Although an unpopular idea at the moment, it is clear from our experience that boys and girls are different. Now obviously individuals can be many things at different times and capability is not tied to gender but as a general rule, boys and girls are wired differently.
This doesn't make one better than the other of course, just different. And it is a wise mother (and father) that recognises this and celebrates those differences as opposed to trying to make them go away.
So here are some ways that boys (in general) are different and how you as a mum, can learn to harness those differences for the better.
Their brains work differently
Have you ever looked at your husband with exasperation and wondered just what they hell he is thinking? Have you ever wondered why it can be so hard to talk to him?
It's simply because his brain is wired differently.
And this is exactly why sometimes it's hard to understand what's going on in our son’s mind - because his brain doesn't work the same way as yours. First, they benefit from lots of movement while learning so it’s important for us to try to make their lives active.
Another important point is that boys generally have fewer pathways connecting the left and right hemispheres of their brain than do girls. This makes them think sequentially and less able to multi-task - remind you of hubby? If you find your son getting confused or forgetting what you’ve asked him to do, try giving him one thing to process at a time.
They need to move
It’s not unusual to see boys tapping pencils, bouncing feet, fiddling, pacing or squirming in their seats. This is because boys use movement to keep themselves awake and alert. Rather than having your son sit on a chair, consider getting him a ball chair. Or allow him to stand (we did that with Thing 1 and it changed dinnertime immensely). Give him something (like a fidget cube) to mess with while he works.
And if you want to have a conversation with your son, do something with him at the same time. Go for a walk, play catch, shoot hoops - just do something besides sitting there, staring at him.
They need us to believe in them
I don't know if you've noticed but we men have fragile egos. And like the delicate flower that is their father, boys need us to remind them that they are special - they need us to believe in them.
So be sure to use positive words with your son – not just for what he does but for who he is. When you tuck him into bed at night, remind him of the good you see in him. Our sons need our encouragement.
They will talk if we know how to listen
Ever had the experience where you ask your son a question and he says, “I don’t know” or “Fine?”. In general, females are much more verbal than are males (especially at Hugs HQ) so if you have a son who isn’t a talker, there are some things you can do to help draw him out.
Try to have a conversation with him while doing something. Rather than making him sit down and look you in the eye, go on a walk with him or throw a ball back and forth while you talk. Even as a Dad, it's what I do - a game of chess, shooting hoops, building lego - there needs to be a filter to allow conversation to happen.
Allowing activity while talking actually helps boys pay better attention to what you’re saying. And rather than asking them how they feel about something, ask them what they think about it.
They need us to respect them
Men want to be heroes and our sons are men in training. They have the same need for respect that your husbands have. Men have a desire to be great and a need to conquer this desire will cause them to want to compete with those around them to prove their worth. They love to have battles! They like to come out on top.
The positive side of this is that we can use their competitive spirit to help them want to improve and to grow. The downside is that our boys put a lot of pressure on themselves to be better than the next guy. So we need to allow our sons to have constructive outlets where they’re able to satisfy their competitive urges.
This is where team sports can play such a beneficial role in the lives of our boys. Boys who aren’t athletic can benefit from participating in science fairs, music competitions, chess clubs, boy scouts, and other competitive activities.
They learn best from natural consequences
Boys like to play rough, and as it can be difficult to watch. But boys learn by fighting each other. We want to intervene but our sons are just playing and having fun.
He warns about trying to keep our boys from experiencing any kind of harm. He says that our boys learn from natural consequences so much more than from lectures. We need to remember that if our son gets a scrape on his knee it isn’t going to kill him, and it will teach him to go about things differently next time.
Yes, sometimes it’s hard for mums of boys to understand what’s going on in their son's minds. And when we think of communication between husbands and wives, it’s very apparent that men and women just don’t think the same way. But when we attempt to learn about those differences and learn how to best connect with them, mums can be much more successful at building strong relationships with their son, helping them to feel confident and comfortable in themselves.