12 Tips for Raising Confident Boys

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Confident boys are boys who don't seek permission to be themselves. They respect the world and protect theirs.

I've been a boy mom longer than I've known my own confidence. This has presented it's own challenges; however, the beautiful journey of boy motherhood continues to unfold. I see in my children a type of confidence that left me as a child and rediscovering it alongside them is amazing! Here are some tips on how to raise confident boys by a mom that's still learning.

1. Let them fall - When my oldest was a baby I was terrified when he fell. I would rush to his aid, scoop him up into my arms and frantically assure him that he would be ok. What was the problem? I wasn't ok. Most of the time he was just fine! Over time, my fear of him falling or failing started to teach him that it wasn't ok to fall. The insecurity I planted in love began to cripple his own ability to bounce back.

 When boys fall or fail in life remain calm and watch before responding. Many times they come up with the solution by themselves and each time they get up they become more resilient.

2. Let them work - At the age of 2 our oldest started following his grandpa around the yard caring for chickens and helping in other little ways. Each week he'd get $5. Currently we pay them $2 when they mow the lawn. They have their own bank accounts and really value work in relation to money. This sense of independents builds their esteem and motivation.

3. Let them read - Literacy is the cornerstone of confidence at school! It's the key to every subject -- including math. If a child is behind in reading they begin to become unsure of themselves as they noticeably lag behind their peers. We've discovered that the main key to reading more fluently is to practice. We try to have each boy read to us daily, we read to them as well and also play audiobooks. We love Hooked on Phonics and the book " Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" by Siegfried Engelmann for developing literacy.

4. Let them play outside - Boys were made for the outdoors! No doubt about it! They become alive with a rock to skip, a tree to climd and bugs to collect. I've read that boys especially should have less time in front of screens and more time outdoors to develop their brains properly. 

5. Let them lead (sometimes) -  Although the boys are young I try to respect their ability to make good decisions and submit to their choices sometimes. Little opportunities to lead come as they decide on what clothes to wear, what dinner they'd prefer, what books they'd like to read and what park they'd like to go to. Our friend who was in the military shared with us how their children lead at home and we've implemented it as well. It's such a good idea!

 Each month we put a child in charge of organizing their brothers for bed. They must brush their teeth and put on pajamas by a particular time. If there is a conflict the brother in charge assigns decipline (usually pushups). If the offending brother still isn't cooperating it's brought up to the chain of command i.e. daddy. The brother in charge is responsible overall -- so instead of yelling at three kids to get their teeth brushed we can go to one and ask him the status of all three. Genius! It has been so cool seeing them learn to lead and respect each other. Not to mention that it frees up our time!

6. Let them cry - How many times do we hear "be tough" and "boys don't cry".  I think that we stunt the emotional growth of our boys when we try to take away their ability to feel. This is why most men aren't able to articulate their feelings today. Men are human and I don't know a woman that wouldn't melt at the sight of a man crying. Try to notice their emotions and walk them through it. Even Jesus wept! Come on now!

7. Let them be themselves - No two children are alike. We do not create our children. Just like we don't create seeds. Everything that God has placed in them is already there--just like seeds already have in them the type of tree they are to be. Our job as parents are to provide the right environment for growth, notice the traits of the tree, prune a bit and watch them bloom into their purpose.  I try to pay close attention to what the boys are naturally good at and encourage those passions. "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”― Dr. Seuss

8. Let them be affirmed - I am who I am today because my mom always said "when you get older you're going to be somebody". Those words have taken me through poverty, relocating to a different country without her, attending college as a statistic, being in boardrooms with no one that looked like me and the nay saying of my own mind. We as parents are prophets in the lives of our children. When we speak life into them it will come to pass! When I drop them off at school I tell them that they are created for greatness. When they fall behind in a subject I tell them that one day they will be the top of the class. Dream big for them mamas! Tell them that they can in a world that tries to tell them that they can't.

9. Let them be loved - Love, unattached to performance, is the greatest confidence builder! We do a great damage to the emotional and spiritual growth of our children when we hold back our love and dish it out when they win that race, bring home a high score in math or make a cool science project. Our love should be constant. When they break a glass, walk up to them and say "accidents happen, let me help you clean it up". Love them as much in the hard times as in the good times. The bible says that noting can separate us from the love of God. Let's mirror that kind of amazing love for our children. The book "The 5 Love Languages of Children" by Gary Chapman is great!

10. Let them spend time with us - Nothing says "you are important" like time spent together with your children. I believe that the quality of the time is even more important than the quantity of the time. If you are a working parent carve out a few hours on the weekend and say no to everyone and everything else to spend time with your boy hiking, skipping rocks, having a picnic or going to the zoo. Talk to them while you're out doing something together. Boys open up a lot more side by side rather than face to face.

11. Let them know God - It's impossible to fully know who you are without knowing who's you are. Faith is everything to our family. There is such a confidence in knowing the love of God and oh how he has shown up miraculously in our lives. As a family we worship together, pray and read the bible. I am always sure to plant passages like Jeremiah 29:11 in there hearts.

12. Let them try - "Mom! Let me try!" The sweetest words from a two year old! Oh, and this one! "Myself, myself...I want to do it myself". Whether it's mixing batter for pancakes, planting seeds, mopping, tying their shoes, washing dishes or helping change baby brother’s diaper -- children that try build their autonomy and confidence. Sometimes it takes us a bit longer to complete the task when they try but over time you'll discover that they can be such great helpers!

Those are some tips for raising confident boys. There is so much more that I can add but this post would become a book. In what ways to you intentionally build up the confidence of your kiddos?

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