Many parents today were raised in matriarchal homes. Mom was there and was most involved. Dad was earning a living, and called upon to be the tough one from time to time. How do female-oriented experiences and training work to help moms and dads figure out how to raise manly boys?
Things have changed today. Dads are co-parenting. Moms are often co-earning. How do we learn to work together to raise our kids – especially our boys?
Being present, with what is happening right this minute, is mindfulness. When we are mindful, we can remove judgment, shame and blame. We can be empowered as parents to create a zone for our kids where it is safe just to be.
That Safe Place helps each member of the household to blossom and become all they can be. Think for a moment how unsafe your child can feel when people – like maybe you – lose their cool around them.
It can be scary. It also teaches poor coping skills for them to call upon when they get stressed out.
How often do we do what our parents did, on automatic pilot? Instead of mindfully coming up with solutions and ideas that will work best to help our kids get the best we can give them? How frustrating that can be!
I know I was raised with some old-fashioned ideas about handling bad behavior, like yelling and spankings. When my kids acted up, that would be my default way that I sometimes handled them! I had to figure out how to react differently all on my own…thankfully, I was able to do that for the most part.
Today there are resources that I didn't have. I want you to know about them. The cost of not having them is high, the benefits are crazy wonderful, for you and your kids.
Stress of holidays? Stress of illness? Stress of money, or work, or school projects, or classmates who are being bullies? What about temper tantrums?
All of these things WILL happen. It is life, isn't it? It's not like we live in some dreamworld where nothing ever goes amiss. People lose their cools.
How can we bring mindfulness into times like that? An even bigger question is, what happens if we don't?
If we fail to give our children the safety net of love and security, we can condemn them to a life of badly handling conflict and stress. The opiod epidemic is life-threatening today. Kids are more stressed and more depressed than ever.
How can we help our kids avoid making decisions that will hurt them? How can we help them live high functioning and fulfilling lives?
The Safe Creative Zone
But let's say you decide that your pain is really big about how you typically respond to stress. Let's say that makes you willing to try another approach. That is the moment where you create a zone for creativity for yourself and for your child.
Do you have sons? Many parents don't have any modeling on how to deal with boys, or with involved fathers either. There's a new paradigm today, with dads being more involved. It's very cool, and it can be kind of challenging too. We don't know how.
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Time Out and Mindfulness?
It could be that it is time for a time-out for both of you. Just some separation for a bit, while you both practice some mindfulness.
Let's give a time-out some definition. I suggest it needs to be set up, ahead of time, in a calm and loving way. Call it not a punishment, but a thinking space of time – for when things are getting crazy.
A thinking space to restore peace and harmony in the home.
Set up a place. It can be a chair, or a step. A place that is distraction-free, so thinking is fostered.
Be consistent! It will probably be hard in the beginning. Everyone needs to get used to the idea.
Consistent means, do it immediately when the behavior happens. Kids have short memories and will be very confused if you finish your yard work before you send him to time-out!
Consistent also means, when he gets up or wriggles to distract himself or reach for a toy, put him back in place and start over, every time!
How Much Time?
Experts suggest a minute for every year of age. That means 3 minutes for a 3-year-old, for instance. If you find that is not long enough to get things calmed down for him, you can try adding half again as much time. That would mean 4 1/2 minutes.
Then, when the time is up, move on. Talk briefly with your child about his time-our. Ask if he knows what happened and what he thinks about it.
Don't Lose Your Cool
Mindfulness in parenting means conscious parenting. Intentional parenting.
Be present with your own reactions and feelings. If you feel frustrated, acknowledge your feeling. If you feel angry, be present with that feeling, observe how you feel, and accept that you feel that way.
Judging yourself or your child will not help the situation. We are all human, all growing, all becoming our highest and best. It's a process. It's what life is all about!
Creative Tips for Mindful Parenting Strategies – How to Raise Manly Boys
Knowing the power of our thoughts, we know it is important to let go of worry and release our children and ourselves from judgment.
If we worry that we are bad parents, that will not make us bad but it will communicate a level of judgment and stress to your child that doesn't prepare him to live in the realities of not being perfect himself.
To be present, you name the challenge. If Johnny is having a temper tantrum, you say, “Johnny is having a temper tantrum.” You may want to add “-for now” as a reminder to yourself that the only constant in life is change.
Then the next step in being a mindful parent is to accept that your child is not perfect and never will be. And to accept that you're not perfect and never will be.
Your ability to accept him right where he is, and to deal with him without judgment and worry, will be a great lesson to him for his life experiences where he'll have to deal with both himself and other flawed human beings.
Creative and Innovative Living
When we allow ourselves to be mindful, and to live creatively, we open up the opportunity to learn and to grow. We get to fully unfold the potential of our individual humanity and vibration.
As we open up the fullness of our personalities, we find self-esteem and joy.
As parents, this communicates to our children and helps them also live creatively. Some of us instinctively and experientially know a lot about raising girls. Some empowering parenting training to be the best possible is always a help.
For many, the challenge arises in understanding how men and boys think and in helping them to become all they are meant to be. How to raise manly boys can be a challenge.
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