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Part 2 - Hear and Now How To Understand Boys And What They Are Thinking

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

An old adage tells us to “Stop, Look, and Listen”….but when it comes to tuning into your son’s emotions and knowing what’s on his mind experts advice to “Move, Look, and Listen”.

According to research boys and young men are better at talking when you combine conversing with a “non-threatening” and enjoyable activity such as biking, fishing, sports, etc. In fact experts remind parents that the discussion will keep moving as long as they do the same.

So, moms and dads, staying active in your kids’ lives (literally) is not only physically healthy, but also emotionally beneficial. Professionals make the following suggestions on how to be a good sport about listening.

1. NEVER undermine the importance or significance of what your child is feeling. Even if YOU feel his issues are trite and trivial, remember they are colossal to him. Belittling his feelings will only embarrass him, make him conscientious and doubtful of his emotions, and discourage him from feeling good about himself and engaging in more discussions.

2. Be prepared to show YOUR “vulnerability” and share your emotions, feelings, and experiences. Do Not be embarrassed or ashamed of “bad” decisions or “poor” choices, or “fragile” moments, instead rely on and use them as learning tools for your child, while at the same time making you more “real” in his eyes. Remember, he’ll be more inclined to open up to and listen to someone he can relate to.

3. Remember to K.I. S. S. him…or Keep It Short and Simple. Boys are little men and they tend to tune out to lengthy discourses of suggestions and information. Get to the point…be thorough but brief and move on by passing the conch back to him.

4. “Lower” your expectations, at least regarding an immediate response. Again, boys, like men, need time to digest the information, ponder it and reach a “well-thought-out” and evaluated solution. Offer your opinion but give him time and space to mull it over and reach his own decision.

5. Keep Quiet. While difficult for most of us to do since most likely we’ve “been there, done that”….allowing your son to do the talking while you do the LISTENING is a great way to open the communication gap. Consider that while he may eventually want and ask for your advice, he may (initially) simply be turning to you to vent (without being judged). When he’s “done” ask if there’s anything you can say or do to help but if he says no, respect his honesty and choice and approach him at some other time…above all, let him know you are always there when HE’S ready.

Next: The Good, The "Bad" And The Persecuted>>

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Part 2 - Hear and Now How To Understand Boys And What They Are Thinking

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