Saturday, December 15, 2012

Raising Boys

Yesterday's horrible tragedy got me thinking about how all the shooters in these mass killings are males. How can we, as the parents of THREE males, raise them so they don't take their frustrations and angst out on a group of innocent people?

In light of this, I've committed to the following:

Try to stop yelling. I'm a yeller. It's not my go-to volume, but I do it way more often than I'd like. I have to find another way to get through to my kids when frustration builds and yelling seems to be the only way to get my point across.

Hug these kids like crazy. Ok, I already do this, but in my mind, it also means to be more present with them. There are a lot of distractions, and I want to be more able to sit with the boys without thinking about what else I could be doing if the moment isn't 100% satisfying.

Be careful about what they take in, both in sight and sound. A friend whose husband is a Marine was talking about violent video games and the effects on the mind. Marines use games like that and other very violent simulations in order to desensitize the mind against the horror of violence against another human being. The idea is to condition the mind to see the enemy as not a person, but a target to be destroyed. So why are we letting our kids play these horribly violent games for fun? This might be our aim, and yet the aims of the game are otherwise. Recently, I was even watching a Spider-Man cartoon with Cole that was ridiculously violent. I couldn't believe it. For being superheroes, their situations are less than admirable. I realized that we are going to have to be diligent about keeping them away from negative input. My parents were pretty strict about this and now I completely understand why. I hope we can hold the line for our boys to protect them to some degree.

Figure out how to embrace and strengthen boyhood while allowing its expression in appropriate venues. I don't care if the boys play sports or like fairies or whatever, I want to support their "boyness" in whatever form it takes, and when there is potential for that to become out of control or explosive, find a good outlet. Cole comes to mind, as he is incredibly physical, energetic, and somewhat impulsive. Finding a good channel for all that will be a challenge. We're looking into getting him involved in martial arts, which actually would be good for all 3 boys. We need a plan and ways to build coping skills in them so they appropriately deal with their natural tendencies.

For those who have boys out there, I would recommend a blot that makes me happy just scrolling through it: Great ideas for activities, reflections, and my favorite, Fort Fridays. :) Check it out!

Dear God, thank you for these wonderful three little boys that you have given to us. Help us to raise them to become responsible, caring, and strong men who live to love you and serve others. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Y Mama said...

Love this! Lets talk martial Arts soon! XO

Anonymous said...

amen indeed. our little men deserve the best we can muster. i too can turn into a yeller, also agree with needing to be more present.