We hear a lot about boys (and men) not being able to express their emotions. And when it comes to the boys who hit out at others, or grow up to be men who act violently, there’s not much sympathy.
So, it’s important to understand what might be behind the behaviour of so-called ‘angry boys’ – those who bite, kick, punch, yell or more – through their early childhood years and into primary school and beyond.
Parenting Ideas founder Michael Grose presents a range of easy-to-digest techniques for parents to temper the aggression of their male children including learning relaxation techniques, listening skills and role-modelling a moderate, non-reactive and balanced response to their own frustrations.
For a start, “don’t accept a ‘boys will be boys’ mentality,” he advises in a recent blog on Parenting Ideas.
“As parents and teachers we need to do all in our power to help them express emotions verbally and in other socially acceptable ways.”
Talking it out
Grose encourages parents to look beyond the behaviour, to get their boys talking about the feelings that may have led to an aggressive incident. If they are cross with another person such as a sibling, he recommends asking what they would like the person to do, or not do.
Another technique is to let the child have some space and time to relax, to take the steam out of a situation. “Boys can be very active”, says parenting educator Maggie Dent in the article, “so they literally need to wind down.”
As with adults, poor sleep patterns are likely to increase low frustration tolerance and irritability. This might mean going to bed earlier, or for the child who cannot fall asleep, trying sleep-inducing tactics such as more physical exercise during the day.
“Those boys who have a tendency toward anger and aggressive behaviour generally have poor sleep habits as well,” writes Grose.
Other tips include:
- Parents to role model non-aggressive behavior
- Limit consumption of video and digital games containing verbal and physical aggression
- Teach boys to walk away and take some deep breaths when they get angry
- Don’t ask boys outright how they are feeling, but instead tease out the response by making it more specific, for example ‘how they feel about something, such as missing out on a team selection?’
- Validate their child’s response, for example, ‘I can understand how you would feel that way.’
Parenting Ideas has many resources on its website, positioning itself as an educator and supporter of parents.
A 12-week course speaks directly to parenting boys. For $97, parents can learn how to ‘delve into the mind of boys’ and explore a range of topics via video tutorials. These include what drives boys, developing confidence, communication skills, how to help boys be more organised, how to leverage technology and minimise risk and how to best help boys learn and succeed at school.
“The key to raising a happy, confident and balanced boy is to understand what makes him tick,” begins the course.
Michael Grose delivers the course with leading experts in the field including Dr Jodi Richardson, Vanessa Hamilton, Sharon Witt, Martine Oglethorpe, and Kate Johnson – to provide insights and opportunities for further learning.
Parenting Ideas has also developed a $35 ‘Parenting Boys Pack’, comprised of four PDF e-guides covering.
- Boosting Boys Self-Esteem
- Managing Boys
- Understanding Behaviour
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Photo by Vanessa Bumbeers