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

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138 Holiday Gifts & Guilt

(Talk with Janet & Jen LIVE on 'OPEN MIC' - click here for date & ticket information.) 'Tis the season for gift-giving, overspending & guilt. In today's consumer culture, there's intense pressure to show love and care for your family via material things. We give you permission to recognize that pressure and set it aside, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or something else. An abundance of gifts to open can actually be overwhelming for a child. (Never mind...


137: iGen

Baby Boomers. Gen X. Millennials. And now, iGen. According to psychology professor Jean Twenge, the members of iGen include the children and young adults born between 1995 and 2012. And what sets these kids apart from previous generations, she says, is their near-constant connection to the Internet. Theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and concomitant rise of social media...members of this generation are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high...


136: Thankful for Boys!

We talk a lot about what's hard about parenting. About all of the important things you need to and should do with your boys. This Thanksgiving, we talk about why we're thankful for boys. Let us count the ways: They expand our worldview and experience. The boys in our lives introduce us to hobbies, interests and events we didn't even know existed! (Did you know that that there's a Green Industry & Equipment Expo? Jen didn't -- until her 12-year-old entrepreneur asked if they can go.) Their...


135: Tween Boys

Some call the tween years a "second toddlerhood." Like toddlers, tweens are striving for independence and determined to do things on their own. Except when they'd rather not. Some days, they want nothing more than to be little kids again, cuddled in your lap. The mood swings of tween boys catch many parents off guard, especially parents who mistakenly bought into the idea that "boys are easier." Truth is, the tween years are a challenge: for you, and for your kids. That's because a lot of...


134: Rites of Passage

Traditional societies had many (often elaborate) rites of passage for boys and girls. On the South Pacific island of Vanuatu, boys become men after diving off rickety 40 foot platforms -- toward the ground. (You may have seen or heard about this tradition on National Geographic.) In the Sioux culture, young boys were raised predominantly by their mothers; as they became men, their fathers took over their training. And in some traditional African tribes, a boy's passage to manhood is marked...


133: Re-Run – The Good News About Bad Behavior

Enjoy this episode from our archives - it's too good to miss! AND if you're intrigued by what you hear, consider joining co-host Janet Allison for her upcoming online class: "5 Steps to Untangle Your Parenting." All the deets are here: http://boysalive.com/untangle If your kids always do what they're told, consistently treat others with kindness and never over-react to unintended slights, you can skip this episode. If not -- WELCOME! Your child is 100% normal, and you're going to love this...


132: Risk-Taking Boys with Mom Judi Ketteler

Would you let your 10-year-old son hang out with a bunch of teenagers you haven’t met? Would you let him attempt a double or triple flip in the trampoline in the backyard – or manage his own Instagram account? Writer and mom Judi Ketteler has. In a society that spends so much time telling boys to sit down and shut up, Judi has found a way to facilitate her son’s interests and personal growth, even though her son’s preferred sport, Gtramp, is risky and unregulated. She’s found ways to say...


131: Emails & Phone Calls from Teachers

How do you respond to phone calls and emails from teachers about your son's misbehavior? Excerpts of actual emails I've received from my son's teachers: On Tuesday, Sam was sitting in a chair with his legs on a stool, he was flipping it and turning the stool with his legs and feet. I made eye contact with him and shook my head. He smiled and then slithered around on the floor... ... Subject line: Bathroom Issue It was reported to me by another teacher that Sam *came up to a student and...


130: Homework re-run

HOMEWORK can bring out the worst in us...and our kids. We wonder if we should force them to do it (again) or if we can just stop having them do it all together because the conflict is too great. Is it really important? How do you manage - and help your son manage? In this re-broadcast of Episode 101, you'll find information and courage to choose the homework path that is right for your family. Few things cause boys (and their families) as much stress as HOMEWORK. In many cases, homework...


129 Grief with Tom Golden

One of our jobs, as parents and educators of boys, is to help them learn how to deal with tough emotions -- including grief. As much as we want to, we can't protect our boys from hurt. Loved ones die. Parents divorce Friends move. Boys fail to achieve important goals, and experience rejection from peers. Grief hurts. It comes and goes. Or it just stays and never seems to go away... Everyone handles grief differently. Boys tend to handle grief MUCH differently - we may be surprised AND...


128: 21st Century Sex Ed with Jo Langford

The standard "birds and bees" sex talk doesn't work any more. (If it ever really did!) Today, parents have to address pornography, homosexuality, gender and consent. If you feel nervous tackling those topics, don't worry. You're not alone. Sex educator and therapist Jo Langford routinely helps parents navigate these tricky conversations. Langford is the author of Spare Me the Talk!: A Guy's Guide to Sex, Relationships and Growing Up and The Pride Guide: The Guide to Sexual and Social Health...


127: Help! My Son Has a Girlfriend! (Listener Q & A)

"My son just turned 14 & his girlfriend is 13, and he doesn't understand why I won't leave them alone in my house. Am I being over protective of BOTH of them? I feel a duty of care to his girlfriend. I know how easily things can turn from innocent to not-so-innocent. They are both physically mature. Help!" -- Kathleen Helping boys (and girls) navigate the ins-and-outs of relationships isn't easy. It's also one of our most important jobs. The groundwork and guidelines we establish will set...


126: Helping Teachers Understand Boys

A listener asked us, "How do you gently encourage/educate your boy's teacher on what boys need and how to help them, rather than shame them, when they have gone into anger?" The short answer: It ain't easy, but it's so, so worth it! Many teachers know very little about the specific developmental trajectory and needs of boys; teacher training often does not include a course that delves into gender-related differences in learning and communication. Some teachers naturally "get" boys; others...


125: Anxiety & Depression in Boys

1 in 2 children will develop a mood or behavioral disorder or substance addiction by age 18. We parents like to think that if we "do everything right," our kids will be mentally and physically healthy with nary a care in the world. But that's not the case. The truth is that mental health challenges, including depression and anxiety, affect people of all ages from every segment of society -- including Jen, who was diagnosed with double depression in her mid-30s. Sadly, boys & men are far less...


124: How to Help Your Boys Have a Great School Year

It's back to school time! But despite the smiley faces pictured in many back-to-school ads, the start of a new academic year doesn't exactly generate feelings of enthusiasm and excitement in many boys (or their parents). For many families, back-to-school time is synonymous with dread, fear and anxiety. In fact, the number of boys who don't like school has increased over the past generation. In 1980, 14% of boys said they didn't like school. By 2001, 24% of boys -- nearly one-quarter -- said...


122: Co-Parenting with Brandie Weikle

The word co-parenting is typically associated with divorce, but maybe it's time to change that association. After all, the term refers to shared responsibility for parenting. In the world of divorce, it means that both parents share responsibility for big decisions (like healthcare and education), and both parents share the mundane, day-to-day responsibilities of parenting, like feeding the children and getting them to and from activities. Shared parenting is another term that's often used...


121: Sibling Stress: How to Handle Bickering, Fighting & More

If you have more than one child, you have sibling stress. Bickering! Fighting! Maybe even bullying. Seeing -- and hearing -- our children torment each other is major source of stress and family conflict. We wonder, Have I failed? Are my children doomed to become jerks? Will they EVER get along? Should I intervene? Or let them work it out on their own? Jen and Janet are here to tell you that sibling stress is NORMAL. Your kids' arguing and bickering does not mean that they hate one another --...


120: Hygiene Help for Tween & Teen Boys

Have a boy who hates to shower? You are not alone! When a mom recently asked the Building Boys Facebook group, "Anyone else have a teenage boy who hates to shower?" she was quickly inundated with support and sympathy. Personal hygiene, it seems, is not a priority for most tween and teen boys. Lots of moms said they're dealing with the exact same issue. Others said that their boys spend a lot of time in the shower, but come out with unwashed, still-dirty hair. Is this lack of interest in...


119 Consent with Mike Domirtz

Kids want the skill set to empower them to make the right choices. -- Mike Domritz, founder of The Date Safe Project & father of 4 boys Talking to boys about consent is a must. It's also incredibly challenging and a bit intimidating. Let's face it: if adults were consistently good at consent, there wouldn't be a constant slew of headlines alleging sexual assault and misconduct. The good news about the #MeToo movement is that it's moved the issue of consent into the national conversation....


118: Business Tips from a 12-Year-Old Entrepreneur

Boys can learn a lot by starting and running a business. Jen's youngest son, Sam, bought his older brother's lawn business two years ago, when the older brother moved to Tennessee (where he has since started another lawn care service). At age 12, Sam has a roster of 18 clients. He cuts and trims lawns and performs most of the necessary maintenance on his machines. In this very special episode, Sam shares the story of his business, as well as some tips for would-be entrepreneurs and their...