At a conference for moms of girls recently I realized that there are very little resources for moms of boys. There are many books written for teen girls and their moms or self-esteem for teen girls, but very few for moms of teen, tween and kid boys. My colleague Jennifer Wagner and I discussed this at length and decided we wanted to try to put together more resources for moms of males. She has a great post called Resources for Parents of Teen Boys.
The biggest problem I hear from moms of boys has to do with forming connections and finding time to bond. They sound like this:
“Every time I want to talk to my son, you know really talk to him, he just shuts down.”
“I have no idea what to bond with my son about. I can’t do the same kinds of activities with my son as my daughter. This makes me feel very distant from him.”
“My son only sees me as his chef, chauffeur and banker. He never talks to me about anything other than food, driving or allowance.”
With teen girls it is much easier for moms to have an afternoon together and do some bonding time. When boys hear ‘bonding time’ they flee, freak out, pull away and come up with excuses. Therefore, in order to bond, moms can try what I call ‘accidental bonding.’ This happens when moms and sons do spontaneous activities together and talk through them. Here are a few ideas:
-Ask them to show you their favorite YouTube videos every so often. You can see what they are watching. Laugh together and ask who showed it to them.
-Ask them to burn you a playlist. If you are brave you can offer to make one back. Then listen to songs together and ask your son why he picked those songs for you.
-Offer to play video games with him. Or ask him to show you how. You can see what kind of strategy he uses, how he is in competition and more.
-Ask him to plan a trip with you. If you have a family vacation coming up, many boys are great planners and love doing Internet research. Try to plan it together. This will also help him participate more on the actual trip.
I like being transparent with teen boys I work with and encourage moms of boys to do the same. Tell them you think mom-son relationships are different than mom-daughter relationships and you want to capitalize on that not reject it. Often times, this also helps them know that you are there when they are in the mood for some connection.