Living away from loved ones isn't easy! My boys only see our extended family a few times a year. During visits, they are usually polite, have good manners and behave appropriately. Nevertheless, I have asked teachers if my older sons are kind in school. I also pray and hope that they grow up to be nice guys. Kindness matters and unfortunately, we are living in a world where boys grow up hearing that they should "man up," always be aggressive, competitive, and strong. A lot of times we see young men who forget to hold the door for someone and some that are incredibly rude while socializing.
All children learn a huge proportion of appropriate behavior from their environment. Parents modeling kindness is key (than means no gossiping in front of the boys too!). We do have to be realistic though--no parent or teacher is perfect. We can focus and try to do these 5 simple things to help raise kind boys:
1) Let boys express their emotions. Yes, boys do cry. Boys also feel and can learn to read other people's emotions and reactions, too. Discussing literature or movies with boys and asking them questions about how they think a character might be feeling is a great way to start these types of conversations.
2) Have them take responsibility for their actions. They say boys will be boys. True. Nevertheless, if boys break things, bump someone too hard, or behave very disruptive in class, they should be aware of it. Boys should be taught to understand that if property was damaged, if someone was hurt or upset, they can make amends. Of course, boys can continue to be boys! How awesome will it be when they evolve into gentlemen as well?
3) Girls are special too. Boys are awesome but girls are amazing as well. We need to teach boys that girls are presidents and fantastic athletes: both smart and strong. Parents should avoid using phrases to their sons that belittle or are demeaning to the opposite sex. Moms can play a huge role here by expressing how she feels when boys say things like, "You run like a girl!"
4) Tell them to be kind. And then tell them again and again... "Be nice to the doggie." "Be gentle with Grandma." "Be kind to your friends."
5) Show them lots of love. I vow to continue to kiss my boys on the cheek and forehead even when they are embarrassed by me! I promise to cuddle as much as possible, to play their favorite games, and show them respect. I understand that although I may not be so kind all the time, I am conscious and sorry. We are all human just trying our very best!
If you have any more tips, please share in the comments below!
Image: Instagram @myfriendbetty
Betty Galvan, is writing "for smart and stylish moms" over