The Challenge of Raising Boys

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Photo via U.S. National Archives

What concerns you the most about parenting boys? 

Three of my top 3 boy-raising concerns are:

1) Respect. I want my boys to learn to treat men and women, young and old, with respect, and I’d like that respect to show in their words and deeds. Overall, my boys are respectful and polite children, but we still have a ways to go, particularly when it comes to respecting each other! (Please tell me my boys aren’t the only ones who like to trash talk one another!)

2) Strict limitations on physical activity and play in schools. My sons’ school no longer allows the kids play touch football at recess. Or soccer. If it’s too cold or nasty outside, the kids stay in for recess — in the auditorium, where they are allowed to walk laps. My boys (and yours, I’d guess) need more activity than that. They need room and freedom to move. I understand school administrators’ concerns regarding student safety, but I think their concerns are overblown. On a population-wide level, I think we do our boys far more harm by requiring them to remain still and safe most of the day.

3) A sex-and-alcohol-saturated culture. We live in Wisconsin, a state that perpetually bests others in binge drinking and heavy alcohol consumption. Here, it’s not uncommon to see adults guzzling beer at a softball game, whether it’s their game (yes, I’ve seen guys drinking beer in dugouts) or their kids’ games (yes, I’ve seen adults drinking beer at 9 am on a Sunday at the Little League game). Add that to a culture that routinely objectifies women and thrusts sexual images at our kids at every opportunity, and you can see why I’m concerned. I want my boys to grow up free of addiction. I want them to be emotionally and physically healthy. Given our environment, though, that’s an uphill battle.

Huh. If I’d drawn up that list just a few years ago, it would have looked different. Earlier in my parenting career, “guns” or “weapons” definitely would have made the list. Today? I don’t even bat an eye when my kids pick up a plastic weapon.
Sex and alcohol wouldn’t have made the list a few years ago either. But now, my boys are older. I guess my concerns are growing along with my boys!
 What about you? What are your Top 3 Boy-Raising Concerns?

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