Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Challenge of Raising Boys

Photo via U.S. National Archives
What concerns you the most about parenting boys? 

As you know, I tend to draw on my own experience here at Blogging 'Bout Boys. But your experiences might be different -- or they might be awfully familiar, which will make the rest of us feel a whole lot better!

Right now, I'd say my top 3 boy-raising concerns are:

1) Respect. I want my boys to learn to treat men and women, young and old, with respect, and I'd like that respect to show in their words and deeds. Overall, my boys are respectful and polite children, but we still have a ways to go, particularly when it comes to respecting each other! (Please tell me my boys aren't the only ones who like to trash talk one another!)

2) Strict limitations on physical activity and play in schools. My sons' school no longer allows the kids play touch football at recess. Or soccer. If it's too cold or nasty outside, the kids stay in for recess -- in the auditorium, where they are allowed to walk laps. My boys (and yours, I'd guess) need more activity than that. They need room and freedom to move. I understand school administrators' concerns regarding student safety, but I think their concerns are overblown. On a population-wide level, I think we do our boys far more harm by requiring them to remain still and safe most of the day.

3) A sex-and-alcohol-saturated culture. We live in Wisconsin, a state that perpetually bests others in binge drinking and heavy alcohol consumption. Here, it's not uncommon to see adults guzzling beer at a softball game, whether it's their game (yes, I've seen guys drinking beer in dugouts) or their kids' games (yes, I've seen adults drinking beer at 9 am on a Sunday at the Little League game). Add that to a culture that routinely objectifies women and thrusts sexual images at our kids at every opportunity, and you can see why I'm concerned. I want my boys to grow up free of addiction. I want them to be emotionally and physically healthy. Given our environment, though, that's an uphill battle.

Huh. If I'd drawn up that list just a few years ago -- say, when I started this blog -- I can guarantee that it would have looked different. Earlier in my parenting career, "guns" or "weapons" definitely would have made the list. Today? I don't even bat an eye when my kids pick up a plastic weapon. 
Sex and alcohol wouldn't have made the list a few years ago either. But now, I have a teen. And a tween. And a 6-year-old who watches for hot girls. I guess my concerns are growing along with my boys!
 What about you? What are your Top 3 Boy-Raising Concerns?


  1. The sex saturated culture is a big one for me, too. And your #2 reason is one of many that we homeschool.

    A huge one for me though is today's trend of just not growing up. Not that I plan on kicking them out the door when they turn 18, but I do want them to have goals and strive to be independent and responsible a little more as each birthday passes.

    1. Reason #2 is the biggest problem I have with school. I LOVED that my kids could move as needed when we homeschooled, and it's very, very hard for me to put up with those kinds of restrictions when I know how important movement is to boys' (and girls') well-being and learning.

      I'm trying to work within the system to get some changes made, but it's tough (and exhausting!).

  2. Gosh in a way I have many but the first 3 would prob be

    1) To raise my son to resepect women. No means no and ladies should be treated that way. His conception alone scares the heck out of me and I think so much how important it is we raise him to respect women big small fat tall whatever they must be respected.

    2) To raise a boy that is not lazy. I watch so many friends with uneployed lazy husbands and they will rave about how amazing he is. But an amazing man works hard for his family not gamblin their life away playing poker every night. And we live in such a lazy society , people completely dependant and content on welfare and handouts.

    3) Last one goes along with the second to not have a sense of entitlement. 4 year olds with ipads, whatever they want when they want , i want my son ( and daughter for that matter actually) to know that life is not handed to them and to work hard and be appreciative for the things they have

    1. I love this quote: "an amazing man works hard for his family not gamblin their life away playing poker every night." So true!

      For the record, I know your husband and he's a pretty amazing man. ;) (Full disclosure to all blog readers: He's my brother) Your son has a living, breathing example of a respectful, hard-working, grateful man in his life every day, and I think that will make all the difference.

  3. Respect.
    Work ethic--somewhat like what Just Believing said.
    Self worth/internal sense of value instead of from outside sources.

    1. Great list! We all want such simple and wonderful things for our sons -- but they can be so hard to teach and instill.

  4. I agree with them all, but I would say respect, social skills and work ethics would be my top 3.....