We sat around her kitchen table, sipping coffee and catching up. This lovely friend of mine is the mother of four, 3 girls and a little boy at the end. Her home dynamics are the polar opposite to my crew of 3 boys followed by a little girl.
We watched our younger two this day – her son and my daughter. He was a whirlwind of perpetual motion, not appearing to hear anyone, and surprisingly intense for having the appearance of a laid back little boy.
With an exasperated sigh, she admitted that she wasn’t sure what to do with him. She was doubting her ability to mother.
“He’s just so, so, so…. different.”
Truer words were never spoken. We live in confusing times when distinctions between the sexes are blurred. This is an attempt to make them appear all but eradicated. But boys and girls are very different and for mother’s especially, we need to recognize this. They don’t think or act like we naturally do.
Embracing Their Differences
As I relayed some of the differences between boys and girls to my friend that day, tears sprang to her eyes and she was filled with hope. He wasn’t deaf – boys just hear differently. Nor was he bad and she wasn’t a failure of a parent. He was simply different than his sisters.
If we want to raise godly boys who recognize and embrace the many ways they can make a difference in the lives of those around them, then we need to not only recognize their differences, but embrace them.
Boys long for adventure and they NEED to move. It’s why parents everywhere frequently say they parent from SON up to SON down – just in an attempt to keep them alive! God hardwired our boys for action and he has called them to be defenders and protectors of those around them. When we embrace these differences and inspire our sons to be everyday heroes, we help them to maximize their potential.
Our culture tells little boys to sit still, to be calmer and to be tame. Here we have an opportunity to embrace everything that makes our boys uniquely boy while setting boundaries. To be civilized they need these inherently wired traits. And as parents that is our job.
How to Embrace Boys Differences and Help Them Thrive!
Captivate them with good stories
The idea that boys will only read if we provide them with potty humor books is a myth. But that doesn’t mean they will want to read the same kinds of stories as our daughters. Bring in adventure stories, biographies, and non-fiction books about action-oriented reality.
Give them opportunity to move
Boys are intensely physical and as we give them healthy outlets for this boundless energy, they are in a place to more easily master the ability to have self-control for the calmer moments because they don’t have as much pent-up energy. When movement and play go hand in hand, it packs a powerful punch. Don’t just tell them what to do – let them DO IT!
Don’t vilify their weapon play
Just because a boy turns a stick into a sword or nibbles his pb&j sandwich into the shape of a gun doesn’t mean he will grow up to be some kind of violent psychopath. There is something deep in the heart of our boys that long to be the hero and as we give them good adventure stories, we shouldn’t be surprised when they take this into their pretend play. They are working out in their minds whether or not they have what it takes to be the hero – to step up in extraordinary ways. We don’t want to vilify this, but rather cultivate it and encourage our sons to be on the lookout for opportunities to be heroes.
Lay out expectations
From a very young age, boys long for respect. When we equip them to walk through life confidently, we help them to win respect! Linking expectations, obedience, and respect together as well as helping them understand your role to prepare them for life can be a game-changer.
Give them a vision
Boys long to be the hero. They want to step in and save the day. They want to live a life of purpose. In our home challenging them to live by the knight’s historic code of chivalry has provided a powerful framework that instills vision not only for the future but also lays out a plan to start living that out now.
We need a generation of mighty men – men who are strong in mind, body, and soul.
One whose hearts are captivated by the King and who stands strong in truth. We need a generation who radically loves and serves those around them. Embracing how our sons and daughters are different enables us to capitalize on what makes each child so special and unique as we help them grow up into all that God has for them!
How do you help your sons thrive?
Resource for Boy Moms:
Knights in Training -Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous, and Compassionate Boys by Heather Haupt of HeatherHaupt!
Heather Haupt is the mother of three knights-in-training and a spunky little princess. She wants to be intentional during these years of parenting and raise children who will make a difference in this world. Recognizing the brevity of childhood and the power of a parent’s influence, Heather both inspires and equips families toward intentional parenting, pursuing God, and delighting in the adventure of learning. She is the author of the book Knights-in-Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous and Compassionate Boys as well as The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks. She writes at www.heatherhaupt.com.