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ON BOYS: Real Talk about Parenting, Teaching, and Reaching Tomorrow's Men

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Helping Teens Cope with Anxiety, Depression & More

It's not easy to talk to boys about anxiety, depression and mental health. And yet, in a world in which 1 in 8 kids has an anxiety disorder and 2-3% of children ages 6-12 have serious depression and suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for young people ages 15-24, not talking about these topics is irresponsible. You wouldn't skip the sex talk, would you? (If so, click over to this episode right now!) As adults, it's our job to equip our children with the skills they need to deal with...


Steve Biddulph on Raising Boys

Australian author and psychologist Steve Biddulph was one of the first to highlight the unique needs of boys. In the mid-1990s, "Steve went out on a limb to stand up for boys and men in a time when, culturally, the focus was really on girls and women," Janet says. His books, including The Secrets of Happy Children and Manhood, have been translated into more than 30 languages. The 1997 classic Raising Boys: Why Boys are So Different - and How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-Balance Men...


Parenting Tween & Teenage Boys

Are all teenage boys jerks? That's the question we tackle in this episode, albeit with some more colorful language. (Heads up: If you're opposed to the word "asshole," you might want to skip this episode. If you've ever thought to yourself, "When did my kid become such an asshole?!?" you're definitely going to want to listen!) Raising tween & teen boys is hard. That's why so many parents of teens are desperate for information, help & support. And that's why Sue Borison & Stephanie Silverman...


Parent From Love, Not Fear (w Bryan Post)

The secret to parenting success -- & satisfaction -- is simple: Parent from love, not fear. Bryan Post So says Bryan Post, founder of The Post Institute for Family Centered Therapy. Adopted as a child, Post experienced the difficulties that can arise when a child's needs conflict with a parent's experience. His adopted sister was born prematurely due to fetal alcohol syndrome and spent the first months of her life in an incubator, which stunted her emotional development. His well-meaning...


Teaching Boys Respect

Photo by Martin Abegglen via Flickr What is respect? We tell our boys all the time to "show some respect!" and to "respect your teachers," and worry about whether or not our boys know how to respect girls and women. But what does that mean? Defining respect, we've learned, is trickier than it seems at first glance, and if you and your son (or you and your parenting partner) are working with different definitions of "respect," you're likely to find yourself frustrated. According to the...


Parenting Boys with Maggie Dent – Part 2

More Maggie Dent! (If you haven't yet listened to Part 1 of our conversation, go listen to that one first. Then come back for more Maggie!) In this episode, Maggie, Janet & Jen discuss: How to help elementary school boys handle their frustration when they get in trouble at school Boys’ inclination toward protecting others How to support boys’ interest in superhero boy & play fighting How to deconstruct the “man code” and help boys’ live authentically How to talk so boys will listen The...


Parenting Boys with Maggie Dent – Part 1

Maggie Dent Our friend Maggie Dent will be in British Columbia later this month, so we thought this would be a great time to re-share her wisdom & encouragement! Maggie the mom of four now-grown boys, a parenting educator & author of numerous books, including Mothering Our Boys: A Guide for Moms of Sons. This conversation was originally recorded in December 2018 but the advice here is timeless. Enjoy! Some gems: Moms, be careful not to shatter your boys’ dreams or fantastic plans with your...


Why Boy Moms Need Mentors Too

Google "boy mentors" and you'll get more than 20,000,000 results. Search for "mentors for boy moms" and you'll get just over 900,000 results -- and most are resources to help single moms find male mentors for their sons.You'll find next-to-nothing about how to find a mentor for yourself. But moms need mentors too. When Jen & Janet met recently (for the first time! at a podcast conference), they heard a talk about the importance of female mentors. The presenter, Robyn Sayles, pointed out the...


“My Boy Can” Parenting

At age 4, Sassy Harvey's son was told that if he dances, he must be a girl. Or gay. Not surprisingly, he quit dance class soon after that. It's 2019. Girls, we know can become astronauts and scientists and ministers and presidents. But boys who dance are STILL routinely perceived as gay and effeminate. In fact, according to a recent study of male ballet dancers: 93% of boys involved in ballet report "teasing and name calling" 68% experience "verbal or physical harassment" 11% were victims of...


Gender Differences, Bragging & Raising World Citizens

It's time for another listener Q & A! A Boys Alive! FB group member asks: How can I interest a teen boy in becoming a good world citizen? A Twitter follower asks: What do you say to boys who say they're the best at...whatever the conversation is about. I've heard this from multiple 7/8/9 yo boys. So much bragging. Jacquie asks: How do we help people understand that there are differences between boys and girls and that it's OK to recognize that fact? So often, we are focused on saying, 'girls...


Helping Boys Head Back to School

The beginning of the school year stirs up a lot of emotions for boys -- and their parents. The number of boys who don't like school has been increasing in recent years. In 1980, just 14% of boys told researchers they "didn't like" school. By 2001, 24% -- nearly one-quarter of all boys -- said they didn't like school. Today, that number is likely even higher. Pay attention to your son's signals. His reactions to back-to-school ads and events can tell you a lot about his general attitude...


Coaches Speak about Youth Sports

Youth sports are a BIG DEAL. According to ESPN, 28.7 million American kids between the ages of 6 and 17 played youth sports in 2013. That number is likely low; many kids start well before age 6. Gone are the days when boys started Little League at age 10 or 11. Today, T-ball begins at age 3 or 4, and many kids are on travel teams by the time they're 6. Today's families are investing a lot of time and money into sports. (According to one estimate, travel team parents spent on average $2266...


Addressing Racism & Racial Disparities with Hilary Beard

Black boys fare worse than white boys in 99% of America. Here to help us untangle the many factors that affect black boys' experience in America is Hilary Beard, author of Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and Life and creator of Rise & Thrive Online Parenting Program. Hilary Beard "We thought we were raising the Obama generation, a generation of young people who would live in a world that was very diverse, with racial harmony and a greater level of equity. We thought...


Masks We Wear with Ashanti Branch

Our boys often wear metaphorical masks. We all do, in fact. At work, we typically wear our confident, professional faces. At home, we aim for warm, nurturing and competent. But underneath, we may be feeling anger, frustration, sadness or shame. Our "masks" allow us to go about our days and meet our responsibilities without ruffling too many feathers or attracting too much attention. Boys don masks for the same reason. Our boys are swimming in a soup of messages that tell them exactly how...


Sensory Processing Disorder with Nancy Peske

Do you know what sensory processing disorder (SPD) is? Many parents (and teachers) don't, but 5-15% of all children exhibit symptoms of SPD, which affects how they learn, socialize and interact with the world. It's possible that your child has a sensory processing problem that you haven't yet recognized as an issue with available & effective interventions. Nancy Peske, aka The Sensory Smart Parent, is a co-author of Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your...


Encouraging Independence

As we in the United States celebrate our nation's independence, we reflect on our boys' drive for independence. Toddlers cry, "I do it!" when we attempt to put on their clothes. Our teens scowl when we tell them what time to be home. Their frustration -- toddlers' & teens' alike -- is driven by their desire for mastery and control. Children are wired to learn. They're wired to gradually take on more and more responsibility. "Kids," Jen reminds us, "have an innate drive for independence. You...


Summer Survive and Thrive Tips

Ahhhh, summer! Relaxed lazy days....oh, who are we kidding?!? For most parents in the Northern hemisphere, summer is a time of stress. The kids are home from school and the parents have to somehow juggle their regular work schedule while also trying to keep their kids engaged, active and on screens for less than 12 hours a day. Navigating summer responsibilities and expectations is a challenge for the whole family. If we can give you one piece of advice, it's this: Relax your standards. You...


Backcountry, Barbells & Boys

What do you get when you mix two fitness- and outdoors-minded dads with two moms who are staunch advocates for boys? A freewheeling discussion that touches on everything from fatherhood to weapons play and the current lack of movement in schools. Janet met Jaremy Day, co-host of the podcast Backcountry & Barbells, when she spoke at an event in Washington state. As a former boy and current dad of 2 boys & a girl, he's all too familiar with the challenges facing boys today. His co-host, Joe...


Breaking the Boy Code

The Boy Code. The Man Box. Whatever you want to call it, our boys are constrained by a largely unspoken set of expectations that exert pressure on them to behave and act in certain ways. Jonathon Reed helps boys -- and others -- understand and question these expectations. His podcast, Breaking the Boy Code, features real boys talking about their real, lived experiences. Reed adds the voices and insights of experts to each episode, and it's impossible to listen to even one episode and not be...


Managing the Transition to College

Do you have a son heading off to college or university this fall? How about in the future? The more you know about the college search and admission process, the easier this transition will be -- for your son, for you and for your entire family. Dr. Pamela Ellis, author of What to Know Before they Go and founder of Compass College Advisory, has helped many families navigate college preparation and the transition from high school to university. She says that lack of knowledge -- the "unknown"...