Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feeling Understood - a son's thoughts

   "Mom just doesn't understand!"
It's a common complaint I hear from boys - but what is their definition of "being understood?"


Let's start with your own emotions - how would you feel if someone had power over what you could and could not do - and didn't understand what was happening in your life? You'd feel frustrated, depressed, angry; have you seen any of those characteristic in your son?


Understanding that a person IS going through difficult times does not mean we have to understand WHAT those difficulties are. In other words; just knowing someone has compassion concerning what we are experiencing is tough and acknowledging it - shows compassion for what we are going through. I can tell someone with a broken leg, "man, that really stinks to not be able to walk for a week." Shows compassion - even if I've never had a broken leg.


I find boys really respond to a simple statement that; "it's really tough to deal with teachers or school or girl friends"; but NOT saying, "I understand" which is implying I have gone through what they are going through; None of us have ever gone through the exact circumstances another person is experiencing and especially a mother talking to a teenage son. But saying it must be tough and even though you've never experienced it; you know it must be rough is something they will hear. If you try this approach you will see a look of appreciation in their eyes.


Remember the BAM program - THEY HEARD YOU - your son will probably not respond "oh, thank you mom". But they did hear you and do appreciate the fact you are trying to "understand" the toughness of this period of time in their lives.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

STAYING "TOUGH"

   Moms disciplining a son can be emotionally tough.
Keep in mind your child KNOWS this and often takes advantage of it.
How do you balance loving with being tough? One important element is to not let the situation get so out of control that you are disciplining from a state of emotion. This means reacting with a punishment before your child gets the "power" to push your buttons.
Then you are disciplining from a logical - thought through - stance which will keep the emotion out of it and help you to stay in control.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BAM at Eagle Nazarene Church Wed 7pm

BAM presentation at Eagle Nazarene Church Wednesday at 7pm
Come join us for a free program and a discussion group afterwards

RAISING FEMININE BOYS

  To a mom being feminine is a wonderful thing; but should a mom raise her son to be feminine like she is?
Children mimic and copy what they hear and see parents do. So it is not surprising that divorce has created a generation of men who are insecure about being masculine.
What is "being masculine"? What is the positive roll model of masculine? The words mom used on the BAM DVD are: protective, self sacrificing, responsible, provider.

Finding male mentors that represent that roll model is a mom's key job in helping her son become a masculine man. Pointing out examples of men who represent those characteristics to her son can help him see what you are encouraging him to become. Have you, as a mom, ever taken the time to consider what masculine characteristics you would like to see in your boy when he grows into a man? Like everything, a boy does not automatically become a man, he grows into that position. If he's not encouraged to grow into a man, what motivation is there for him to work at building that character? When I develop discussion groups on "helping your boy become a man", there is a lot of negative emotion from women ranging from anger to disgust. The John Wayne image Hollywood portrays, is not the "man", we are talking about. Let's list a few key words: .
1. Responsibility 2. Truthfulness 3. Accountability .
Much of the anger from women in these groups, is because a male who calls himself a man, just because he's over 21, has not demonstrated any of these characteristics. These have to be taught. But a man sees this a lot differently than a woman as we discuss in the BAM work book. There is also a rebellion when the woman wants responsibility from the male as a means of getting what she wants. If you are teaching it to manipulate your son to become a person who suits your feminine ideals, he will see through that and rebel. So often the boy who is acting out is rebelling from the WAY the woman is trying to teach him how to full-fill these three key words. These three key words should be about every day life, school, how they treat friends, how they play games. .
The phrase "be a man" or "man-up", are used by fathers to often point out this behavior, such as; not taking out the trash as accountability, uses the male ego as to "who" they are, and how they should act, to demonstrate that they are "a man". So as a mother, it is important to guide and direct a son using terms and conditions that indicate that being masculine is being responsible, telling the truth and doing what they said they were going to do. .
A boy has an inherent desire to be a man just as a girl as an inherent desire to be a woman. But if a woman is the only roll model, angrily states, "men are pigs", because a male let her down, the boy becomes embarrassed at his inherent desire to become a man. The damage is extremely hard to repair in the male psyche. If your father told you as a little girl that woman are pigs...what would that have done to your desire to become a woman? The end result is a boy wanting to mimic the roll model he sees, that mom does not consider "bad". .
I have worked in juvenile detention centers with boys dealing with this issue. And although it is not popular in modern culture, there is a man in the Bible who was a clear example of masculine, and responsible, by the name of Jesus Christ. This is the roll model I point to. Courage, strength, masculine, kind and caring, but in all ways a man.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Back to School

  The Mystery Time
School becomes a vacuum our children disappear into and a mystery as to what is happening to them in that extreme social environment.
They come home from school, slam the door, we ask them how their day went and they mumble, "fine".
What is really happening for over half their day. This is where most of the problems in a teenagers life happen but we you have no way of knowing what that is.
How do we help them?
Instead of asking questions (which they don't want to answer); talk about situational stories. Jesus always used a story about someone else to break down the barriers.
An example would be to discuss a news story. Something dramatic such as the sad shooting we had last week at a school. Talk about the story. Sometimes your teenager will chime in with comments themselves. Or you may use the opportunity to ask if a students ever made a comment they heard.
Trust that you will NOT react is critical if you want them to open up. The less you react the more they open up.