Tips For Raising Boys: Helping Your Son Become A Man

 

parenting tips

 

Before we become parents, many of us imagine that girls will be the nightmare children. There are heartbreaks, falling outs, and periods to deal with.  Boys in comparison seem easy. They’re happy to hang out with their mates and play computer games most of the time.  Boys in general, appear to have a much more straightforward way of looking at the world. But, when you have a boy you realize things aren’t as easy as they seem. That’s especially true when the terrible teens strike. Your sweet boy becomes someone you don’t recognize. You could say the same about girls, of course, but it’s actually easier to help them through the troubles.

Additionally, the main issue through the teen years is your child’s struggle to find themselves.  To find their true self, they may have to go through many phases. They try on different versions of themselves to see which fits. Girls are more vocal about what they’re trying, and feeling.  Unfortunately, boys may retreat. Of course, depression is one thing that every parent fears during those trying times.

It’s worth noting that girls are statistically more prone to depression.  It’s also important to note that boys are more likely to take their own lives. In fact, globally, males are 1.8 times more likely to commit suicide. It’s hard to judge what this means, other than that more girls are talking about it, while boys suffer in silence.  All the more reason we should do what we can to help our sons find their place. Here are few tips for raising boys and helping them become the men they are meant to be:

 

tips for raising boys

Picture Credit

 

Take Him Shopping 

Unfortunately, no teen boy is going to jump at the chance to go shopping.  But, it’s important you try to encourage him.  Make the trip as appealing as possible by taking only him.   The trip could be to reward him by buying a new computer game.  Or a new skateboard could tempt him if he’s a skater.

Throughout your shopping trip, let your son take the lead.  Ask questions, but try not to dictate what he shows an interest in. Your pointing things out will irritate him, and ensure he doesn’t engage in the process. Think of him as a frightened gazelle; offer your hand, and let him come to you.  A fast movement will send him running.

Most importantly, don’t judge anything he picks out. The fact he’s made a selection at all is a massive step. It’s also an exercise of trust on his part. He’s reaching out and showing you what he likes.  If you knock him down, it’ll be a while before he takes such a risk again. You may not like the fashion he’s chosen, but it’s what he wants.  Hopefully, he’ll ride the wave and forget that fashion in a few years.

For now, compliment his choices and tell him he looks great.   Also, it’s worth keeping the trip as short as possible. Girls may enjoy long days of browsing through shops, but most boys won’t feel the same. Limit the trip to about two hours.  You can always do it again if you feel the need.  Once your son has a style he’s comfortable with, you may see a different side of him. Compliment him when he wears something new, and watch his confidence grow.

 

boys bedroom ideas

Picture Credit

 

Design a Comfortable Space

Designing a child’s bedroom can be a daunting task. When they’re young, the main choices were up to you. And there was always the safe option of falling back on their favorite television characters. What boy’s going to sniff at a Superman room?  None that we can think of.  As with anything, the perfect room decoration becomes harder to master as your boy grows up. To make matters worse, their bedroom becomes more important during their teen years. We all know the cliche of the teen who locks themselves in their room.

We can guarantee that’ll happen to you. This isn’t cause for worry, either. This self-enforced isolation is all part of your teen finding themselves. Spending time alone is important for every aspect of self-discovery. When we’re around other people, it’s much harder to know who we are. So, don’t fight against this isolation. Don’t make constant attempts to drag your teen from his den. Doing this will only pull him away from that important discovery work he’s doing.

Instead, do everything possible to give him a room that he feels comfortable in.  If he doesn’t believe his room reflects who he is, he’s less likely to feel as though he has anywhere to belong. Much like with clothes, let him make the big decisions. It’s best you do the decoration, but let him tell you what he wants.  Most importantly, don’t judge.  If he wants black walls, let him have them.  It’s his room, after all. It has no significant effect on the rest of the house. And, the chances are that he’ll return to a different color over time.

Respect His Decisions 

At some point, children are going to make decisions that we don’t agree with.  Most of the disagreements will happen through the teen years. So, it’s important that you do everything possible to respect the decisions your teen is making. If could be a decision as dramatic as choosing a new religion.  They could make a decision like buying a cross necklace.  Show your support. Take an interest in his new purchase and passion. It’s a good way to build some understanding and to open up communication.

It may be that his decisions are less drastic than choosing a new religion.  But, they’re important all the same. If he’s starting to listen to music you don’t know anything about, respect that. Don’t put it down. And, never utter the phrase ‘it’s a phase.’  If anything, it’ll make him feel as though you don’t take him seriously, which isn’t what you want.

In some cases, his decisions are going to need more than your respect. They may require your active encouragement. This is the best outcome you can hope for. It may be that he depends on you to get him to and from a class he’s enrolled in. Never make him feel as though this is a hindrance. Adjust your plans, and tell him you’d be more than happy to help out. Again, this will help the two of you to form that all-important bond.

Make the most of the journey time, too. Chances are, you and your son don’t get much one on one time. When you’re at home, he can duck out of a conversation whenever he wants to. In the car, he doesn’t have that choice. That’s not to say that you should use this time to grill him. Quite the opposite. Use it instead, to have the day to day chats that are missing from your normal life. Take the time to find out more about him!

Loosen Your Reins 

Last, but by no means least, it’s important you loosen the reins during this time. This is probably the hardest point on this list, but it’s the most important. Too many parent and child relationships are destroyed during this stage. That’s because you’ll be fighting hard to hold on, while your child struggles against your grip. Save yourself the effort and accept that now is not the time to assert your parental dominance.

For the first time in your son’s life, he’ll want to spend time away from you. It may be that he starts going out with friends, or makes plans without including you. It can be a hard thing to get your head around. A few years before, he depended on you for every trip he took outside of school. Now, it’s as though he doesn’t even consider you.

Of course, it’s important you stay sensible, too. He may be a teen now, but he’s still in your care. Instead of demanding who he’s with and where he’s going, sit him down and explain this. The first time he takes a solo outing is the perfect opportunity to raise the subject. Explain that respect is a two-way street. You can only respect that he is his own person if he respects you enough to tell you his plans.  When that happens, try not to get angry. Instead, remind him of what you discussed, and why it’s important.  We hope that you found our tips for raising boys beneficial.

Tips For Surviving Your Kid’s First Year Of Driving

 

 

surviving your kid's first year of driving

 

Learning to drive is a key milestone in a child’s life.  Thanks to the demands of the modern world, it’s up there with learning how to walk and talk.  But unlike those early activities, the stakes are much higher.  Simply because of the inherent danger of driving around a 4000-pound piece of metal.  As a result, the first year of driving also brings stress for parents.

First, the statistics on driving accidents are concerning for parents.  Around a quarter of all accidents on the road involve people aged 22 and under.  So, underscoring the dangers of being a young driver is very important.  Most importantly, mom and dad must set boundaries.  Here’s some advice for surviving your kid’s first year of driving.

Buy Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance is designed to cover all of your needs, including auto and home. The good thing about umbrella insurance is that it is fully comprehensive.  Normally, it’s also cheaper than buying insurance separately.  Teens are usually dangerous drivers because of their inexperience.  Umbrella Insurance is an excellent way to make sure that your family finances are protected in the event of an accident.  For example, Umbrella policies will cover damage your child caused to people or property.  This could possibly prevent the family from falling into bankruptcy.

 

surviving your kid's first year of driving

 

Establish Firm Boundaries

We all know that the way instructors teach and the way people actually drive are two different things.  As a result, parents must protect their kids.  Set clear boundaries for children.  Make clear that they must obey the rules of the road or there will be consequences.  Find resources like this one to brush up on your skills, free online resources for driving tests.  Discuss the possibly of them going to jail for breaking the law and the penalty of speeding tickets.  Also, ban talking on the phone or texting while they are driving.

Get Breakdown Coverage

Once your child has a car, they’ll be using it to go all over town and possibly the surrounding area.  There will be holidays, camping trips and even road trips, all thanks to their newfound freedom.  However, cars don’t care about how much fun your child may be having.  Cars can break down at the most inconvenient moments.  A broken down card that leaves your kid stranded is no fun.  So, it’s a good idea to make sure that they have breakdown coverage.  Paying directly for the recovery of a vehicle can cost hundreds of dollars.  So, make sure their car is covered.

Most breakdown services allow you to pay a monthly bill directly. Some car insurance businesses allow you to add on breakdown cover to your policy.  This often saves you money in the process.

10 Ideas To Create Mother Daughter Memories

mother and daughter activities, creating memories with girls

 

Children grow up fast.  It seems like only yesterday that we gave birth, sent them off to kindergarten, and read them bed time stories.  Before we know it they’re asking for the car keys and eventually heading out the door to live life on their own.

When I was raising my daughter I decided to create mother daughter memories for us.  You know those special days when it’s just the two of you talking about boys, finding the perfect dress, eating ice cream or doing each other’s nails.  My daughter and I did lots of family activities together, but these are special moments that I’m talking about now.  The days when I left the office early and headed to the school to pick her up for a day of fun.  Those Saturdays when I left the laundry and the cleaning just to spend time with her.  Those days when it’s just the two of us bonding and being friends.  These are a perfect way to create Mother Daughter Memories.  

I created Mother Daughter Memories when my daughter was a teen. That’s when it dawned on me that she was growing up fast, and would soon be heading to college.  She would be meeting new people and doing different things.  I had to make the few years that we had left together count.  I’m so thankful that I did, we still talk about those days.  I’m encouraging you to do the same.

Let me place emphasis on the two of you.  This wasn’t difficult for me because I only had one child, but if you have more than one, spend that quality time with each daughter. It’s important that they get that individual attention.  You want to make them feel special, as if they’re the only person besides you in the world.  It’s an opportunity to share things that happened when you were growing up or maybe they will share an embarrassing time in their life or a secret. It’s unlikely they will do this with others around. There will be times when you will find yourself looking at each other and giggling, because only the two of you know about what was shared.  It’s such a great feeling.

Everything is not for everybody so you will need to create Mother Daughter memories that are meaningful to you. But here’s a few things my daughter and I did together to create Mother Daughter Memories:

  1. Special Occasion Dresses – We would spend the day visiting boutiques to select party dresses, dresses for her junior high school dances, and later her homecoming and prom dresses.  We looked forward to this day every year from junior high to her senior year of high school.
  2. Spa Treatments – Nothing like being seated next to each other at the spa getting our nails done and saying nothing.  Just enjoying each other’s company.
  3. Trips To Dairy Queen –  My daughter loved strawberry sundaes and I loved their chocolate cones. We had some much fun laughing and enjoying our treats.
  4. Looking At The Christmas lights –  This speaks for itself.  We would spend hours just driving through neighborhoods being in awe. To this day, Christmas is a special time for us and lights are included.
  5. Going Out To Lunch or Dinner – Apple Bee’s was my daughter’s favorite place to eat growing up.  She loved their lemonade.  We would sit for hours and talk about everything and everybody.  It’s funny she won’t enter the place now.  Ruth Chris is one of her favorite eating places. So glad she has a husband to pay the bill for that one.
  6. Watching Movies  We would spend the day watching movies on Saturdays.  One of our favorites movies to watch was Gone With The Wind and of course Girl Flicks. When one of our favorites is on now, she calls to let me know.
  7. Sharing A Beach Week-end  – Every year I would take my daughter and 3 of her friends to the beach for a week-end.  Ocean City, MD was the go to at that point in our life. The interesting thing about this trip is that I have a bridge phobia, and I had to drive the girls across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The bridge is about 4.5 miles long.  I can drive across bridges, but I’m holding my breath, praying, counting and anything else I can think of.  I drive slow and look straight ahead. It doesn’t matter if the bridge is long or short.  The effect is the same for me. To this day, my daughter doesn’t know what bridges do to me. I never wanted her to know how scared I was, I only wanted her to enjoy the trip.
  8. Spending the Day At a Book Fair We would spend the day at the book fair browsing through isles and isles of books.  We would take our selections home and plan when we would spend the day reading them.
  9. Read Your Favorite Books We would curl up on the sofa and read our favorite book at the time.
  10. See A Show – One of our favorite bonding moments was when we went to see a ballet or Alvin Ailey.  We still look for shows that we can see together.

I hope my bonding moments have inspired you to create Mother Daughter Memories.  You don’t have to spend a fortune, find activities within your budget and they will love you regardless of what’s in your purse.  If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to Mother 2 Mother before you leave.  You may also like Making Memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post – Preparing Your Teens For Adulthood

parenting, teenagers, parenting tips

 

“Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Trust me, life will still be there when you’re grown.” Wise words from my Grandma Blanche.

Teens know everything, right? So, it only makes sense that they’re ready to tackle the world at the tender age of 16. Next, they think they have all the knowledge and skills necessary not just to survive, but thrive in the big bad world. However, as parents we know the truth. Sure, there are some things that your child may have learned in school that weren’t available to us. These days schools are teaching Computer Science, Parenting, and more advanced classes on Government and Politics.

However, there are some key fundamental skills your child should be equipped with before leaving the nest – whether going off to college or moving out on their own.

Let’s discuss a few of these skills:

Grocery shopping – When our kids got their driver’s license, one of their new chores was going to the grocery store with cash. This taught them:

  1. Comparison shopping
  2. Budgeting 
  3. Communication skills (you know teens don’t talk! Lol)
  4. Checking account maintenance – The one class I really wish schools would make mandatory are banking basics. When our kids turned 14, we opened a High School Checking Account. With our names on the account, our kids knew not to get crazy with their bank card.

As a result, each month we reviewed the bank statement together and discussed future payouts. This was a huge help!

Stay In Learning Mode – This skill is crucial to your child’s growth! With or without a college degree, your child must know that learning is a life-long activity. Once they leave college learning doesn’t stop.

Next, one of the most important parts of learning is knowing who to learn from. Teens learn more from other teens. Also, as adults they need to know what they need to learn, and who would be best to learn from. This quote is so appropriate: “You don’t know what you don’t know, until you need to know it.” – Unknown

The best skill you can teach your teen is discernment. Help them understand how important it is to surround themselves with like-minded people, people who have similar lifestyle goals in mind.

Finally, your teen may not listen to you, but when in the company of other young people who are working toward a similar future they can teach and learn from each other.  “Each one. Teach one.” – an African Proverb.

life coach, business coach   About the author:  Ericka Richardson is a mother of three, and a grandmother. Ericka was raised in New York, but moved to the Atlanta, Ga area in 1993.  Atlanta is where she raised her children.  Ericka and her husband, Mike, started their business in 2003. Even with the time constraints of starting a business, they made sure their children stayed active, well-grounded, remained humble and grateful.

Ericka is a Certified Life and Business Coach as well as a Business Consultant. Ericka preaches and teaches Business Basics with each of her clients.

You can connect with Ericka online at:

www.coachericka.com
www.facebook.com/coachericka
www.facebook.com/groups/bizbasicsbootcamp
www.linkedin.com/in/ericka220
www.twitter.com/bizcoachericka