Why We Need To Let OUr Boys Be Boys
If you take a look around at today's society you'll find it's become extremely feminine minded. You don't have to look far. Simply turn on the news or put in a recently released movie. The feminist movement is strong and heavy in many outlets and men are being attacked on those same outlets. So how can we as mothers raise our little boys to become strong honorable men in a feminine world?
Levi is seven months old, so I know what you're thinking. Isn't he a little young for you to be worried about this? Or, maybe your temper is already flaring because you're appalled that I would even call out the feminist movement and dare say boyhood and manhood are being rejected by society. Either way, I'm thinking about raising my son to be a man and embrace his manliness starting now. Because how I train my own thinking and viewpoint of my baby boy is how he will view himself in years to come.
Here's my disclosure to you: I think women succeeding in the world is fine. We have voice and insight this world needs to hear. So don't think I'm about to put on a hoop skirt, tie a bonnet on my head, and ask my husband to hitch up the covered wagon anytime soon. Cause I'm not. However, all good things can be taken too far and be used for the wrong reasons.
So in a world of high rising feminism and outcries for women to be seen as equal to--or I will dare to say greater than--men, how can we as boy moms raise our little men with confidence and strength? The earlier we think on these things, the more our boys will find that confidence and strength in being the men God created them to be.
Let your boys play
It baffles my mind how children of both genders, but especially boys, aren't allowed to play anymore. No one is saying outright, "Kids can't play. They must sit still all day." But when we constantly tow our kids around in the car from place to place or hand them a phone to distract them when they get antsy and need to burn energy, we're telling them they can't play. We're asking them to bottle up all the energy and creativity they want to release. Kids weren't built for that. God created them to run and jump and scream and shout. It's how they learn and how they figure out how their bodies work and what they can handle.
And boys especially are being told from many to stop playing tough but to be gentle and soft. I'm not saying let your boy run around like banshee bullying others, but boys want to get their clothes dirty outside and wrestle and play Wild West cowboy games (toy gunfights included). It's part of growing up and learning how to get along with one another.
Restraining our boys from playing only squanders their feeling of pride and joy from being active and creative. Even as a baby, I'm encouraging Levi to be wild and free in his playtime. He can bang his toy on the floor and throw his food right now. It's okay. It's how he's learning and growing. If Daddy throws him in the air so high it makes my heart stop, that's just fine! Daddy is teaching him how to test the limits of his abilities and enjoy an adrenaline rush.
Let your boy be the hero
Women don't want to be rescued anymore. We want to save ourselves. Which is fine in some ways, because there might not be someone around sometimes to rescue us and we do need to be capable. But our boys need us to let them be the hero.
Men are fixers. They like to fix what is broken and rebuild what has been torn down. They want to be the knight in shining armor. To some extent, it's selfish of us as women to take that away from them. I know Brighton has sacrificed so much in order to be the provider for our family. When I have offered in the past to go back to work, he refuses the idea because he wants to be the hero and the provider. And I think that's great. I'm rooting for him!
And you know what? The more I root for him, the more worthwhile and useful he feels and the more he supports my dreams and ambitions.
Well, the same goes for our little boys. Let them be the knight in shining armor. When they play, let them rescue you from the fire breathing dragon. Let them slay the enemy. Let them fight for the you--the mommy they love. Because in the future, this will teach them to fight for the women they love and to be the hero a little girl dreams of finding one day.
For me and my baby boy right now, this is a mindset thing. When he gets old enough to play the hero, I want to be ready to let him and encourage him to fight for those he loves and what he believes. Because in this world, there will always be war and we'll always have to battle out our beliefs. I want him to be a capable hero.
Let your boy be independent
This one is hard for me because I really am a control freak. I like things to be done a certain way and it's easier to do them myself. But as Levi is getting older and exploring and figuring this world around him out, I need to let him gain his independence. I need to trust him to figure it out, even if it takes a little longer. I would rather him take his time learning and hitting milestones and coping with his struggles early on than him constantly crying to me and his daddy when things don't go the way he wants or something doesn't come easy.
As a baby, we're teaching him independence through eating. We've gone with the Baby Led Weaning method of introducing food. This method allows him to eat the same food we eat--"big boy food" as we call it. We let him pick it up and feed himself. He gets to explore taste and texture and feel proud when he gets that tasty bit of food in his mouth instead of smeared across his face. Now, if we try to help him he gets upset and pushes us away so he can figure it out himself.
I personally believe, teaching him a little independence young will help him embrace boyhood and later manhood. He'll learn to stand up for himself and be in tune with his abilities. Of course, I love to cuddle and love on my baby! I don't just ignore him or tell him to tough it out if he cries. And obviously, we will be there to help him when he needs it and asks for it. But we want him to develop the courage and strength to tackle life without holding our hand all the time too.
Let your boy follow after Daddy
There are stereotype men out there who we don't want our boys to grow up to be. I'm not naive to think all men are saints and women are just out to annihilate them all. The violent abusive men, the rapists, the cheaters and liars are out there. And I do not want my boy to be one of them. But there are also so many great men out there, including my boy's father.
I think we as wives sometimes downplay our husbands in front of others without realizing it. We roll our eyes or scoff at their behavior. We nag them for doing this or not doing that. And this can carry over into deterring our boys from looking up to their daddy.
When Brighton and I first started talking about having kids I dreamed of having a little boy so I could have a mini Brighton running around. I still stand by this statement. I want Levi to follow after his daddy. I want him to learn what being a man looks like from a man. If Levi wants to do something to be like his daddy and it's safe, then I won't stop him. I won't tell him he can't do that because it downplays Brighton's role in our family--which will one day be a role Levi will have in his family.
Teach your boy how to treat girls
Let your boys be boys but also show them how to treat a woman. Teach them the difference between rough housing with the other boys and playing nice with a girl. Show them through example in your relationship with your husband. Treat each other with love and respect so your boy will see to treat other girls the same way.
Don't let the independent attitude of today's women keep you from instilling manners and respect in your boy. One of the manliest things a guy can do is open the door for a lady or offer his seat on the bus. If the woman says no, okay. They don't have to accept the gestures, but I believe the gestures should always be offered. So teach them to your boy.
Pray for your boy
We can't raise our boys without God's help. After all, we are only human. Memorize Bible verses about raising your child. Pray them over your boy and with your husband every day. When you feel overwhelmed with parenting and don't know how to navigate, pray. Prayer is one of the most underrated but most powerful tools in our parenting toolkit. God is ready to help us on this difficult road of raising boys to be men. We need only ask for His help.
Parenting a boy isn't going to be easy. I'm not going to lie, I'm stressed about it. I know I don't have all the answers and will make plenty of mistakes. But I'm also excited. I get the opportunity to raise a little boy up to be a man and a provider. I couldn't ask for a better responsibility and calling. And although he's not even a year old, I want to start gearing up for this journey now because I've been told the baby stage goes by fast, and I want to be ready for what's in store. I want to be ready to root for my boy as he grows and finds his way in this world. I want to be ready to stand by my husband's side and my boy's side when they're faced with adversity. I want to be ready to raise my boy to be the man God created him to be, not the man this world wants him to conform to be.