Encouraging Boys - Self Esteem

2013-04-10 10:28

We’ve all seen the articles written to boost self esteem of little girls, the ones where we correct ourselves as mums in order to create a brighter future for them, and so that they can compete in the world with BIG BAD BOYS.

I’ve even written one myself too.

BUT WHAT ABOUT BOYS?

The world out there is filled with spunky ladies who could quite easily be considered for the same career opportunities. They have to embark on the journey of dating, meeting the right girl, falling in love, getting married, you name it they have to do it too.

Boys can just as easily fall victim to a domineering female… or male… and their egos are easily damaged.

So what do we do to encourage them?

I’ve experienced this with my son and I think giving them an “emotional vocabulary”  is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Boys don’t talk about things as easily as girls do, and when they do it usually comes out jokingly; making it seem like they know more than they actually do. It’s their protection mechanism. Having an open line of communication with your boy and allowing him to understand that saying that he feels angry, upset, frustrated, lonely or happy is OK. Emotion is not only for girls…

This brings me to LISTENING. Once we let them know that it’s okay to express their emotions, they will need a set of ears to download those feelings. Of course as mothers we all want our kids to speak to us personally; so we need to be available and they need to feel comfortable telling us. We have to remember that we are GIRLS and there are just some things that you can’t talk to girls about. That is when you make sure that they speak to a responsible male who isn’t going to lead them down the garden path so-to-speak.

A little trick about listening and letting him know that he is worth your time and worth listening to; when he talks to you stop what you are doing – look at him and as silly as it seems – repeat what he said. It reinforces the fact that you care.

Life can’t be all work all the time. So spend time doing HIS THINGS. You know, BOYS THINGS. Do things that he enjoys. My son said to me after watching the “Don’t tell mom” advert on TV that he wished we could do something and say afterwards “Don’t tell dad”. Then I explained that we in fact do it all the time. Sorry dad! OOPS and sorry my boy he kinda knows now…

PRAISE HIM – don’t wait for him to do something special, just tell him that he did great doing any little thing. Not every boy will be great at sports, it is important to let him find something that he loves. Pushing him to take part in every after school activity isn’t going to help an undecided boy; it will only allow his academics to suffer. Let him be honest with you and support him with the things he enjoys doing.

HELP HIM REALILSE HIS STRENGTHS – remembering that being kind, helpful or sensitive are strengths too. Help him to be himself and encourage those things! Keep in the back of your mind that society has a picture of the typical male, but nothing is set in stone. Your son doesn’t have to grow into the rugged and manly Marlboro Man, he can be sensitive and still be as manly. Some parents believe that sensitive boys are homosexual. It’s a controversial subject I know – there is nothing wrong with having a sensitive boy child. By allowing him to express his feelings, you are allowing him to notice others sensitivities – and in doing that; you’re raising a boy who will treat his future partner the way they deserve to be treated. The rugged and manly types have feelings too, rugged and manly is only an exterior image…

And lastly PRAISE YOURSELF, because in doing so you are teaching him to praise himself!

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