How Being a “Boy Mom” is Harder

boy mom

Yesterday, we discussed the things that can make raising girls tough. But knowing that both genders can present unique and significant parenting challenges, we’re flipping the page today and discussing how being a “boy mom” is harder in its own way.

The challenges unique to boys seem to change a bit with age. But for boys of all ages, the pressure to perform in sports, pay attention like girls in the classroom, and learn how to “act like a man” in a culture where the definition of a true man is vague.

Boys sometimes lack the emotional language to express what they’re feeling, even to parents who desperately want to know. They can be a little closed off, especially in the middle and high school years. So check out our list of ways in which parenting boys is harder — from the funny to the serious. See if one of these struggles sound like your little man!

1. Boys can be less communicative.

While girls tend to share a lot (sometimes even more than you want to hear) about their feelings, boys often clam up, leaving a mom to wonder what’s really going on in their heads and hearts. In our family, our daughter speaks about 10 words for every 1 our son speaks. While some of it may be linked to personality (she’s more extroverted on the whole), other moms tell me that’s just the way with boys. Try setting aside some one on one time to build your mom-son bond and learn how to speak his language.

2. Boys feel pressure to be athletically talented.

The pressure here varies based upon the culture of your hometown or school, but on the whole, boys growing up in the U.S. are often judged by peers and adults alike based upon their ability in sports. That’s fine if your child is athletically-talented, but it can be a source of angst if he’s not. Even for boys who are good at sports, sometimes the pressure to perform is a burden. Whether he’s a baller or not, help your son to realize that his worth is based on far more than his skill at any game. Help him to keep his athletic endeavors in perspective, whether they’re successes or failures.

3. It’s hard for today’s boys to know what it really means to be a man. {Tweet This}

Back in the day, being a man was all about aftershave, pipe smoke, and bringing home the bacon. Gender roles — in both positive and negative ways — were more clearly-defined. Now it’s harder to paint a picture for your son about what life looks like for a great man because the men are expected to bring home the bacon and change a 3 a.m. diaper. How do you act like a gentleman without offending a progressive young woman? Team up with your husband to outline some core values and traits you want your sons to emulate and focus on making those clear to them.

4. Boys often smell atrocious.

This needs no further explanation.

5. Boys naturally need to pull away from Mom at some point.

In the process of becoming a man, boys will naturally separate themselves from their mothers to some degree in adolescence. Ouch! No mom likes the sound of that. But it’s the natural order of things and necessary for young men to gain independence. Just remember that it’s not about you, and it doesn’t mean that he loves you any less. Just look for ways to appreciate and connect to this new young man, and try to refrain from treating him like your little boy. Sure, you still set the boundaries he needs to be safe, while learning how to live life as a man, but acknowledge that the mantle of responsibility is slowly shifting from your shoulders to his and that you are proud of who he’s becoming.

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In The Comments

What are some of the parenting struggles unique to boys, in your experience?