Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Finding An Outlet

I have had next to no experience with little boys and the antics and energy they possess.  I don't have any brothers of my own, and most of the "boys" that I've dealt with were of the older teenage variety.  Now I'm constantly discovering how vastly different boys are from girls.  It has been my recent experience that boys have a great deal more pent-up energy than girls, but in a house filled with girls, it is hard for them to find a proper outlet.  Thus, the boys resort to throwing things, swinging sticks, and chasing and/or torturing their siblings because they don't have a constructive means of dispensing their innate energy.  While this energy is a beautiful thing, the aforementioned means of releasing it are not acceptable.  Unfortunately, people (like myself up until recently) may not know how to deal with the energy of a young boy, and so they simply punish the apparent disobedience and reckless behavior rather than tracking down the source of the boy's actions.  If this is your first experience with raising little boys, do not despair.  It's definitely a matter of trial and error, but you will succeed!  And here's a few tips on how to deal with that energetic young man you're raising.

Most of the time that little boys act up and become little terrors they are simply trying to use up all their energy and desire for action.  All boys (or so I gather) have an innate desire for physical activity and roughhousing, which stems from their innate calling to be the protector of their future families. Furthermore, they generally go through phases of playing cops & robbers, pirates, knights, soldiers, etc., all of which speak towards their tendency towards protection of others (although at the time, they probably only think of how fun it is to pretend to be a strong knight using his sword to defeat the evil dragon.)  Most boys also have an inclination towards manual labor such as construction or building forts.  They love taking things apart (such as their bikes) and figuring out how things work.  So rather than inhibiting this natural energy, learn how to channel it correctly.

1.  Find an outlet.  Does your child like banging a hammer?  Do they prefer fighting imaginary monsters?  Are they inclined towards sports?  Once you determine your child's particular interests, do all in your power to provide opportunity for him to pursue his instructive play (although he doesn't need to know that he is learning.)  Show your boy how to create a doghouse or build the perfect fort rather than simply crushing his desire to pile things together and hide beneath or jump upon them.  I'm not suggesting that you give his energy free rein.  There are still household rules regarding proper behavior indoors vs. outdoors, and he is still not allowed to behave meanly towards his siblings or destroy the house.  I am suggesting that you find a proper outlet for his energy rather than simply trying to squelch it because you don't know how to deal with it.

2.  Encourage him.  Teach your son the virtues that accompany strong male heroes and leaders to whom he can look as examples of how to live an exemplary life.  Show him how he can imitate his father in the way he treats his sisters, helping them rather than terrorizing them.  Rather than pushing the little girls to the side, teach your son how to help those smaller and younger than he.  At all times prompt him to live a saintly life of humility and virtue.  Help him to understand how to combine his energy and his thoughts to become a manly boy.

3.  Exercise is a good thing.  Generally when a young boy acts up, he needs to let off some steam or dispense with some excess energy.  Rather than losing your temper, send him outside to run laps or do jumping jacks.  Once he has his energy under control again, you can continue with your schooling or other project.  A young boy grows quickly, and thus a healthy lifestyle is key to his success as a man.  Daily exercise through sports or a simply home PE program helps keep his body fit, release his energy, and teach him to create an ordered program.

4.  What about rainy days?  If you are plagued by a stormy day (or several in a row), it's harder to send the boy outdoors to release his energy.  And as the days pass, his energy builds up since he cannot escape the enclosing house.  Believe me, this is when he begins to act up excessively (even if he doesn't really want to).  Your temper will run shorter because you, too, are trapped inside with bouncing children.  Please try to keep your cool.  You'll have to get creative, but there are ways to let out his energy without destroying the house or your temper.  Create an obstacle course, even if you don't have a very large room.  Institute a family olympics with competitions in jumping, speed, bounces, etc.  See how many times he can run up and down the stairs in a minute.  Time how many seconds it takes to do 100 jumping jacks.  Whatever you do, remember that he isn't necessarily misbehaving because he is simply feeling wicked.  Most likely, he simply has too much energy and doesn't know how to deal with it.

Regardless of how you decide to deal with your young son's energy, keep in mind that it is natural.  While you may not understand it fully (I know I don't), you can figure out how to help him channel his energy constructively.  And it is always useful (I have decided) to consult with your friends in this matter.  Swap ideas and horror stories.  Figure out that you're not the only woman on the planet having to deal with a rambunctious little boy.  By this comfort and confidence you can succeed in raising your little boy to be a great man, filled with masculine strength and virtue.

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