to hand the responsibility back to them. They learned that someone has to own it, and it’s ultimately better in the long run if that responsibility is finally owned by them. Too many parents leave it floating in “iffy” territory.
Next – children crave physical contact. Give them, and teach them, appropriate and loving physical contact. With my girls, I knew that if they didn’t get shown good and loving physical contact from their family, they will search it out, and too many “not so nice” people will be willing to give it to them. That was my number one issues with raising girls, but it applies to boys (and grown ups) too.
This was a great list of parenting advise! I don’t have any children right now but that will all change in about 6 weeks (haveing a girl but this post is good parenting info either way). We are just around the corner from parenthood and we are excited! But, never having been parents, we are pretty scared too. So I look for all the advice I can get. Thanks for all the great info! 🙂
this stuff totally applies to girls too. In fact, even more so in today’s world were so many little girls are being taught that the most important things for them are to be clean and pretty and sit nicely for everyone to admire.
I have 2 girls and they get rough n tumble and are learning about climbing trees (my fav risk assessment activity for kids) and playing with trucks. They also have tea parties and nurse their dolls.
It doesn’t matter which gender, learning about the value of hard work and money is important. Learning about how to treat other people is important. Learning how you want other people to treat you also.
I could go on but I’ll stop now!
awesome, and I totally agree! 😉 I didn’t feel qualified to speak about girls, although I am one, and I was also a rough-and-tumble type, with a feminine side too. Way to go momma! Sounds like you’re doing it right!
Great post.I would also add to teach them to use a sense of humor.I would have parents role play making goofy mistakes in a slap stick ,three stooges way and thus afterward teach empathy and how to apologize. Humor makes life less solemn and us all human.
SUCH a great point! I love it. Kids obviously are drawn to humor, but so wise to teach it done well! You’ve got me thinking…:) Much aloha!
Great! I sent this to my son who has an eight year old.
This is all great if: there is a two parent family, there has been no large negative events in the childs life, the child and/or parent is healthy, and so on……..
I needed to read this and I am so thankful I came across it. I have a 7 year old second grader and we are having trouble with lying, storytelling, and blaming (trying to point the finger and not taking responsibility for his part/actions). I am completly at a loss. I don’t know what to do, especially with lying. I have been reduced to tears and found myself SCARY angry. I am begging for any advice/encouragement.
Thank you thank you thank you,
Thank you for this post! In encouraged me to continue with the things my husband and I currently do with our 4 kids, as well as remind me of where I can improve. I work around so many people that seem to live a life of indulgence and their children have “everything” and sometimes I wonder if I’m not doing the right thing for my children. But deep down inside, I know I’m doing the right thing, and as I recently saw a young woman standing along a major highway holding a sign asking for diapers and food for her family, it again helped me to put into perspective how blessed we are and what things are truly “needs” for our family. God bless you!
Thank you, Monica! I love hearing advice from mom’s who have been through (or are going through) parenting of boys. I know who I want my boys to be….my biggest issue is needing ideas on how to implement and teach that. Examples of how to teach respect, being a good friend, self control, etc. I have an almost 5 year old and a two year old, and I’m never sure if what in doing is actually working or not. 🙂 A post with just suggestions, ideas, techniques, etc would be very beneficial if you had time to write one! 🙂 Thanks for sharing….I agree we all need each other to accomplish our task! 🙂
Thank you Kara! yes, good idea…Practical examples always help! 🙂 I’ll add that to my list and see if I can get something together in a post coming up. So, stick around! 🙂 Aloha!
Could you possibly post an article on boys this age who have ADHD (my son is 8 and has been recently diagnosed with this) and their needs. I enjoyed your article by the way thanks for posting 🙂
Very eye opening, thanks.
This is great-I saw a friend re-post it. Good list that gives me some things to keep thinking about as I have a 9 and almost 7 yr old. I think it’s good for either girls or boys for the most part. One addition I thought of was to teach them how to feel and then work through their emotions. I think in our time this is a huge issue that we try to teach kids to shut down any emotion we associate as negative. This only harms their ability to deal with emotions as they grow. I try to reassure my kids now that crazy emotions are normal and we have to feel them not ignore them. I also teach them what to do with those less than pleasant emotions so they learn to handle them in a healthy way.
Carolyn–Thank you and excellent point! Really good. Hope to see you around more! 🙂
Thanks for this post. My oldest son is in first grade this year and I’ve been telling everyone that it’s so HARD! We’re facing attitude issues and craziness that we’ve never had from him before. This helped me feel more “normal” – that this is a time for hard work in his character. Thank you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the spiritual side of things, too!
Very inspirational and practical! Loved reading this article . 🙂
I like to expose my kids to the children who are sick or struggling in their lives. It’s not always rainbow and butterflies for every kid.
Hi Monica and thank you for a very useful list!
I also have a question:
What do you do when the younger son is more ‘responsible’ and you end up giving more responsibilities and rely more on him than his older brother because you know he will get things done while the older will slack behind? I have three boys (the younger one still a baby, but the other two are 8 and 5). My 8 year old is always doing things and immersed in his own world. I literally have to call him at least 3 times for him to snap out of what he’s doing. While the younger one is always observant and conscious of what mom is saying. So I end up relying more on the 5 year old than the 8 year old. In very afraid that I’m missing out on having a solid base with my older one and really dreading the teenage years. I know the obvious thing to say is put more effort towards the older one, but sometimes, even if I ask him to do something, I find the younger one running to do it:)
Any words of wisdom?
Thank you Linda! That is indeed a tough one! I have a few friends whose kids don’t fit the “typical” birth order personalities. You are right–I think you ought to keep working on the older one to obey quickly and not be selfish…but it might take some creativity to do that well. Depending on their personalities and their “currencies” (what they value most,) you might try pulling something away from the older one when he is not quick to obey (is he immersed in video games? iPod?…t.v.? Just the most typical, but maybe he just zones out? That’s not so unusual either. :)) Anyways, what I am getting at is to make it so rewarding to the younger guy who does help, and painful (consequence-wise) to the older one, that he starts to WANT to get in on the helping action.
Sounds like your younger son’s love language is acts of service, so you can just enjoy that as well. The older one might be more “normal.” I’m still a believer in training them all up, regardless, so don’t give up! Much aloha, hope something there helped!!
Thank you! It does make sense, but definitely requires a lot of effort:)
Thanks again for the useful input!
Happy mom of 3 boys 🙂
Thank you so much for this post! I had read the teenage one and wondered if you’d done one for younger children. It was good to know that although I’d done things lil different it resulted in the same outcome #awesome kids & getting better!
Struggling with my 9 year old and discipline. We talk about self control all the time but it seems like he lacks it. Especially at school to where it gets him into trouble. What can I do differently?
Good question Kimberly. Typiaally the best route is consistent, painful (as in he does not like it, not physical pain, :)) consequences. If you are giving consequences consistently and negative behavior continues, then you might want to seek professional help. There may be something more serious going on.
Otherwise, look for books that show role models of self control, and assign them as required reading (Let me know if you need help on that one, I’m thinking… :)) and then get serious about firm, consistent consequences. This Vlog is about how NOT to lose your temper, but it is talking about using consequences: https://monicaswanson.com/parenting-without-anger-part-i-dont-get-caught-off-guard-a-vlog/
Hope this helps! aloha
Thank you for this! I am raising two girls (and we have a two-mom family, so we’re ALL girls here! eek!) and I found everything that you wrote about spot-on. #1 was an especially good reminder for me. My girls are 4 and 6 and NOW is certainly the time for focusing on this… And so much more! THANK YOU!!!
Girls are much harder when they reach the age af around 12-14 it’s a whole different ball game. I remember when my girls were 6 & 4 such a naive time, but such a great age…..now they’re 17 & 15 and I’m having such great conversations with them. So my advice would be to stay open with them and communicate, let them know that there is nothing that they can not come to you about, that would make you hate them….be open and honest always. And good luck…
Love your insight to parenting, thank you for sharing. The one thing I would add is we are trying to teach our boys 6 and 8 that they are in control of their own bodies. Society gives the opposite message, that we are slaves to our passions or emotions. We hope that by practicing now it will help them as teens to feel confident and safe.
I love love LOVE this. I also am a true believer in time spent, and guidance. I just this weekend wrote my son a letter while he was at his dads. (age 10, divorced, remarried in a blended family) I went on and on telling him all his qualities that make me so proud to be his mom. Consideration, compassion, ability to forgive, politeness… my list can go on and on. But this too did not come without hard work and diligence from his dad and myself.
Because his parents are divorced, it was a bit more difficult. But luckily his dad and i have the same goals.. and that is our son.
Another helpful idea that we came up with is : AMNESTY.
This 7-letter word has come in so handy. With so so so many different instances.
A little history:
My son’s dad bought him a new ipod. I ofcourse inherited his old one (he was 8). When i started playing around with my new ipod (his old) i saw all his messages between he and his friends.
My heart almost jumped out of my chest.
The things he knew, the things he asked… all to his friends who were a little bit older.
I don’t need to go into detail. But WAY more than what i had ever wanted to imagine.
I brought him into my bedroom, first thing i told him was. It was normal.. all his questions and pictures etc. Nothing to be ashamed of. But from that day forward we started Amnesty. He could ask for amnesty and from that point on whatever he asked, said, or told he had complete forgiveness for.
It started off slowly with curse words..what does it mean, why do people say it, etc etc.
Today it has helped in issues of anatomy, puberty, dad’s house, dad’s girlfriend, … It has opened up a world between he and I that I am truly grateful for.
I will tell anyone that will listen to me to … DO IT… start amnesty. And spend time chatting with your son/daughter… ultimately that is really what they want (esp at this age) is time with you. Your attention… live gets so busy that we forget to put “things” aside… chores will always be there whether you do them today, tomorrow, or don’t do them at all… the questions on your little boys mind may not be there when YOU are ready to finally listen, he may have already searched for answers from others… and they may not have been the answers you wanted him to hear.
I hope I am not posting twice but I dont see my post ftom a couple days ago….. Thanks Monica. Love this post. I was wondering whay you say No too. I like to heat what other moms limits are for their sons. Also I would love to see a post on teaching them Bible/faith through the different stages. Always love new ideas. Thanks for taking time to encourage us.
Nikki–Thank you so much, and I am sorry for any confusion w/ comments–we had a little glitch that was worked out yesterday. 🙂
Good questions for sure…I am planning to follow this post w/ more specifics, so hopefully I’ll get to all of that. The limits I have referred to are very much age dependent and also related to what they have proven they can handle responsibly. A kid who is on top of chores and school work, and has a good attitude will not be limited as much as one who is not acting responsible. Most limits do have to do with movies/games…etc, As for Bible and faith teaching–that is very much relationship based. My husband talks and prays w/ them when they are little–teaching them John 3:16 from a very young age. 🙂 Then I use a variety of story books which have great pictures as the Bible stories are told. Some teaching happens at Sunday school, and then we just talk a lot throughout the day. More on that in future posts as well. 🙂 Much aloha to you!
This the first post I’ve read of yours. I love it. It is beautiful and how I want to respond every time someone tells me “your lucky” your kids are so good. It’s not luck. It’s a lot of hard work. Rewarding work. Luck is an easy going personality. Their behavior is years of work, discipline, laughter, tears, and a billion other things that does not include luck.
Thank you! I plan to share this as much as possible.
Awesome Laura–I totally get that too. Way to go and keep it up! 🙂
Much aloha to you!
I enjoy your information. I have 2 boys. My oldest, 11, is extra challenging. We struggle to get along and he already his significant emotional/attitude ‘problems’. Do you have recommendations on where to begin reading/studying with him biblically. With the struggles we already have I am seriously dreading the teen years and fear the battles that are to come. The battles between us and the battles within each of us.
Heather, thank you so much for commenting. Hang in there and you may end up finding the teen years to be the best time yet. 🙂
As for kids and the Bible…My first suggestion would be (if you haven’t already) find a healthy church that has a good youth group. A good youth leader can be an amazing resource for you. I also love all of the resources put out by Focus on The Family. Just this morning I was reading through their magazine, “Thriving Family,” and they have a publication for each age group of kids too. In their magazines they suggest all kinds of great books, online site, and their articles are always solid. (I read that if you go online they will send you a free subscription.) Keep in touch here as well, I hope to continue to encourage you! 🙂 Aloha
Wow I can just say thank you for these great pointers!!!! As a single mom with boys it really helps!! Blessings!!!
I thought this article was just brilliant. In a world that is continually inviting us to “sanitize” life of any “dangers”, I found your advice to “stretch” your kids to be one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever seen in a post.
Hi! I really enjoyed this post. I’d really like to expand on 3. I believe parents are missing the opportunity to teach their boys how to BE a good friend in addition to choosing good friends. There have been a couple friend problems with my almost 9 year old recently. He’s a very loyal and genuine friend, but like all kids, he makes mistakes. Parents seem to quickly encourage their sons to write a friend off when disagreements arise. Let’s encourage our boys to work through it, and teach them how to be a good friend. I constantly remind my son he and his friends are young, they will occasionally make mistakes and learn how to be better friends through them, and to never ditch a friend for a petty disagreement.
Sueann–Such great points, thank you. 🙂 I totally agree. We often tell our boys “To have a friend, you must BE a friend.” Glad you added that! aloha
Yes, I noticed that teaching our sons to BE good friends was missing. And I also wanted clarification on what you mean by “we all know that sometimes the most accepting crowd is not a good one”. I don’t know that; my experience tells me that the most exclusive crowd is the one likely to harbour the mean kids. Statistics tell me that cultures of inclusion have lower rates of suicide.
My small boy is only in grade one but one of the values we are teaching him is that people are who they are, with all the joyous differences that make up the human race, and to be accepted as ourselves we must also be accepting of others. Children who treat others with respect and in turn are treated with respect are children who are secure enough to avoid falling prey to those who would manipulate them. Children in such a culture learn that when they are vulnerable, they have safe places to go. So…please explain.
I am already proud of my son’s group of friends, who include kids from a variety of cultures, colours, family structures and religions. I hope it lasts.
This is so good, I want to incorporate it, remember it and pass it on!
~ from a mom of 3 boys, ages 15, 13 and 9
Thank you so much Michelle! Assuming then you’ve seen the Teenage boy post? Looks like you’re right there with me! 😉 Much aloha!
I want to start by telling you that I found your amazing and inspiring blog while on the verge of a mommy break down! We are expecting baby boy number three in a few weeks and I feel like I’m second guessing all of my parenting skills. I’m wondering if this is normal?! I was certainty not as fearful going from one to two children. We have a 6 year old and 3 year old who are polar opposites. My three year old is 200%boy and is going though such a whinny and defiant stage. I feel like he’s always throwing toys or wanting to hit his brother. Having a hard time dealing with that. And It seems like my six year old is never wanting to do anything other than play the iPad and watch tv. If I raise my voice at him he thinks I’m “yelling!” I am soooooo ready to pull the plug on everything! What is a good time limit and way to say NO MORE ELECTRONICS? Any words of wisdoms is welcome! Mahalo 🙂
Do you have suggestions on #1, teaching to accept no with a submissive and content heart? I loved this and truly needed it! Thank you!
Thank you Michelle! I think a blog post will be coming in response to your question–It seems to be a very common request! :_)
The quick answer to that is set consequences, and consistency–Way easier said than done, but it truly works.
I’ll try to follow up with more on this subject. Bless you and aloha!
My son is only 2.5 so he isn’t ready for lots of this stuff YET, but I’m wondering if you have practical suggestions for how to teach him to accept ‘no’ with a submissive, content heart. I am consistent when I say no and I try not to overuse it but I would love for him to be more accepting of it.
Also, just letting you know I hope you do a toddler/preschool type post along this theme!
toddler-preschool post will be coming, thank you so much! 🙂 Meanwhile, just keep on keep’n on. : He’ll do all he can to wear you out, but be strong momma…(talking to myself here too! :))
much aloha and more soon!
Thanks Soooo much for posting this!! Follow up to the teens article! Passing this on!!
I loved the post on teenagers. I loved this post. And it all makes me wonder what you’d say for pre-schoolers. I have twin boys that are about to turn 3.
I love all the insights for what’s to come and I love your theme of open and respectful communication. That is important to me now and twins, with their own language, make it quite interesting.
Pre-schoolers post will be coming in the next weeks! 🙂 I’m w/ ya there since I have a four year old! Thanks so much for visiting! aloha
Do you have any suggestion on how to make #1 happen? My guy is 9 and is a really good kid, except when it comes to accepting the word ‘no’. (I thought it was meant to be when you listed that trait first.) He hems and haws and cries and whines to the point of making us crazy. I would so appreciate any tips on smoothing his attitude out a little! This was a great list!
Susan–thanks for the comment! Yes, it is tough. The best quick advice I can give is for you to have some set consequences in place, and let him know that from this time on there will be no arguing, manipulating, or complaining in response to a “no.” If he does any of that, then let him know to expect a swift consequence (lose a privilege, time alone, whatever you think will teach him the biggest lesson.) the hard thing is to then be consistent and follow through. It is worth it, but not easy! 🙂 Good luck and keep me posted! aloha
Thanks so much ur list helps!! I have most down but it’s so hard to raise a good kid in the society we live in now! I don’t let my son or daughter say stupid or shutup at home it’s a wrong choice of words but at school it’s normal they feel weird not to say it! I say keep it at school then! Lol it’s so hard really … I have 4 kids so it’s difficult to manage home kids and life all together I enjoyed the reading!! Thanks again!!
Thank you for this list! I really loved your prior list for Teen Boys and this follow up is great!
I have 3 boys (11, 8, and 5). I struggle so much with my 8 year old, and often feel that I am lacking in my parenting with him. He has a naturally feisty personality (dare I say, combative?) and it drains all of my energy to lead him towards better decision making; taking responsibility for his actions; and accepting our house rules. I am in total fear of what may be in store for me when he is a teen. I don’t want to blame his actions on that “middle child sydrome,” but then I can’t explain his intense emotional reactions to either not getting his way or being told he has to finish a task or chore.
My question to you is: When you are faced with a child who is defiant or obstinate, how do you defuse the tension of the situation while still holding to your principles (real life example: Child won’t do assigned chores or homework, which quickly escalates into a battle of wills.)?
Oh Barbara…I feel you on this one. In fact, one of the posts I’m really beginning to work on is focused on the middle child…because I do think there is a huge ‘natural’ factor there. I know from personal experience in this house! 🙂
Without knowing all of the details, my first thought is to have pre-established consequences clearly in place so that when that happens, you can keep your cool, and the rest of the household doesn’t have to suffer. You don’t want the disobedient one to end up getting attention for the behavior (which may be one of the underlying/subconsious goals.) Make sure it is more painful to disobey (not do chores or homework,) than to just do it. And when he does the right thing, LOTS of praise and pointing out how well that worked.
Good luck to you and stay tuned for more! 😉 Aloha
Hi did you write the post for a middle child?
MB–Sorry, I know I am out of order, but no–I saved the Middle Child post…Still coming soon. Hopefully in the next two weeks sometime. 🙂
keep checking! much aloha
Dear Barbara Ann,
Your description of your middle child sounds a lot like my son (who is first born) and has ADD and Asperger’s Sydrome. I have no idea if these conditions are relevant to your child, but if you haven’t considered them, perhaps you could read about them or seek input from a trusted doctor, counselor, etc. If he doesn’t, great! If your child does have a medical /emotional / behavioral condition, there are a lot of resources to help him, and you!! Such children simply do not respond to the typical parenting wisdom. Do not blame yourself! Seeking further information and resources will help everyone in your household. Good luck!
interesting input, Margaret. Thank you for your thoughtful contribution.
I certainly hadn’t thought of anything like that, so yes–Barbara Ann, if your son’s behavior is seemingly out of context for situations, I would recommend seeking professional evaluation.
Thanks ladies–we all need each other here! 🙂
Also look into ODD-Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Then look into Crisis Intervention training. It teaches you to look for signs that your going to have a struggle & get you to think differently. Is he bored, hungry, over stimulated? It also give you ways to handle it B4 you both are in “Crisis”.
I am a new step – mother of two boys ages 8 and 6. My six year old sounds just like your middle son! He’s a Jekyll and Hyde! With absolutely no parenting experience, only being the fun Auntie, and no help from their mother who hates me, I came across the Super Nanny show and website. It seemed nothing would work to diffuse his tantrums. We started giving him time outs like the Super Nanny suggested, and with persistence, consistency, and determination it worked! We also incorporated a rewards chart for chores and behavior. We address tantrums and inappropriate behavior immediately even if this means we need to leave an activity early or have a time out in public. We rarely have to give time outs anymore, just mentioning it with a point deduction from their rewards works wonders. He’s learning to change his behavior too. Whatever you end up implementing, don’t give up! Consistency is key! Good luck!
This was a great article! Providing a loving but structured home is important!
We have the SAME behavior from our 7yo. He’s an only child, for what it’s worth. He was recently labeled gifted (not to be confused with smart, but gifted is intelligent, emotional, AND defiant). We have lots of good areas, as long as he is happy, and are trying to work on the rough spots. But it drains my energy as well. I just wanted to let you known that you are not alone! 🙂
I know we are raising girls, but so much of what you said makes sense. I see some areas we need to improve on greatly and others we are doing pretty well in. The hardest part is trying to learn this stuff with kids that are older and not raised with all the values we would have used from birth. One is almost a teenager, next month, and the younger one thinks she is 25 and the boss at only 10. What a transition this has been and we aren’t even close to where I think we need to be. By the time we get there they will be out of the house and hopefully a little bit of what we try to do will be passed onto them. Great article Mon.
Kendall–You are doing amazing! You inherited a lot of baggage, and you’re pouring so much into them. Keep praying and loving and your built in structure will bring them the routine and comfort they need so much. Thanks for the nice words!
I have one son age 2. I would love tips on raising an only child that is a boy
Thank you Cherylyn…I’ll keep that in mind as I work on future posts. Meanwhile, give him lots of love while he is little, and let him discover all of the boys things…At two my youngest fell in love with all kinds of Excavator and Tractor Youtube videos put to music. They are hilarious. He would watch for as long as we let him! 🙂 stay tuned for more…aloha!
Thank you for this post!!!! I just shared it on Facebook, as I have a lot of friends who are also Moms to elementary-age boys (and girls!). This is helpful, sound advice, and I appreciate it. Tommy is our only child and it helps to hear this from a Mom who’s done it–and done it very well!–more than once. 🙂 What you said about someday missing these innocent years struck a chord in me. But it’s nice to know that the teen years, in some ways, can be even better, and the bonds (pardon the pun! 😉 ) that are formed now will make it easier to remain connected as the years go by…..just this morning we went to the grocery store together, and he was so helpful, and he took such pride in his work and I was sure to praise him. It made for a really pleasant outing for both of us!
Hi Monica! Great post. As a mom of two girls and a boy, I can attest to the fact that your list works equally well for girls. 🙂 I have one question for you. How did you handle saying no more often to the youngest child while starting to say yes more and more to the older children? I find myself saying yes to things at a younger age for my 6 year old than I did for his two big sisters. I feel conflicted about this and wonder if you went through this as well.
Aloha (from Baltimore…haha),
Wondering the same as Lori.
I struggle too, with saying more “no” to my 10yr daughter, whilst saying more “yes” to my 14yr old son.
I loved your article, Monica! Especially the part about guiding them to choose good friends. Such an important life lesson.
Stacy–Thank you! Yes, we have the same struggle and I am certain that our youngest is seeing and doing things that the brothers would have NEVER done at his age…:) It’s hard!! The main thing I try to do is use distraction technique–If the older siblings get to go somewhere or watch a movie, for example, I try to come up with something creative to make him feel special as well. This may need to be a future blog post! I’ll keep thinking on it for now. Good luck!
I tell my youngest that is a part of life. His siblings are older & when he is their age he will be able to stay up later & do more.
Thanks Lori! Oh you are not alone! Our little four year old gets in on all kinds of things that his siblings would have never! It is a tough one for sure! I try to be creative and distract the little one with offers that are more age appropriate when we are in this situation, but often both sides compromise. Older siblings get frustrated that I have to say “no” to some things (say a movie they want to watch,) and he feels like he can’t do what they do. It’s a challenge for sure. Perhaps a blog post ought to be written on this topic…I’ll keep thinking on it!:)
Thank you for this post. It will help me be more patient and understanding to my two boys, who are 11 and 9. We also have chosen to let our boys decide to choose their faith and we do answer any questions they have about God and Jesus, good and evil…and it can be many at times. ☺ We can only do our best to raise responsible boys and hope for the best.
fantastic monica! This ministry you the Lord is developing through you is going to help so many parents! I share your excitement with you! As a mom of two little boys, I already consider you somewhat of a mentor and look forward to keep learning from you!
What an incredible guide! I agree with each and every point.
We say no a lot-leaving something for the later years. This also, I believe, lays the ground work for money management. For example: We are going to the zoo today and will pack lunches and bring home no trinkets or toys; even though the friends going along may buy souvenirs. I simply explain to my boys that the trip to the zoo is the treat, and by saving money on lunches and soon to be forgotten toys, we will have money for other trips and experiences. I rarely, if ever, get any protest. Of course, I do occasionally surprise them with small treats likes ice cream or something truly unique to a location.
My husband is truly the parent that teaches our sons to stretch-learning back dive, climbing high like a monkey,riding a two-wheeler in pre-school… But, the sense of satisfaction in my sons’ eyes when they succeed is a true endorsement of the need for stretching a boy.
From a teacher’s point of view, I feel that along with teaching a boy the importance of work, we also need to teach them perseverance. It is natural for a child to call for help or give up when something is tough. However, if we praise a child’s effort and dedication to task, it’ll be no time before he takes great pride in completing a task independently and with much effort. Always best to praise the effort! My seven year old is working on this lesson currently.
I also work really hard to teach my children to choose kindness. Kindness with those in need. Kindness in regard to people who are different from us. Simple kindness toward his brother. Still working on this.
As always, your post was a meaningful part of my day and a great way to have my tea! Love the new site.
Thank you Shannon! SUCH great points—love them all. The zoo example is awesome. All of your thoughts…You’ve been a huge encouragement to me, so thank you as always for the kind words! aloha