Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Raising Boys

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that girls think, act and develop very differently than boys.  But with the increasing number of fatherless homes, many boys are being raised by mothers who are completely baffled by the problems they encounter in raising their sons.  A few US based statistics I came across are alarming:  

Boys are four times more likely to commit suicide than girls.
67% of all special education students are boys.
71% of school suspensions are given to boys.
Boys are ten times more likely to be diagnosed with ADD.

Boys are falling behind in school aptitude tests compared to girls, and high school dropouts are overwhelmingly boys.

But one thing we won't see, are boys openly talking about how they feel neglected, overlooked, rejected, misunderstood.  And we'll never see that, because that kind of open expression is not a part of their make-up.  Call it programming by society, but I believe it's a part of the way God created the male gender to be less emotive than females.

Boys can easily hide depression and low self-esteem under a tough exterior that can fool their own family.  That's when you see outbursts of irrational anger, violent, aggressive or excessively sexual behavior appear from the creature that used to be that sweet little boy.  When the frustrations keep growing, there has to be some sort of outlet, and most of the time it's negative.

But these are the  young men that God created to lead and provide for families, to be innovators, creators of new ideas, conquerors of unknown territories.  They are made the way they are, for a good reason, but they need to be understood and nurtured with their different needs in mind.

I know it's impossible to generalize, but I am going to anyway, because most, (not all) but most boys are kinetic or spatial learners.  That's fancy psycho-talk for the fact that boys love to learn things hands-on and see for themselves just how things work.

Trying to force a kinetic child to learn by memorizing a text book over and over may get them to pass a test, but won't necessarily get them to remember any of it the next day.  But make it come alive by actually doing something about it with their hands, and seeing it work, and the practical lesson becomes unforgettable.

Teaching times tables by memorizing numbers was the way I was forced to do it, but my kids had a blast when I opened up a box of macaroni and separated them into groups and had them show me what 9x7 really looked like.  We'd talk about when you would need to know these answers in real life, and then the memorization of the cold facts became much more fun and easier.  I had to use my musical skills to come up with a funny tune to each times table, which I find myself using even now after all these years!

Teach about the rotation of the earth and the tilt of it's axis and use a flashlight and an orange, use a ping pong ball for the moon, and start spinning through space.  It's fun and it registers in his memory and best of all he knows you're right there with him in it all.  A boy who normally acts like he doesn't care about anything could all of a sudden show amazing ability when a neighborhood friend teaches him how to repair a car, how to work out a computer program, how to build or create something on his own.

Boys also often need a brain break where they can run off their energy, kick a ball around, get all out of breath and pump themselves up with oxygen, before they can hit the books again to finish their work.  If they are told to go straight to their rooms after school to finish their homework, though some might do just fine, others will stare at the walls because they need a brain break and a good shot of oxygen.  Then mom yells at them for being lazy and irresponsible, then they hate school even more, then they're compared to their disgustingly perfect sister who gets straight A's, then they're convinced they must be stupid and worthless and before you know it they're taking out their frustrations in very negative ways.

There are many more differences between raising boys and girls, and this is just one.  Give me your ideas, and I'll be sharing mine too.

      

23 comments:

Izamar Romero said...

these are great ideas for my brother =)

Aurore Desvarieux said...

We all know that boys and girls are differents, but I've never seen those differences: now I understand a lot of things about my 3 brothers...

Sibon said...

Very interesting post Mrs Evelyn. Part of what you wrote was like reading about my own brother. It is true, boys and girls are very different and therefore cannot be dealt with in the same way. My brother is very clever and intelligent but has no interest in academic stuff. He aught himself how to fix computers by the time he was 16 and whenever I need help with anything like that I go straight to him. One thing I have noticed about my brother is that he is starting to open up more and share things with me. Through laughing and joking and watching sports, I notice he starts to say things about what he is going through.

Bianca Lima said...

Boys and girls are really different! I know it because i have an older brother. He doesnt hide from me what he feels or what he thinks. This post helped understand more about boys.

Bianca Moctezuma said...

These are good ideas, Mrs. Evelyn, especially because i have 3 brothers, and well i want to know how to deal with them.

léia said...

The world of boys and quite complicated, so I thought it was girls, plus they also have their conflicts, and reading all that they can see how treatment with antiarrhythmic someone to help and understand their world.This post helped understand more about boys.

Betty said...

I agree with you about boys not being more academic than girls. I realised this with my cousins because there is no boys in my family.When it comes to practical things their memory becomes really sharp.They know how to fix things even without doing any studies about it.And for them to tell how they are feeling is really hard.It's a good point when you said "Boys can easily hide depression and low self-esteem under a tough exterior that can fool their own family". And its true that boys are more aggresive unlike girls who always express their feelings.It must be really hard to for people who don't know God for them to raise boys.

Betty
UK

Natalia said...

thanks so much I have a 5 month baby, and I am learning as much as I can so I can teach him and show him the fun way to learn, thanks again Mrs. Evelyn.

Edith said...

My little brother found it difficult to be interested in school after kindergarten, and I was the straight A sister :( so when my mom compared us, he felt even worse. But I never bragged to him about myself, I just helped him the few times I saw him struggle until he was comfortable enough to come straight to me as soon as he was having difficulty.

Thus creating a trusting environment also may help the guy talk, especially since he was the only boy at the time and the youngest.

Maura Carolina Olivera said...

Well. Mrs Evelyn, I dont have kids, but I have a brother and sometimes he drives us crazy. My mind knows that he is a boy and is necessarily different from us (the three sisters), but he stills drives us crazy with his attitudes. I think this blog helps me to understant him a little bit more.

missleon said...

Mrs Evelyn, I find this blog extremely helpful. I have two brothers and have to say that, sonce I spent most of my childhood growing with my sisters and mother, I found it difficult to deal with living with boys. At times I have become frustrated with my brothers, because I misunderstand their behaviour to be lazy or unfocussed, but this really helps me to have a better understanding of the way boys are!

Tania said...

I have noticed this pattern in the kids from Kids Zone. The boys like to be loud and active, while the girls can just sti there and color for the whole night. We need to learn how to treat not only each kid individually, but also know that boys anf girls learn in different ways.

Clari Emeli said...

As a teacher I see this difference constantly in the classroom. Boys and girls are stimulated differently but both respond well to encouragement and praise.

s.hamy_ said...

This is very interesting. To educate a girl is something and to educate a boy is another thing. This will help parents to educate their children well. I really like your ideas.

Lillian said...

This is also something I had to learn when taking care of my brothers. At first I thought that just because I liked to learn things a certain way, or to do certain things, play certain games, etc, he would too. When I would help him with his school work I would try to teach him they way I had learned, which for me was a good way, but it wasn't until I learned that boys are very different and started helping him with methods that appealed to him that I saw him actually learning and having fun. Thanks for this post, it's very helpful for everyone who works with kids in any way.

Maritza Barr said...

Very interesting article. I had no idea that statistically boys are more likely to commit suicide. I always thought I'd be females, simply because they are more emotional.

Your right boys are very different from girls. I can understand why my cousins (who are boys) always were just bad in school and complained that they needed a break. Its interesting how we are wired completely different. :-)

jessica aguilar said...

I'm excited because my son is only 2yrs old and he learns so fast! I'm planning to put my son in advance classes this year, and thanks to this blog, now i will know how to understand my son, in the way if he needs to learn hands on or if he just needs a break. This will also help me stay close to him, so that he wont feel neglected, or misunderstood. thanks for you help. :)

Ligia said...

Mrs, Evelyn,

I have a 1 1/2 son and he's already like that full of energy always wants to figure it out on his own, very curious, your practices are great because many mother's don't take the behaviors of their boys to the level of actually sitting down and finding a creative approach to teaching them to learn or understand a story. the attention spand of a child is not much so we as mother's as well as Kids Zone teachers always need to find another approach to teach the boys with hands on examples, it makes them a better child overall with more desire to learn.

natalie mdonga said...

interesting post.i may not have children but your fun blog Mrs. Evelyn is good for the future and for me to understand my brother more and take good care of him.it also helps understand males in general and not get angry as we women do.thank you

Sandra Cruz said...

Raising boys is very different from raising girls! And that is a fact that every mother and educator should be aware of that reality.

mariel gomez said...

Very nice post. its so true how boys and girls are very different expecially on the way they deal with things, because in my family there was only girls,inclusive i only have one sister and now that my son is getting bigger the difference is so clear...this post will defenetly help me more for when my son gets bigger.thank u so much mrs.Evelyn

A.S. said...

I agree. However, convince me, through data, that boys differ from girls in a way which can be misunderstood. What I mean is, show me how a kinetic boy can be mis-diagnosed as a trouble maker.

AS
http://starkravingmanager.com

Sabrina Durant said...

Thank you first of all for this blog because it is really teaching me about how I can be a better mother for my son as I am a single mother. It is quite easy to forget that boys learn differently from girls. I now know what to do to get my son to learn better and be a better child all round.