Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Raising Boys - talk summary

I went to a fantastic talk last night about Raising Boys, by Celia Lashlie.

First time appearing in South Africa - Celia Lashlie, International expert on raising adolescent boys is presenting to teachers and parents.
Wynberg Boys’ High School proudly presents Celia Lashlie, well-known New Zealand best-selling author with a wealth of experience in the ways of raising young men, in a first time South African public address on Monday 17 March 2014, 7pm at Wynberg Boys’ High School.
Celia’s three best sellers:
• The Journey to Prison : Who Goes and Why
• He’ll Be Ok : Growing Gorgeous Boys Into Good Men
• The Power of Mothers : Releasing Our Children

It was very interesting and well worth attending!

There was not actually all that much completely new info given to be honest, but her style is wonderful, and she gave some good reminders and insights into the boy brain and the differences between boy/male processing and responses as compared to those of women. She managed to be really poignant, entertaining, and inspirational. She makes you feel like you are doing ok already (rather than guilty or not good enough), and inspires you to improve through insight and awareness, rather than pure instruction.

Main points I remember are:
- Shut-up and give them time and space to think and speak. (If you keep talking and asking, and then answering, all the questions they have no reason to.) Boys and men think, pause and then speak. Unlike women who think while they speak and speak while they are thinking. Give them the space and quiet to process before speaking and they will.
- You CAN tell them to go away when they are annoying.
- Teenage boys are LAZY!
- The laziness and lying around is part of their escape from the world to process and deal with it all before venturing out. So don't let them lie around endlessly, but they can and do need it sometimes to recharge.
- Boys are idiots, they are going to do stupid things!
- You should say no sometimes. It's ok to be a 'bitch mom from hell' sometimes.
- You CAN let them know how they are affecting you. By saying things like 'I worry when I don't know where you are.' 'I feel shut out when you don't speak to me' 'I wonder how you are?' They may be more responsive to that than ‘how are you?’ ‘Why were you late?’ etc, start with I so it’s positioned from your perspective and not an accusation per se.
- Keep being fun and laughing with them.
- But you are their PARENT not their FRIEND so DO keep the boundaries in place and be firm about them, that's what they are looking for and testing - to see if you are in control and they are safe.
- Everything is game and power-play with boys/men. (But we are smarter! Out-play them!)
- Boys have intuition, but often don't use it, because they don't need to. The more at risk and traumatised they are the more heightened and in tune with it they are.
- They KNOW stuff. You don't have to teach them stuff, just help them to 'know what they know'. So back to point one let them articulate stuff and get stuff out of the 'gut' space where they store their intuition and once they say it they solidify mentally what they actually know physically. 
- Deal with the situation at hand on its own not all the what ifs and future imagined consequences of it. (e.g. If he steals money from your purse once at age 6 it does not mean he'll be jailed for life for robbing a bank later on, so don't react to the 6 year old as if he has robbed a bank.)
- Sex advice. While coming from an older man might seem like a good idea, the advice can NOT be dispensed by anyone who his mom has had sex with, else all he can think is 'YOU DID THAT TO MY MOM?!'
- They do love their moms (and their dads) but loving mom and tidying their rooms/doing chores have no link at all. They do not express their love for you by tidying them rooms!
- 1 boy = 1 brain, 2 boys = 1/2 a brain. When they are together they are MORE stupid!
- Their frontal 'idiot brain' acts first and is what can and does get them into trouble (death, injury, jail etc). You need to help develop and express that inner core of knowledge and intuition to make sure they take the extra few second to THINK before acting stupid, when it really matters.
- They will always pretend to hate school, but they secretly love it. The system, friends, freedom in rules etc. They get scared and even have grief towards the end of their school careers when the end draws near and they fear for losing what they know and feel safe in. They have fought against it and wanted to leave forever but as soon as it is pending they are terrified by it.
- Boys in Grade 9 (15-16) are MOST at risk and at their stupidest, since all of their blood is in their groin.
- A lot of the acting out boys do is attention seeking. They want to be noticed and loved and acknowledged. Especially by their dads in their teenage years.
- Once a boy gets bigger, stronger and faster than his dad - it's a scary time for him as he has a position of physical power. Dad's need to stay fun and keep their sense of humour then and not shut off and be threatened by their sons, they need to share their wisdom from them on, as that's what the boy wants and need from him.
- He'll be OK.
- Moms need to let go and let them be free.
- Boys are gorgeous.
- They do turn into good men - eventually. Although the evidence may be a long time coming and even singular in occurrence.
Oh yes and boys need time.
- They mull over stuff and then do it when 'it's time'.
So they'll think about a project for a week or more and then always only do it the night before, 'when it's time'.
Before that would be wasting time and there's always better stuff to do. And anyway the school might burn down before it's due and then they would have wasted time doing it!

Hope that helps! J

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