Contrary to popular opinion in our modern society, boys and girls are wired differently. God has created men for different purposes than women. This isn’t to say that men are better than women or vice versa. Just different. And we would be wise to recognize these differences and to celebrate them rather than trying to pretend that they aren’t there or trying to make them go away.
I was fortunate to hear Dr. Gregory Jantz on a recent Focus on the Family episode talking about his book, Raising Boys by Design. Dr. Jantz is a licensed mental health counselor who advocates treating the whole person rather than just their symptoms. His book is based on the latest brain science research as well as on timeless truths from the Bible.
During the program, Dr. Jantz said that if we want our boys to become all that God has created them to be, it’s important for us to understand how we can best connect with them and nurture their God-given talents and abilities.
Some of the points Dr. Jantz spoke about were new to me. Some of them corroborated points I’ve been trying to make on my blog for a long time. But all of his advice was extremely useful when it comes to understanding our sons and how best to relate to them. There are always exceptions to every rule, however these qualities are good starting points when we are trying to better connect with our sons.
Here are 8 Important Things to Understand About Our Sons:
1 – Their brains work differently
Sometimes, it’s difficult for us moms to understand what is going on in our son’s mind, and that is because their brains don’t work the same way that ours do. First, they benefit from lots of movement while they are learning. It’s important for us to try to make their lessons active. Give them plenty of brain breaks. And we should try to keep their lessons on the shorter side rather than droning on and on.
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. 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. Keep it simple.
2 – They need to move
It’s not unusual to see boys tapping their pencils, bouncing their foot, fiddling with objects, pacing the floor, 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. Allow him to have an object in his hands to mess with while he does his work.
If you want to have a conversation with your son, do something with him at the same time. Go for a walk, play catch, do something besides just sitting there and staring at him.
3 – They need us to believe in them
Males have fragile egos. They need us to remind them that they are special and that God has a plan for their lives. They need us to believe in them.
Be sure to speak positive words over your son – not just for what he does but for who he is. When you tuck him into bed at night, remind him that God has designed him a specific way for a purpose. Our sons need our encouragement.
4 – They benefit from mentors
Boys learn so much from their parents, however, they also benefit greatly from non-family members who are willing to speak truth into their lives. This can come from a coach, a pastor, or a trusted friend. When a boy has a mentor who can see value in how God made him, this can increase his confidence immeasurably.
It’s also extremely beneficial for parents to have someone else backing up what they are trying to tell their sons. You want the coolest people they know to agree with your values. Be intentional about helping your son to form these kinds of relationships.