Monday, November 28, 2011

Mom - I don't want to go to church

Another common question in our seminars is what to do when a teenage son state's he doesn't want to go to church anymore.

I think we need to start with looking at it from your son's point of view.

To begin with; we see too many examples of young men who went to church doing just as badly as those who never went into a church. So the real problem and question that needs to be answered is WHY they are going to church. If it's to please mom or out of duty...they are not going to listen and they are not going to get anything out of it. Just as God gave us free choice and does not force anyone to worship Him...so we have to give the young man free choice once he's reached a certain age. This was the bar mitzvah in the Jewish tradition. When a young man was declared able to make a choice of going to church or not. A great book that covers this is The Differance a Father Makes

So there are two points:
One - an age needs to be set when the young man can make his own choice.
Two - he needs to be going to church for the right reason; it is far more important to discuss the WHY of going to church vs the duty of going to church.

We really can not force morality or a relationship with God onto anyone; all we can do is guide and point out the consequences.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Getting Boys to Read


Boys at age eight on start to get interested in frogs, snakes, war movies and things that turn mom off.
So when mom goes to buy a book for her son that she thinks is good...well; now we know why boys don't read books.
Boys need books that are fast action, adventure and less emotion.
If you want them to read - you need to find books they will WANT to read.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hopeless

The news gave an interesting and sad statistic that the most frustrated people in our society are young men 18 to 24. They feel hopeless and unable to find a way to succeed in this economy.
If you watch the news; you know just how depressing and hopeless it sounds everyday. If your son is not already experiencing this; he probably will be soon. So what can we say or do to help them through this time?

When I'm working with boys and men in the detention facilities it is ten times as bad because they already have a bad mark on them and usually have poor educations and little to no support. My answer to them is to look back at history. To look at the depression or the Oklahoma dust bowl and how under the worse adversity; people found a way. Faith and God had a great deal to do with their ability to continue forward. The Bible is 3/4 history, why? Because we need to be reminded how God came through and how people survived tough times to be blessed later in their lives. This is where hope comes from. The reminder of what has happened in the past and how we can get through it.

My mother had been through the depression, World War and five sons; her first response to adversity was, "we will survive this too." That came from remembering how she had made it through to see better days. A teenager has never experienced that so they think it's the end of the world. Share and direct your son to stories and situations where people have come through tough times to help build their hope.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winter things for boys to do...


We talk a lot about alternatives to video games and television and of course reading is an area we want to encourage for imagination and thinking. With that in mind I'm going to take a second to plug the Christian Action Adventures I sponsor for boys.
Two things; one is they can read the Boardunders series, answer the questions on the books and get a free Boardunders t-shirt.


second is encouraging them to try and write a Christian Action Adventure Book and I will publish it for them if they win the writing contest.
If you contact me at the www.christianactionadventures.com web site I'll send the first book of either series for free and guarantee your son will read it...I feel that strongly that this is a ministry that is important.
David and Goliath was a Christian Action Adventure story and boys remember the message!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

MAN tasks

One of the casualties of the "sexist" movement was a boy's identification as a man. We are so scared to sound sexist that we work especially hard to not support or distinguish the role of manhood.
Let me caveat that with the fact I feel strongly that girls should be allowed and encouraged to be able to work and play sports without discrimination.
However on the other side of that; we have ignored that young boys take pride in doing a "man's" job.
Pumping Gas is a good example - of course the girl can do it. But watch a young boy run out and pump the gas for mom with his shoulders back in a sense of pride that he's "man" enough now to do it. That reaction and attitude is a healthy thing that boys need to feel good about them selves. Don't be afraid to encourage and support your son with "man" jobs even if they are not limited to men.
A example in the BAM program is asking a young boy to take out the trash but using the phrase, "let's see you use some of those man muscles and get that big load of trash to the curb son." He'll love that recognition and react to it in a positive way.
Don't be afraid to encourage your son to be a man.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My boy wants to be a girl

This has been a really rough subject of conversation in our BAM programs: half of the seminars we have done have had a mother come up with this as an issue.
It is really difficult to have any correct response without knowing the circumstances. If a boy has an older sister he admires - he may simply be seeing her as a roll model. Perhaps even a strong mother figure has had the same affect.
The age is a major factor; take out the hormones, as with young boys, and they may just be going through a phase of experimenting.
There is no "answer". The most important consideration is how the adult and siblings react. In this day and age of pro-homosexuality (which my stance is that I do not agree with) the first response from people often is the boy is a homosexual. The child is extremely impressionable about "who" they are. If everyone tells them they are a homosexual - then they will presume they must be. Even if they have no interest in sex with other men (I know that is a harsh statement but we play around with this subject with the word gay etc. and I believe we need to spell out the behavior for the truth of what it is).
So not over reacting or labeling is the most important "lack" of reaction to take.
The next issue brought up is; My boy thinks he's gay. Again - Your reaction is critical. Your ability to discuss what they are feeling and why they are making that statment is very important. Don't be afraid to let your son work through thoughts and feelings. Emotions often stem from circumstances and things that have happened to them; let them discuss and talk about their past to find out what is going on. If you can't; find a counselor that can. However I will warn that you need to have a very personal interview with a counselor and find out what their view is before allowing them to possibly manipulate your sons thoughts. Do not work with a counselor who will not share their opinions and personal beliefs.
I have had many 13 to 17 year old boys in the Detention Centers come to me stating they believe they are gay because they have these feelings about other boys in the center. The first thing I always do is state what my stance is and point out that other people have other opinions. Once that is understood I tell them they can listen to my view point and others and then should make their own decision. At which point you are free to give them your thoughts without having to be politically correct.
My stance is that I believe the Bible. We take time to read through Romans Chapter One - but I do not stop at vs 27 but continue through to vs 32 where we see people who are proud, full of envy, violent, boasters, even dis-obedient to parents and ask if these people feel this is something they want to do...do they choose to do it? So the truth is we all have sinful thoughts and desires but it is what we CHOOSE to do with those thoughts.
They can consider that stance vs the stance of someone who states they can't help their behavior it is just who they are. You get the idea.
God gave us the choice - so it is not our duty to force a behavior but to make sure the boy understands what the choices are.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Who are your Sons friends?

There is a frightening statement made by a mother in the BAM DVD; "your son will grow up like the people they hang around."
You meet your sons friends but what do you really know about them?
You know they have a "front" up when they are around you (front: a facade of how they think you want them to behave). But what do they really say and do when you are not around.
A "front" can not be kept up forever - so the best way to find out more about them is to spend more time with them. Take them to the movies, take them to ball games, take your son and his friends to as many places where they will become so involved they will drop their front and you'll know their true behavior.
Now comes the tough part - what if this is a person you DO NOT want your son hanging with?
One tool to direct "who your son hangs with," is to be honest about the behavior you don't like. Then reward; with movies, ball games etc., your son and the friends you DO like.
I'm sure you are aware that as soon as you say you don't like one of your sons friends he will get extremely defensive and argumentative. Don't get into that argument; simply state you just wanted him to know. Then state you don't mind taking him to events with friends who do not have bad behaviors. Your son then has the choice; hang with the bad kid or have fun outings with the good kid. Kind of tough discipline but I have dealt with hundreds of boys who were misled by the bad kid. I'd rather be tough now in the small things than deal with the consequeces.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dealing with the Bully


Unfortunately bullies usually have a group around them that they are trying to impress. This group is often the real problem.
So how does your son deal with this as a victim...as a spectator...or even the bully?
Tough questions because none of us want to think of our son as someone able to bully or to provoke bullying. But it must happen because they are always there.

As a Victim; what tools can you suggest to your son? Consider giving them a series of "tools" and label them that way for your son.
1. Avoid: Try to avoid the situation
2. Redirect: Redirect the bullies attention to something else such as playing ball etc.
3. Encourage: Statements such as "be cool man" toward a bully or "man you're going to be tough in football this year" are statements building the self confidence that is making the bully try to prove himself.
Every situation is different but you have to start somewhere. Doing nothing keeps the bully on track which always escalates the situation.

As a Spectator : Teaching a principle early on that watching the crime is just as guilty as doing it could change our world. There are plenty of bully situations that we allow. Case in point is a very popular TV series NCIS where the "newby" is constantly insulted and degraded. This is bullying but the characters in the cast including the boss do nothing to stop it. Great situation to point out to your son and ask, "would you like me to allow people to do that to you everyday?" All the co-workers would have to do is simply say, "that is way un-cool, why do you bully him like that?" This is all your son is responsible to do as a spectator. Remember the bully wants to elevate themselves so if the behavior lowers them it starts to reverse.

As a Bully: In the above NCIS example the character doing the bullying would never consider himself a bully. This is how all bullies see themselves. So defining bullying with your son is very important.
The Bible narrows it down to "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." Pretty simple rule that could stop all bullying.

No matter what your thoughts on the subject are...you need to discuss it with your son!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Boys relationships with girls

I think we have all discovered in our lives that relationships are a "learned" experience.
Who we trust and who we share our lives with often is learned by trials and  mistakes.
Boys start their relationships with the "girl race" as a cootie infested, doll playing alien - then they hit their teenage years and hormones drive them to want to know more about this alien they used to ignore.
This is a critical time for moms to tactfully share what the "girl race" is all about. What girls think, what they are looking for in a boy, the fact girls have much different emotions.
Now MOM has information they need - but no son wants to look at mom as a girl. So it needs to be done in subtle comments as we talk about in the BAM work book. You have the power to help direct and guide them toward a girl and can help them avoid pitfall mistakes.
My Grandmother had a great line she used on my cowboy uncles who would say (after several divorces), "why can't I find a gal like dear old mom." Her response was, "because dear old mom wasn't found on a bar stool."
VERY POWERFUL comment that stuck in my mind; as it was told years later to me; during my teenage years...
As I like to remind Moms in our discussion groups; remember that you are directing him toward your new daughter-in-law!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Boys and video games

Are video games dangerous for boys?

We need to start with WHY boys want to spend hours in front of video games.
Key word here is ACTION. They are wired and designed to be DOING something. Before video games they ran around the yards or fields playing make believe.
We have a culture that has created the enclosed subdivision where boys running around is frowned upon. So where do they get their ACTION FIX? Now it's in the TV screen.
Is that unhealthy? Anything and everything in excess is unhealthy. If the choice is between sitting and watching a TV show versus interaction that uses the mind...well at that point the video game is probably a better choice. BUT...we have to make the effort to find other ways to satisfy that ACTION FIX.
YMCA, Boys and Girls club, church groups and other programs are very inexpensive with a goal to try and find interactive interesting alternatives to the addiction from video games.
Find those alternatives and you'll be rewarded years later with a son who is more balanced in his ability to interact socially and be more healthy.

PS: Please share your thoughts - I personally stopped blogging when the interaction stopped happening on BAMMomTools. Recently several Moms asked me why and I stated that the interaction was what I was really looking for. I guess that is not necessarily how Blogs work but I really do want your thoughts.