Bravery is defined as having courageous behavior or character. If it sounds noble and chivalrous, that’s because it is. And, don’t confuse bravery with fearlessness either. When raising boys, the natural tendency might be to stoke egos, but the world doesn’t men who think that being rude and obnoxious is a good thing.
Maybe it’s too much of a utopian thing to ask for, but why can’t being a boy, also mean showing kindness, compassion, humor, and empathy. You definitely want your boy to be brave, but not act like a jerk – following some simple guidelines when raising your boys will go a long way in their future. So much so, they even might thank you down the road.
You’re not being too heavy handed when you expect your boys to do their chores, help clean up, do the laundry, among other shared responsibilities in the household – and the same should be said for daughters. But recent studies indicate those duties tend to be doled out to the daughters more often.
This mean that the gender gap starts at home, where parents give girls more work than boys, thereby reinforcing the gender gap. The only way to change such an issue is for parents to give an equal amount of domestic work to boys as much as girls.
It is important to encourage
children to express their feelings from the outset, especially when you notice
that they are feeling uncomfortable or vulnerable. Being able to identify and
name a feeling is the first step in dealing with it. Afterwards, it becomes
easier to talk about.
It might be tempting to tell your child to “man up” if they cry, but that doesn’t really foster a sense of caring or kindness – which will go a long way in life. If your kids cry, try giving them a hug instead. You’ll probably notice that as they grow up, they will treat other people in turn, as you treated them.
Encourage Emotional Strength
Encouraging emotional strength is commonly used in outdoor education training. It involves being strong for others and supporting other people. Whether this means cheering on a friend to finish a climb up the rockface while on belay or stepping back to let another kid take the first turn, it shows that you can generously put others before yourself.
It also allows children to understand that their involvement in an activity goes beyond the hands-on part of the activity. Dampening selfishness and enhancing selflessness takes a child into the realm of emotional intelligence, which is often touted as a major key in real leadership potential. And, in other worlds, a child will learn that the world doesn’t revolve solely around them.
Develop Physical Strength
Let’s face it, nobody really gives a hoot if your kids are sitting in front of a television or computer screen for hours on end each day. However, the fact of the matter is that you should. So much of joy and confidence can come from being physically fit and strong.
You know the law of physics that an object at rest stays at rest, right? Don’t let that happen to your kids. It is critical to get them outdoors and doing activities like hiking, skiing, and biking, even if they start to complain. Expose them to all sorts of different options to see what they have a natural inclination towards or against. But the point is that they’re getting a chance to experience strength and weaknesses across a number of sports. Plus, they’ll get strong.
Make Humility a Point
Who really wants to listen to some little boy bragging about how awesome he is? It might sound cute if you are the one who begot him, and because they are still little and say it so sweetly … but those seeds are not good to plant and let grow.
When kids brag a lot and become too pompous, you should consider calling them out on it. Make a point to let them know how they sound when saying such things. Try to send a message that verbalizing how much they love their sport is better than talking about how great they are.
Talk about fear
Many boys out there think that being vulnerable is being weak. Dealing with this pressure can actually lead to anxiety and even depression. Instead, teach boys that fear, and vulnerability is an opportunity for growth. This is an understanding of a world in which everyone feels more confident in who they are.
I once quit a school sport as a kid because of a mean comment some other kid made. At the time, it wasn’t that I felt the other person was being immature but came down to the fear that I was in some way inadequate for the team. Not everyone can be a star on the team but coaching your child through this kind of scenario can help them rise above their fears, and not quit for the wrong reasons – it will develop trust and build confidence to overcome.