• Gifted & Twice-Exceptional (2E) Boys

    Gifted & twice-exceptional boys often struggle in school, despite their intelligence & talents.

    In fact, boys who are gifted or twice-exceptional (which means they are gifted & have a learning disability) are considered “problem kids.” Teachers (and other adults) may make boredom as lack of focus, or assume that poor grades indicate lack of intelligence. For many 2E boys, their learning disabilities overshadow their giftedness; for others, their giftedness hides their learning disabilities, says Deborah (Deb) Gennarelli, a gifted education specialist who is also the author of Twice-Exceptional Boys: A Roadmap to Getting it Right. 

    Intensity is part of giftedness — a part that frequently presents challenges for gifted & 2E boys. “Intensity is treated different in boys than in girls in this culture,” Deb says. Teachers & parents may punish or try to “fix” boys’ intensity, which typically only creates more problems.

    Gifted & 2E boys need support to thrive. “We can’t ignore the fact that students that have high intelligence look at things in different ways, behave in different ways, learn in different ways,” Deb says. “With the right support, these boys can go from surviving to thriving.”

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Deb discuss:
    • Myths & misconceptions about gifted & 2E boys
    • Special challenges for gifted & 2E boys
    • Why many smart boys struggle in school
    • Advocating for gifted & 2E boys
    • Parenting gifted & 2E boys

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Twice-Exceptional Boys: A Roadmap to Getting it Right, by Deborah Gennarelli, M.Ed.

    www.deborahgennarelli.com — Deb’s website

    Twice-Exceptional Boys (w Ramsey Hootman) — ON BOYS episode

    When Your Kid is the Classroom Problem Child — heartbreaking The Cut article about a 2E boy

    Twice Exceptional Students — info from the National Association for Gifted Children

    Twice Exceptional — classic Building Boys post

    Talk with Boys Like a PRO (about anything & everything!) — Jen & Janet’s upcoming course (starts May 7, 2024)


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    44m - Apr 11, 2024
  • Real Talk About Fentanyl, Opioids, & Marijuana

    Like it or not, fentanyl, other opioids, and marijuana are part of our boys’ world.

    “It is very easy to get drugs on social media,” says Michelle Leopold, a mother who’s son, Trevor, died after taking a pill he purchase online.

    Ignoring these uncomfortable fact isn’t helpful. We have to educate ourselves and educate our boys. Here’s why:

    Marijuana harms young brains

    Today’s marijuana and marijuana-based products are far stronger than those of the past.

    “It’s so important to learn about today’s marijuana,”Michelle says. Although marijuana and THC products are now legal in many states, study after study has shown that these products are not safe for developing brains.

    Fentanyl kills

    In 2019, Trevor, age 18, swallowed a blue pill he thought was oxycodone. It wasn’t.

    Despite its markings, there was no oxycodone in the pill. The pill Trevor purchased was a counterfeit pill, & it contained fentanyl, a narcotic that’s 100 times more powerful than morphine, 50 times more powerful than heroin—and lethal at just a few grains.

    Trevor didn’t get high; Trevor died.

    According to the US. Dept of Justice, over 150 people die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. As many as 7 in 10 counterfeit pills — pills sold online & purported to be oxycodone or other “prescription” meds — may now contain a lethal dose of fentanyl.

    “People now need to assume that any drug they don’t get from their pharmacist has fentanyl in it,” Michelle says. “The odds are not in your favor.”

    “I am going to use Trevor’s story to prevent other parents from losing their children.” — Michelle Leopold

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Michelle discuss:
    • How marijuana can affect teens & families
    • Recognizing signs of drug use
    • Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
    • Parenting a child who is using substances
    • Just Say KNOW vs. Just Say No
    • Where teens and young adults are getting drugs & pills
    • Getting & using naloxone (Narcan)
    • Recognizing & responding to an overdose

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Marijuana to Fentanyl: My Son is More Than a Statistic — post by Michelle

    www.wearenotalone.community — Michelle’s blog (packed w info!)

    Addiction Inoculation w Jessica Lahey — ON BOYS episode

    Troubled Boys (w Kenneth R Rosen) — ON BOYS episode

    Another View of Wilderness Therapy — ON BOYS episode

    http://drugfree.org/  and toll-free Helpline (1-855-DRUGFREE / 1-855-378-4373) 

    TheNewDrugTalk.org

    SAMHSA National Helpline 1-800-662-4357 (Confidential free help, from public health agencies, to find substance use treatment and information)

    SongForCharlie.org 

    https://www.dea.gov/onepill

    dancesafe.org (Fentanyl Test Strips and Drug Checking Kits)

    Adding Naloxone to Your First Aid Kit — Decipher Your Health post (NOTE: Jen now has naloxone in her home)

    shatterproof.org — includes a Narcan training video

    Al-Anon — support for family & friends of people w alcohol use disorder

    Nar-Anon — support for family & friends of people who use narcotics

    Sponsor Spotlight: Armoire

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    53m - Apr 4, 2024
  • 50/50 Shared Parenting

    50/50 shared parenting is good for boys & good for parents. 

    But it’s not yet the norm, despite decades of research demonstrating the value of shared parenting.

    “It’s one part sexism and one part misunderstanding of the latest social science around what it best for kids,” says Emma Johnson, author of The 50/50 Solution: The Surprising Simple Choice that Makes Moms, Dads, and Kids Happier & Healthier After a Divorce. “”Thankfully, we are barreling toward a better future. No one’s really been able to quantify where or how often 50/50 is happening, but it’s definitely better than when I divorced 15 years ago.”

    Why 50/50 parenting should be the default

    Children (and parents) thrive when they have regular, close connection. The exact number of minutes or days children and parents spend together isn’t as important as regular, routine interaction — and that’s what 50/50 shared parenting schedules provide.

    “Kids then know, intellectually, emotionally, and in their hearts that my mom and dad are both in it to win it. No one’s going to check out, slip out, or move away. No one’s got the upper hand,” Emma says.

    Shared parenting also gives both parents time to practice parenting and time to focus on work, adult connections, and self-care. And seeing both parents actively involved in parenting and work broadens children’s ideas of work and family. As Emma writes in her book, “An equal 50/50 parenting presumption is the one policy change that could dramatically help tens of millions of children, their families, and communities, without any additional funding.”

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Emma discuss:
    • Benefits of shared parenting for parents & children
    • The role of sexism in parenting – & parenting decisions post-divorce
    • Why you need to let go of the idea of being the “better” parent
    • Parental gatekeeping
    • Sharing caregiving and financial responsibility
    • Co-parenting when your separation or divorce was not amicable
    • Societal benefits of 50/50 parenting

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    The 50/50 Solution: The Surprising Simple Choice that Makes Moms, Dads, and Kids Happier & Healthier After a Divorce, by Emma Johnson

    Single Parenting w Wealthy Single Mommy Emma Johnson –– ON BOYS episode

    Parenting Boys Thru Divorce — ON BOYS episode

    Is Shared Parenting Best for Boys After Divorce? — BuildingBoys post

    Moms for Shared Parenting –– an activist organization promoting equally shared parenting 

    Sponsor Spotlight: Armoire

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    Jen’s Feb. Armoire haul


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    Menopause care made easy!

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    48m - Mar 28, 2024
  • Marc Hauser on Building Resilience

    Building boys’ resilience can help them thrive, says Marc Hauser. 

    Even if they’ve experienced a lot of adversity.

    “Adversity experienced by children is not a rare event, but a relatively common event,” says Marc, author of Vulnerable Minds: The Harms of Childhood Trauma & the Hope of ResilienceAdverse childhood experiences (ACEs) may include abuse, violence, neglect, poverty, and loss of a caregiver, and these experiences can negatively affect kids’ development.

    But although research linking ACEs to behavioral problems and decreased academic achievement has been around for more than two decades, many adults still do not understand that adverse experiences may be at the root of children’s behavioral issues. Boys who act up (or out) at school, at home, or in the community are frequently met with punishment, not understanding.

    Shifting your mindset from What’s wrong with you? to What happened to you? What’s happening? can be “transformative,” Marc says.

    The 5 Ts (& How They Impact ACEs)

    All adverse experiences are not equal. There are 5 Ts that can impact a child’s adverse experiences:

    Type  – Poverty may impact a child differently than sexual abuse or loss of a caregiver, for instance.

    Tenure  – How long is the child exposed to the adverse experience? Is it relatively fleeting, or a persistent issue over many months or years?

    Timing – When, during the child’s development, did they experience an adverse event? Some ACEs are particularly impactful if they occur during specific phases of development.

    Toxicity  — This describes the severity of the event. Broadly speaking, severe physical abuse is typically more impactful than mild physical abuse.

    Turbulence – How unpredictable and uncontrollable is the event?


    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Marc discuss:
    • Prevalence of ACEs
    • How exposure to trauma affects parents & their parenting practices
    • ACEs impact on males
    • The COVID pandemic’s impact on boys
    • Strategies boys (& others) can use to mitigate the impact of ACEs

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Vulnerable Minds: The Harms of Childhood Trauma & the Hope of Resilience, by Marc Hauser

    marcdhauser.com — Marc’s website

    risk-eraser.com

    “Whole Child, Whole Life” with Stephanie Malia Krauss — ON BOYS episode

    Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) & Muscle Dysphoria — ON BOYS episode

    Sponsor Spotlight: Armoire

    Clothing rental subscription that makes getting dressed easier. Visit armoire.style/ONBOYS to get up to 50% OFF your first month.

    Jen’s Feb. Armoire haul

    Sponsor Spotlight: Dabble & Dollop

    Natural bath products for kids. Visit dabbleandollop.com/onboys to get 20% OFF your first order!

    Sponsor Spotlight: American Blossom Linens

    Grown, spun, & woven in the USA. Use code ONBOYS to save 20%.

    Sponsor Spotlight: Winona

    Menopause care made easy!

    Visit bywinona.com/onboys & use code ONBOYS to get 25% your first order.

     

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    Our Sponsors:
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    51m - Mar 21, 2024
  • How to Raise a Healthy Gamer

    Yes, it’s possible to raise a healthy gamer. Even in a world saturated with video games.

    Fighting about video games, however, isn’t helpful, says Alok Kanojia (aka Dr. K), author of How to Raise a Healthy Gamer: End Power Struggles, Break Bad Screen Habits, and Transform Your Relationship with Your Kids.

    “Right now, there is an antagonistic relationship between most parents & their kids around video gaming,” Dr. K says. “You think they need to cut back; they don’t think they have a problem. Then, as parents start to institute limits, children will try to undermine them. Even if you ‘win’ in this scenario, you lose.”

    It’s more helpful, he says, to establish a collaborative relationship. Ask your child what he enjoys about gaming. Listen carefully to his answers, with an ear to understanding. Really work to understand what he gets from gaming, and ask questions to help him reflect on the role of video games in his life.

    This takes time — and it’s time well invested.

    “The time scale that a lot of parents operate on around video games is too small,” Dr. K says. Slow down, & don’t impose solutions. Instead, work on shared problem-solving. “This shifts the dynamic from ‘us vs them’ to ‘we’re on the same team.’ And the moment we make that shift, we see some beautiful changes.”

     

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Dr. K discuss:
    • Why video games are so problematic for many boys & their families
    • The role of gaming in boys’ lives
    • Video game addiction
    • Handling boys’ resistance
    • Why you should never make & enforce a boundary at the same time
    • Why you shouldn’t use gaming as a disciplinary tool (or reward)
    • Responding to kids who won’t put down their phone

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    How to Raise a Healthy Gamer: End Power Struggles, Break Bad Screen Habits, and Transform Your Relationship with Your Kids, by Alok Kanojia (aka Dr. K)

    www.healthygamer.gg — Dr. K’s website

    Why are Video Games So Important to Boys? — ON BOYS episode

    The Evolution of Esports — ON BOYS episode

    The Link Between Freedom & Video Games — BuildingBoys blog post

    Why Boys Play Video Games – BuildingBoys blog post

    Sponsor Spotlight: Armoire

    Clothing rental subscription that makes getting dressed easier. Visit armoire.style/ONBOYS to get up to 50% OFF your first month.

    Jen’s Feb. Armoire haul

    Sponsor Spotlight: HomeThreads

    Make your home family friendly. Use this link to get 15% off.

    Sponsor Spotlight: American Blossom Linens

    Grown, spun, & woven in the USA. Use code ONBOYS to save 20%.

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    Natural bath products for kids. Visit dabbleandollop.com/onboys to get 20% OFF your first order!




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    52m - Mar 14, 2024
  • Listener Q & A: Getting Curious & Motivating Boys

    How, exactly, does one “get curious” about their son without badgering him?

    That’s a big, important question, and that’s exactly what Jennifer wants to know:

    Lately, as he is resisting my normal questioning…I feel like I am now pushing him to evaluate his feelings, talk to me, or just engage…I have seen this cute, fun challenge of showing a person two pieces of paper. Each one has something different written in it. The recipient who is choosing the paper has no idea what is on the other side. At one time, this fun way to choose an adventure with me would have been exciting. Today was the exact opposite. He whined, then slithered down in his seat. Covered his face. I was taken aback. So I “got curious”. I asked him what was he feeling. “I don’t know”. I asked him if he thought I would put something un-fun on them. “I don’t know.” Why. Are you feeling like a lack of control? “I don’t know”. I probed a bit more, but you get the idea…

    Well-meaning mom + fun idea + teen boy = Disappointment & discomfort

    Timing may have been part of the problem. When talking to teenage boys, it’s best to avoid after-school surprises. It’s better to give them a heads-up; let them know, in advance, that you want to talk with (or do something) with them – and then, together, figure out good time.

    And as for getting curious, Jen reminds listeners that “getting curious” can be internal. Instead of interrogating your son, get quiet. Think about what might be going on under the surface. Read, listen, and learn about what may be going on with your son.

    Other questions we address include:

    My son had undiagnosed learning differences for many years. We have changed schools a few times, but his motivation is at an all-time low…I read in a lot of literature that kids often lack motivation because of their relationship with their parents. We generally have a good relationship, but we worry that he still feels we failed him all those years ago…

    and

     I get calls from the school that my boys misbehave…They usually get a consequence at school. How harsh should I follow up at home, do they need a second punishment?

    and

    If my junior has a winter dance coming up, and I think he should go, can I make him go or bribe him, or is this me living vicariously through him?

    and also:

    I’d like to hear something about the “other” teens. The ones who hide their insecurities behind perfection…So growing up they miss out on opportunities, camps, jobs… How do I help them become more confident? How do I help them see their value, take initiative and try new stuff?

    and

    I’m reluctant to let my kid go to summer camp… nervous… and how do I actually GET him to go?

    Note Jen’s sweater – it’s a rental from Armoire, one of our sponsors!

    In this episode, Jen & Janet discuss:
    • Why teenage boys don’t embrace (& often reject) our ideas
    • The importance of real self-care
    • Managing fear & guilt
    • Boys’ motivation
    • Responding to misbehavior & phone calls from school
    • Perfectionism
    • Summer camp & separation anxiety

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Boost Boys’ Motivation –– our online course

    Listener Q & A: Punishment, Teenage Boys, & Letting Go — Q & A from late 2023

    Needed: Boy-Friendly Schools — ON BOYS episode

    Debt Free Mom Discusses Family Finances –– ON BOYS episode

    Emails & Phone Calls from Teachers — ON BOYS episode

    Sleepovers, Camp, & Separation Anxiety — ON BOYS episode

    Building Boys Bulletin — Jen’s Substack newsletter


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    Our Sponsors:
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    48m - Mar 7, 2024
  • Debt Free Mom Discusses Family Finances

    “Debt Free Mom” (aka Carly Hill) knows that family finances can be a fraught topic.

    Yet family finances affect every aspect of family life: A family’s stress level, as well as housing, education, and recreational choices. Family finances play into decisions such as rec sports or travel team? Private school or public school? And, of course, our attitude and money habits affects our children as well. Our boys learn a lot about money management — both good and bad! – from us.

    On Budgeting & Money Management

    “A budget is simply a tool, a way to arrive at an outcome that’s not going to happen by accident,” Carly says.

    Step one in budgeting (or creating a money plan) is to understand the gap — either positive or negative — between your income & expenses. “Any financial goal that we have is all going to be driven by the gap between our income and our expenses.”

    You may not have a financial cushion; your expenses may regularly exceed your income. That’s stressful. And stress and overwhelm can cause us to freak out and/or ignore our financial situation. Instead, Carly recommends radical acceptance.

    “We have to radically accept what’s already happened,” she says. You can’t go back and un-borrow your student loans or choose a different job. Take some deep breaths and look at your real numbers — how much money you owe and how much you have. (Often, Carly says, things aren’t as dire as people think.)

    Once you know your numbers, do NOT jump to creating a budget. Instead, think about what you’re trying to achieve. What goal would you like to work towards? A good first goal is to consistently spend less than you make. Don’t worry about saving or paying down debt yet.

    Next, focus on your financial circle of influence. You can’t control grocery prices; you can control how quickly you press “buy” online.

    If you’re struggling to see a path forward — if you’ve already cut expenses and don’t see a way to increase your income — it may be wise to get outside advice. “We’re often too close to our own situation to see an alternate path,” Carly says. An outside advisor (who may be a friend or financial professional) isn’t emotionally involved and may be able to see alternatives that you can’t.

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Carly discuss:
    • Budgeting, saving, spending
    • Why your parents’ money advice may not work for you
    • How having a money plan can ease stress
    • Understanding your financial circle of influence
    • Establishing clear goals & clear incentives
    • Negotiating conflicting financial priorities
    • Resisting pressure to buy

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    debtfreemom.co — Carly’s website

    The Debt Free Mom podcast

    Teach Boys Money Management — ON BOYS episode

    Sponsor Spotlight: Armoire

    Clothing rental subscription that makes getting dressed easier. Visit armoire.style/ONBOYS to get up to 50% OFF your first month.

    Jen’s Feb. Armoire haul

    Sponsor Spotlight: Dabble & Dollop

    Natural bath products for kids. Visit dabbleandollop.com/onboys to get 20% OFF your first order!

    Sponsor Spotlight: Winona

    Menopause care made easy!

    Visit bywinona.com/onboys & use code ONBOYS to get 25% your first order.

    Sponsor Spotlight: HomeThreads

    Make your home family friendly. Use this link to get 15% off.

     




    Our Sponsors:
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    55m - Feb 29, 2024
  • Maggie Dent: Build Up Dads to Benefit Boys

    Many Dads want to “step up with their hearts” and “actively parent,” says Maggie Dent, Australian parenting author and host of The Good Enough Dad and Parental As Anything podcasts. 

    “They want to know how to do it well,” she says, noting that most dads have little experience caring for (or interacting with!) children prior to becoming a parent. Moms, though, often unconsciously interfere with dads’ parenting efforts by criticizing fathers or insisting that dads follow their parenting directives.

    “If you keep telling a boy or a man they’re ‘doing it wrong,’ they’ll just stop,” Maggie says. “Moms have to let go a bit. You’ve got to step back.”

    Dads need time to figure out parenting too. They need space to make mistakes (& discoveries!) And they need to know that we value their contributions.

    Boys (and girls and nonbinary children) do best when dads are involved. Building up dads benefits boys!

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Maggie discuss:
    • Changing expectations for dads
    • Maternal gatekeeping
    • Creating “team parent”
    • How dads support one another
    • Using “dad dates” to connect with your kids
    • Supporting dads

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    MaggieDent.com — Maggie’s website (LOTS of good stuff here, including a link to her podcast, Parental as Anything, and links to her courses & books)

    The Good Enough Dad — podcast hosted by Maggie

    Dads Matter (w Marion Hill) — ON BOYS episode

    Dads, Boys, & Masculinity — ON BOYS episode

    Maggie Dent on How to Motivate Boys — 2022 ON BOYS episode

    Maggie Dent: What Teenage Boys Really Need — 2020 ON BOYS episode

    Maggie Dent on Mothering Boys (Part 1) — ON BOYS episode

    Maggie Dent on Mothering Boys (Part 2) — ON BOYS episode


    Sponsor Spotlight: HomeThreads

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    Sponsor Spotlight: American Blossom Linens

    Grown, spun, & woven in the USA. Use code ONBOYS to save 20%.

    Sponsor Spotlight: Winona

    Menopause care made easy!

    Visit bywinona.com/onboys & use code ONBOYS to get 25% your first order.




    Our Sponsors:
    * Check out Armoire and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: http://www.armoire.style
    * Check out Homethreads and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: www.homethreads.com
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    45m - Feb 22, 2024
  • Jaclyn Greenberg on Parenting a Disabled Son

    Jaclyn Greenberg often feels like she’s living a divided life.

    When her daughter was born, there was music and laughter in the birthing room. When her disabled son was born, there was no music. No laughter. In fact, everyone swept out of the room soon after the baby’s birth, taking him with them. Jacyln hadn’t even had a chance to say hello.

    Raising a disabled son alongside two typically-developing children (her daughter and youngest son) presents unique challenges and opportunities.

    “I’ve learned, from my son, how to advocate for and speak up for my son, and it’s taught me how to do that for myself and other people in my family,” says Jaclyn, a writer who’s working on a memoir that’s tentatively titled Keeping Us Together. “There’s something about having children that makes you brave in a way you haven’t been before.”

    Advocating for inclusion

    Henry, Jacyln’s disabled son, will likely never walk or talk. The world at large isn’t very accessible to those who don’t walk and talk (or see, hear, speak, sense, and act like most others), so it’s difficult for Jacklyn’s family to do things together.

    “I don’t want my husband to take my son and I take the other two. I don’t want us to have to divide and conquer,” she says. “I want us to experience life together.”

    Henry’s siblings have long found ways to include him. “They will go to people’s houses on Halloween and say, ‘My brother can’t come up here because you have stairs. Could you please come downstairs?'” Jacyln says.

    Others aren’t always accommodating, and too many people don’t make an effort to include people with disabilities. Some people even instruct their young kids to “look away” when they see a person with disabilities. These parents may believe they’re teaching their children not to stare at people who look or act differently, but it’s better, Jacyln says, to model curiosity and kindness.

    “To me, the worst thing someone can say is, ‘don’t stare; look away,’ because they’re teaching a child to ignore somebody who looks different rather than to learn about them and engage with them,” she says. “It’s okay to stumble. It’s okay to say the wrong thing. Ask what’s the right thing. Ask ‘how can I include you?'”

    In this episode, Janet & Jaclyn discuss:
    • Parenting typically-developing & disabled children
    • Inclusion & accessibility
    • Managing mom guilt
    • Pulling together a team of specialists
    • Advocating for your disabled child
    • Resources for parents of disabled boys
    • Asking for (& receiving) help

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    jaclyngreenbergwriter.com – Jaclyn’s website

    What My Children’s Relationship Taught Me About Accessibility & Inclusion — ScaryMommy article by Jaclyn

    How an Adaptive Game Controller Helps My Family Bond – Wired article by Jaclyn

    Sponsor Spotlight: Dabble & Dollop

    Natural bath products for kids. Visit dabbleandollop.com/onboys to get 20% OFF your first order!

    Sponsor Spotlight: HomeThreads

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    40m - Feb 15, 2024
  • Middle School: Misunderstood or Magic?

    Is middle school misunderstood — or magic?

    For most of us — and many of our kids — middle school is a pretty miserable time. But that’s largely because most educators and parents misunderstand middle schoolers & these critical years.

    “This is a very pervasive story, that middle school is terrible. But it doesn’t have to be. We make it terrible by working directly against the developmental needs of middle schoolers and designing these buildings and classes in way that make their lives really hard,” says veteran educator Chris Balme, author of Finding the Magic in Middle School: Tapping into the Power and Potential of the Middle School Years.

    Middle Schoolers Have Unique Developmental Needs

    There are two time periods in our lives when the brain is growing the fastest: the early childhood years (approximately ages 0-5) and early adolescence (approximately ages 11-16). In early adolescence, “the brain reforms itself as a social brain,” Chris says. That’s why middle schoolers are so acutely attuned to their peers (and seem more interested in social situations than academics).

    Middle schoolers progress through predictable developmental stages:

    • Belonging. A middle schooler “needs to feel as if there’s one group, or at least one person, that they feel safe with, who wants them to be here and is consistent,” Chris says. If they don’t have that sense of belonging, they can’t show up to their full potential.
    • Achievement. During this stage, kids “try to show what they’ve got,” Chris says. They want to show that they can do things of value. Note: Kids can only move into achievement once they feel a solid sense of belonging.
    • Authenticity. This stage involves figuring out what they really like (& don’t like.). Kids eventually learn to express more of their authentic self in their daily lives.
    Helping Boys Thrive Despite Less-Than-Ideal Middle Schools

    “If a school doesn’t give at least a third of the day for social and movement time, it is holding our kids back developmentally,” Chris says.

    Of course, many of our boys attend middle schools that don’t prioritize movement and socialization. So, it’s on parents to help them thrive. One way we can do this, Chris says, is to be weird. Middle schoolers can (& should) see their parents pursue hobbies and interests — and see us resolve conflicts and cope with challenges.

    If your son is getting into trouble at a school that doens’t respect his needs for movement, socialization, belonging, and achievement, your number one priority should be to “not make it worse,” Chris says. “School has made this child’s life harder than it needs to be.” Instead, work with your child to understand what’s beneath his behavior. Help him figure out other ways to meet his needs.

    We can stress a little bit less about academics in middle school,” Chris says. “If we actually help someone finish middle school feeling like they have some sense of who they are authentically, and they’re confident and skillful enough to put that out in the social world, and they’ve got some friendships based on their authentic sense of self, that is such a win.

    “That is really what I think the goal posts should be for middle school.”

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Chris discuss:
    • Why modern middle school is a miserable experience for many middle schoolers & their families
    • Developmental needs of middle schoolers
    • “Twinning” — when tweens copy others’ look or behavior
    • How parents & educators can help tweens & teens work toward belonging, achievement, & authenticity
    • Why you should STRESS LESS ABOUT ACADEMICS
    • Giving middle schoolers more responsibility
    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Finding the Magic in Middle School: Tapping into the Power and Potential of the Middle School Years, by Chris Balme

    chrisbalme.com — Chris’s website

    Growing Wiser — Chris’s Substack newsletter

    What Middle School Boys Need — ON BOYS episode

    Braden Bell Explains Middle School Boys — ON BOYS episode

    Middle School Matters w Phyllis Fagell — ON BOYS episode

    Phyllis Fagell Discusses Middle School Superpowers — ON BOYS episode

    Sponsor Spotlight: Dabble & Dollop

    Natural bath products for kids. Visit dabbleandollop.com/onboys to get 20% OFF your first order!

    Sponsor Spotlight: Winona

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    45m - Feb 9, 2024
  • Needed: Boy-Friendly Schools

    Most schools today aren’t boy-friendly. 

    That’s one (big!) reason why boys lag behind girls academically. And why so many boys hate going to school. 

    Tyler, a 16-year-old Texas boy, started struggling in middle school. Recess was no more. Classes were 90 minutes long. So, “he found it really hard to sit still in class,” says Julie Jargon, the Wall Street Journal Family & Tech columnist who interviewed Tyler for her series on boys and education. Now a high school student, Tyler suggests that “instead of making guys change the way they behave, maybe schools should change the way they’re structured.”

    Boy-friendly education practices

    Movement helps humans remain alert and engaged. Simply shifting activities every 15 minutes or so can boost boys’ (and girls’) performance in the classroom. Time outside is helpful as well. Visual cues can help keep boys on track too. Boy-friendly schools also prioritize hands-on learning.

    “A lot of these things that are beneficial for boys are the same for girls. It’s not that girls need something vastly different,” Julie says. “The things that benefit boys also benefit girls. You can adopt boy-friendly practices in your school without being unfriendly to girls.”

    All students benefit from time to reflect on — and correct — academic, social, and behavioral mistakes. One of the all-boys schools Julie wrote about uses a restorative justice approach, she says.

    “Instead of just punishing them, they give boys an opportunity to talk about it and apologize,” Julie says. That approach helps boys hone their emotional intelligence and communication skills.

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Julie discuss:
    • Why so many boys struggle in middle school
    • How misunderstanding male development contributes to boys’ problems in school
    • Workarounds parents use to help boys
    • Boy-friendly education practices
    • Pushing back against developmentally inappropriate expectations
    • Single-sex vs coed schools & classes
    • Support for parents of boys

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Boys are Struggling. It Can Take Coaches, Tutors, and Thousands a Month to Fix That — WSJ article by Julie

    Inside the Schools Where Boys Can Be Boys — WSJ article by Julie

    Losing a Grandparent Hurts Boys at School — Scientific American article

    Set Boys Up for School Success — ON BOYS episode

    Boys in School Task Force –– ON BOYS episode

    The Gender Equation in Schools — ON BOYS episode

    Boy Moms as Boy Advocates — ON BOYS episode featuring Gemma Gaudette

    Sponsor Spotlight: Winona

    Menopause care made easy!

    Visit bywinona.com/onboys & use code ONBOYS to get 25% your first order.

    Sponsor Spotlight: Dabble & Dollop

    Natural bath products for kids

    Sponsor Spotlight: HomeThreads

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    51m - Feb 1, 2024
  • Modern Male Puberty is Awkward

    Modern male puberty starts earlier than you think.

    It may start as early as age 9 in boys – which means that the mood swings you’re seeing in your 10-year-old son could well be puberty-related. After all, as Cara Natterson & Vanessa Kroll Bennett write in their book This is So Awkward: Modern Puberty Explained, “The very first sign of puberty in most kids is a slamming door.” 

    Most parents of boys aren’t prepared for male puberty. (And may be in denial when the first signs start appearing.) The earliest physical symptoms of male puberty aren’t obvious & typically occur around the same time your son starts seeking more privacy. So “you might not actually know when your kid is in puberty,” Vanessa says.

    Why your 10-year-old son may be acting like a 16-year-old

    Sex hormones fuel the physical changes that occur during puberty. (Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone.) These hormones also have a tremendous impact on our kids’ moods and well-being. And high levels of testosterone are linked to rage, as well as boys’ “swing to silence” during puberty.

    “When those hormones rise and fall, they do not do so gracefully,” says Cara, a pediatrician. “They do not do so slowly. It’s high, high, HIGH, rapid surge, and then you’re off the edge of the cliff and you’re pummeling to the floor. Those hormones drop and bottom out.” These swings can happen in a matter of hours. And that, Cara says, “is what you are seeing when your kid behaves like a jerk.”

    Kids don’t enjoy those sudden shifts and swings either. “Their brain is being bathed in a stew of hormones that is not familiar to them, and they don’t know how to manage how they feel as a result of this cocktail that is saturating all of the neurons in the brain,” Cara says.

    Boys’ brains are still maturing during puberty too. They don’t yet have fully mature emotional regulation systems. And while they need to learn how to control their behavior, it takes time (and, typically, many mistakes) to develop consistent behavioral control. So, parents, educators, and other adults need to extend grace and compassion to tweens and teens.

    “We have to give them the benefit of the doubt,” Vanessa says. “And give them a way back. They don’t feel good when they get that angry or emotional or react violently. They may feel ashamed or embarrassed.”

    Surviving your son’s adolescence

    It is completely normal to feel grief, doubt, anger, and fear as your son moves through puberty. During adolescence, boys (and girls) pull away from their parents. That separation is necessary and normal, but can feel like rejection to parents. It’s okay to grieve and feel sad. Take comfort, though, in the fact that boys typically “come back” to their parents as they reach the far side of puberty.

    Your son may well be annoying, thoughtless, disrespectful, disorganized, smelly, and messy during puberty. None of that means he’ll end up that way as an adult. And none of it means that you’re doing (or have done) something wrong.

    “The path to building kind, empathic, loving, thoughtful men is a very windy, bumpy road,” Vanessa says. “And at every step of the way, it can be really tempting to lose faith.”

    When a boy reacts angrily or violently, stay calm. Give them space. Connect with them after they’ve cooled down. During calmer times, teach & talk about emotions. Navigate puberty along your son, seeking support as needed.

    In this episode, Jen, Cara, & Vanessa discuss:
    • The #1 question Cara & Vanessa get about male puberty
    • Acknowledging the grief & sadness you may feel as your son enters puberty
    • Building men
    • How (& why) hormones affect teen boys’ behavior
    • Puberty & perimenopause
    • Helping boys manage their mood swings
    • Wet dreams
    • Talking about safer sex, contraception, family planning, intimacy, consent, & loving relationships

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    This is So Awkward: Modern Puberty Explained, by Cara Natterson, MD & Vanessa Kroll Bennett

    lessawkward.com — Cara & Vanessa’s website (includes links to their books, newsletter, podcast, & talks)

    The Puberty Podcast — Cara & Vanessa’s podcast (Don’t miss Jen on their podcast — Building Boys with Jennifer Fink)

    Decoding Boys w Dr. Cara Natterson –– ON BOYS episode

    The Truth About Parenting Teen Boys — the famous BuildingBoys post about 14-yr-old boys being a**holes

    Puberty, Perimenopause, & Midlife Parenting — ON BOYS episode

    Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys, by Cara Natterson

    Guy Stuff Feelings: Everything You Need to Know About Your Emotions, by Cara Natterson


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    41m - Jan 25, 2024
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) & Muscle Dysmorphia

    There’s a connection between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) & muscle dysmorphia, which is a strong desire to bulk up your body.

    According to new research by Kyle Ganson, an assistant professor in Canada & a licensed clinical social worker who’s worked with teenagers & young adults, boys who experience abuse, neglect, incarceration or divorce of a parent, poverty, or parental mental illness or substance use, are more likely to develop muscle dysmorphia. That’s important because it a) suggests ways to prevent muscle dysmorphia and b) indicates which boys may benefit from screening and intervention.

    Many well-meaning adults miss (or ignore) the symptoms of muscle dysmorphia because, on the surface, many of those symptoms appear healthy. A sudden, dedicated interest in fitness is often praised by parents & coaches; so is boys’ desire to “eat healthy.” But muscle dysmorphia is unhealthy and can become physically and emotionally damaging. Boys and men who are obsessed with bulking up may prioritize working out over all else. They may decline social outings and family gatherings that revolve around food.

    Adults may assume that a boy’s desire to bulk up is rooted in his desire to obtain a specific “look.” But “sometimes for boys, it’s not always about the aesthetic appearance; it’s about the function,” Kyle says. That may be especially true for boys who were bullied or abused.

    What the research says about ACES & muscle dysmorphia

    Kyle’s research showed that children who experience 5 or more ACEs are more likely than others to develop symptoms of muscle dysmorphia. That association “was particularly strong for boys & young men,” he says. In fact, 30% of young boys who had 5 or more ACES were at clinical risk of muscle dysmorphia. (For comparison, only 10% of the girls who had 5 or more ACEs were at clinical risk of muscle dysmorphia.) The researchers also found that boys who experienced multiple ACEs were more likely than others to use performance enhancing drugs and supplements.

    Please note: Not all children who have ACEs experience adverse outcomes. However, if your son has a history of ACEs, stay alert for possible symptoms of muscle dysmorphia. If he shows a sudden interest in going to the gym or changing his diet, Kyle recommends approaching him with “respectful curiosity.” Ask questions; listen carefully.

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Kyle discuss:
    • Symptoms of muscle dysmorphia
    • The link between ACEs & muscle dysmorphia
    • Why ACES may increase the risk of muscle dysmorphia for boys
    • Dealing with diet culture
    • Talking to healthcare professionals about muscle dysmorphia

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Adverse Childhood Experiences and Muscle Dysmorphia Symptomatology: Findings from a Sample of Canadian Adolescents and Young Adults — Kyle’s research study

    Body Image, Eating Disorders, & Boys — ON BOYS episode

    Helping Boys Develop Healthy Body Image — ON BOYS episode

    Boys & Body Image — ON BOYS episode

    Why Now is the Best Time to Raise Boys (w Michael Reichert) — ON BOYS episode

    Picky Eaters, Family Meals, & Nutrition — ON BOYS episode


    Sponsor Spotlight: HomeThreads

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    Our Sponsors:
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    46m - Jan 18, 2024
  • Set Boys Up for School Success

    How can boys experience school success? 

    Parents and educators frequently ask, “How do we help boys thrive in school?” A question we rarely ask is, What can boys do to set themselves up for school success? What can we do to help boys successfully navigate school?

    “It’s really essential that we, as parents & educators of boys, are preparing them to navigate the struggles within school,” says Dr. Todd (Jason) Feltman, author of Transforming into a Powerful Third, Fourth, or 5th Grade Navigator of School Success.  “It’s not just the academic struggles but also the socialization, the physical and emotional struggles.”

    Equipping boys with strategies they can use to manage these stressors can increase their confidence & school success.

    Strategies to Help Boys Succeed

    Generally speaking, boys have a hard time sitting still in the classroom. Todd recommends addressing this issue head-on with your boy. Talk about this challenge & help him brainstorm ways to incorporate movement. Teach him how to self-advocate with his teacher. (Perhaps they could agree on a non-verbal signal that could mean it’s okay to stand and stretch.)

    Allowing boys to draw before beginning a writing assignment can also be helpful. (Many boys think visually – and many elementary school-aged boys struggle with handwriting and spelling.)

    “Every student has strengths,” Todd says. “We need to teach them how to unpack and apply their strength. I know that boys can take charge of their education.”

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Todd discuss:
    • Why 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade are so challenging for boys
    • Helping boys self-advocate
    • The link between sleep & learning
    • Teaching boys organization (Note: modeling, mentoring, & regular practice helps!)
    • Why should you ask for boys’ input
    • What to say when a boy says “the teacher doesn’t like me”
    • Setting high expectations for school success
    • Developmentally appropriate school expectations

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    toddfeltman.com — Todd’s website

    Transforming into a Powerful Third, Fourth, or Fifth Grade Navigator of School Success, by Dr. Todd (Jason) Feltman

    Mentoring My Elementary- and Middle-School Students to Become Powerful Navigators of Success, by Dr. Todd Feltman

    Building Boys’ Reading & Literacy Skills — previous ON BOYS episode w Dr. Feltman

    Sponsor Spotlight: ByHeart 

    Get 10% off your first order using code ONBOYS at byheart.com


    Sponsor Spotlight: HomeThreads

    Make your home family friendly. Use this link to get 15% off.




    Our Sponsors:
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    * Check out Homethreads and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: www.homethreads.com
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    * Check out undefined and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: undefined


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    41m - Jan 11, 2024
  • Color Blindness in Boys

    Color blindness affects a lot of boys.

    In fact, 1 in 12 males are color blind. They perceive color differently than most humans. Some see shades of tan instead of vivid reds and greens. Some see life in black, white, and grey. Many don’t realize that they see things differently than their peers, teachers, and parents. And many parents and teachers don’t realize that their boys are colorblind – which can lead to unnecessary learning complications and affect boys’ learning.

    Signs of Color Blindness

    Jessica Fleming, a writer & mom of 4 sons (currently age 9, 7, 5, and 5), first realized her 7-year-old son’s vision was different when she asked her boys to sort the books in her office by color. After a few minutes, her oldest son declared, “Everett doesn’t know his colors!” and pointed out a couple out-of-place books, including a pink tome. Further questioning revealed that her second-grade son was as confused by his “mistakes” as the rest of his family.

    Then Jessica remembered that she had an uncle who was colorblind. She found a color blindness test online, administered it to her son, and learned he has a vision deficiency. A follow up visit to an ophthalmologist revealed that her son has a red/green vision deficiency, the most common kind of color blindness. To him, red and green look virtually the same — almost like a khaki brown.

    Some kids who are colorblind don’t like art — so pay attention and dig a little deeper if your son avoids (or complains about!) art activities. (P.S. Sam, Jen’s son, is not colorblind!)

    Unfortunately, color blindness is often not diagnosed until a child is in middle school. Some people are adults when they first realize they are color blind.

    How Color Blindness Affects Boys’ Education

    Contrary to popular belief, color blindness can affect quality of life. Early childhood and elementary school education depends heavily on color cues and visual processing, so kids who are colorblind may struggle in school. Many children who are colorblind are in special ed classes – perhaps because they couldn’t see and access information as easily as their peers.

    If you suspect (or know) that your son is colorblind, tell his teachers ASAP. Simple accommodations, such as printing things in black-and-white instead of color, can help him. Ensuring a high contrast between print and background colors is also helpful. Another: Instead of color-coding maps and graphs, use patterns, such as polka dots and stripes. Be sure art supplies are labeled with the color name. Color vision-correcting glasses are also available.

    Kids who are color blind are also eligible for a 504 plan.

    Testing Can Easily Detect Color Blindness

    Only 11 states test for colorblindness during vision screenings at school, even though the test is non-invasive, cheap, and easy to administer. Jessica recommends administering an online screening test to all kids.

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Jessica discuss:
    • Signs and symptoms
    • Types of color blindness
    • Testing for color blindness
    • Genetics of color blindness
    • Adaptations to help kids who are color blind
    • Advocating for color blind kids

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Countless Kids are Colorblind – and Don’t Know About It. Here’s How to Help — Jessica’s Washington Post article

    Roanoke City Schools Discover Hundreds of Students May be Color Blind

    Enchroma online color blindness test

    Myths & Misconceptions About Boys — previous ON BOYS episode with Jessica

    Boy Moms as Boys Advocates — ON BOYS episode with Gemma Gaudette

     

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    45m - Jan 4, 2024
  • Best of 2023

    Which ON BOYS episodes were the Best of 2023? 

    Photo by Photo by Engin Akyurt via Pexels

    Your favorites include:

    5. Simplicity Parenting with Kim John Payne

    Simplicity parenting prioritizes a balanced schedule, predictable rhythm, and decluttered, information-filtered family environment…
    The antidote to constant overwhelm is simple, Payne says. It’s simplicity. He advises parents to “dial back”…

    4. Parental Accommodation & ADHD (featuring ADHD Dude Ryan Wexelblatt)

    “Parental accommodation is when parents change their behavior to alleviate or avoid their child’s temporary distress,” Ryan says. It’s often done out of love — and fear. Doing so may avoid some conflict, but it allows unhelpful behaviors to continue….

    3. Talking to Tween & Teen Boys (featuring Johnathon Reed of NextGenMen)

    …boys won’t necessarily tell you about their problems. “If boys are struggling, often they’re struggling in silence,” Reed says. “There’s still a stigma against asking for help, particularly when it also means admitting a weakness or a vulnerability.”

    2. Teen Boys’ Emotional LIves (featuring Brendan Kwiatkowski, PhD)

    …the #1 reason why teen boys restrict emotion (& emotional expression) is because “they don’t want to burden other people.”
    The #2 reason is “fear of judgment.”

    1. Parenting “Spicy” Boys (featuring Mary Van Geffen)

    “Spicy” boys are those who express themselves in big and loud ways, feel things intensely, and have energy to spare…They often are very persistent and quite emotionally intelligent.


    A few of our other 2023 favorites:

    Building Boys in a World that Misunderstands Males

    What Middle School Boys Need

    Phyllis Fagell Discuss Middle School Superpowers

    Nonverbal Communication with Boys

    Boys, Babies, & Breastfeeding

    Calm the Chaos: Parenting Challenging Kids

    Emotional Lives of Teens

    Why Now is the Best Time to Raise Boys


    Sponsor Spotlight: ByHeart 

    Get 10% off your first order using code ONBOYS at byheart.com


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    38m - Dec 28, 2023
  • ON BOYS Most Popular Episode of 2023

    Our January 5 conversation with Mary Van GeffenParenting “Spicy” Boys, is ON BOYS’ Most Popular Episode of 2023. (And Jen’s sons’ least favorite! Gen Z defines “spicy” quite differently than we’re using it here.)

    Sure, this episode, released early in the year, had the benefit of time. But Mary’s message also resonates with frustrated and overwhelmed parents of boys. As she told us,

    “Spicy” boys are those who express themselves in big and loud ways, feel things intensely, and have energy to spare. They “have so much loyalty toward their own soul — and less to the adults’ agenda.”

    Mary’s audience continues to grow — she has over 286,000 Instagram followers! — because parents need help supporting their strong, spicy kids. You’ll want to listen to this episode more than once because a) it contains a lot of wisdom and b) because your spicy kids are now likely challenging you in ways they weren’t the first time you listened!


    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Mary discuss:
    • Characteristics of a Spicy One
    • Why shame-based discipline approaches don’t work with spicy boys
    • How your perceptions affect your parenting & relationship w your child
    • Parenting when you are spicy or highly sensitive
    • A sensual pause technique you can use to calm your nervous system
    • How changing your voice can help you reach your kids
    • Setting boundaries & managing others’ expectations
    • Grocery shopping with boys

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    maryvangeffen.com – Mary’s website

    https://www.instagram.com/maryvangeffen/ — Mary on Instagram

    Highly Sensitive People Can Thrive — ON BOYS episode

    Highly Sensitive Boys with William Allen — ON BOYS episode

    Sensitive Boys (w Dr. Sandy Gluckman) — ON BOYS episode

    Brain-Body Parenting w Dr. Mona Delahooke — ON BOYS episode

    Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential and How You Can Achieve Yours — book by Shirzad Chamine (recommended by Mary)


    Sponsor Spotlight: ByHeart 

    Get 10% off your first order using code ONBOYS at byheart.com

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    Therapy to help you live a more empowered life. Go to BetterHelp.com/onboys to save 10%




    Our Sponsors:
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    * Check out Homethreads and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: www.homethreads.com
    * Check out My Life in a Book and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal:
    * Check out undefined and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: undefined


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    43m - Dec 21, 2023
  • YouTube, Misogyny, & Racism

    YouTube isn’t all entertainment and education. Misogyny, racism, and porn lurk there too.

    It can be really difficult to keep up with what our boys are watching online, though. Creators come & go, interests change, one click can lead to, well, anywhere.

    Boys love YouTube

    YouTube is ubiquitous these days. Gaming and challenge videos (think Mr. Beast) are certainly popular with boys, but many also engage in educational content on the site.

    “It’s Google and YouTube,” says Cindy Marie Jenkins, founder of OutThink Media. “Those are the search engines” people now use to find information. It’s better, safer, and more effective to teach your boys how to navigate YouTube (and other online spaces) than it is to ban them all together. (Especially because motivated kids can get around almost any parental control!)

    “We have a massive responsibility to give boys the tools they need to be amazing people,” Cindy says. Parents and other adults can (& should) mentor and guide children as they explore online. Here’s how:

    1. Build your relationship, so your boys know they can talk to you without judgement. “Let them know that you are interested & want to be involved,” Cindy says. “Not in a dictatorial way, but in a ‘let’s have conversations about this’ way.” Express curiosity.
    2. Build boys’ critical thinking skills, both so they’re better able to understand and process what they see and hear online and so they’re prepared to discuss online personalities, ideas, and videos with their friends.

    YouTube videos can radicalize boys

    You can certainly find blatant misogyny, misandry, hate, and racism on YouTube. But most boys don’t watch those videos. Many, however, watch creators who casually “slide in” comments that may appear to jokes but might also consistently point blame at a particular group of people. You might notice, for instance, that five “jokes” in a row singled out Black people as the antagonists, Cindy says.

    Certain things that may seem relatively harmless on the surface can lead to more extreme videos and ideas. “Trad” content, emphasizes traditional gender roles and female submission to men in marriage. It can celebrate women as homemakers and men as providers — and can convince some boys that males should be dominant in relationships and the females are meant to submit to their leadership.

    The pathway to extremism is not necessarily obvious. “It can start with something small and then blow up into, ‘This is what’s wrong with everything,'” Cindy says.

    How to protect your kids online

    LISTEN to what your kids are talking about. And listen to what they say when you ask them about the videos and creators they see online. Pay attention if your kids seem to be obsessing or angry about certain topics or ideas.

    Ask questions with curiosity. Use, but don’t completely trust, parental controls and filtering software.

    Talk about trending videos, movies, ideas, and games. Share your perspective and add context. You can also seek out and share YouTube videos about creators’ personal experiences with hate, misogyny, and racism. Cindy “watches YouTube so you don’t have to,” so you can check her site OutThink Media, to learn more about the creators, gamers, and YouTubers your kids are watching.

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Cindy discuss:
    • Educational power of YouTube
    • How to mentor and guide kids’ YouTube use
    • Trad wives
    • The Great Replacement theory
    • Gamergate
    • Kids’ parasocial relationships with YouTubers
    • Doxxing
    • Discussing media

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    OutThink Media — Cindy’s website

    Why I’m Not Worried About Screen Time — Jen’s BuildingBoys post (the one about Sam studding his bike tires)

    How One Mom Talks to Her Sons About Hate on the Internet — NPR story about Joanna Schroeder‘s viral Tweet thread

    YouTube Merch Part 1: 7 Reasons Not to Buy Prime Energy Drink — OutThink Media post about energy drink promoted by (former YouTuber) Logan Paul

    Sisters in Hate: American Women & White Extremism, by Seyward Darby — thought-provoking book that details how individuals become extremists

    Amy Lang on How to Keep Boys Safe Online –– ON BOYS podcast episode

    Social Media Safety — ON BOYS podcast episode


    Sponsor Spotlight: Better Help

    Therapy to help you live a more empowered life. Go to BetterHelp.com/onboys to save 10%




    Our Sponsors:
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    * Check out Homethreads and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: www.homethreads.com
    * Check out My Life in a Book and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal:
    * Check out undefined and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: undefined


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    48m - Dec 14, 2023
  • America’s Marriage Coach Shares Relationship Advice

    America’s marriage coach, Dr. Jacquie Del Rosario, says nature and nurture affect our relationships.

    Moms are concerned with a lot of things at once; Dads tend to focus on one thing at a time. Many moms derive a sense of security from planning ahead for all possible contingencies. Dads tend to react to life as it happens. Females generally process information more quickly than males as well because women have more language centers in the brain than men do. These differences can lead to conflict and confusion.

    Learning to navigate these differences can help us build stronger relationships and families.

    “If our relationship is strong, our ability to parent is also better,” Dr. Jacquie says. “Our ability to raise strong and whole children is better.”

    Healthy Relationship Strategies

    Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. A few strategies she recommends include:

    1. Using “I statements.” Don’t start with an accusation. Instead, calmly communicate your current mindset and needs with “I statements”: I’m feeling really overwhelmed right now. I need some help getting dinner on the table. 
    2. Reflective listening. Repeat back what your partner is saying, to give them a chance to clarify. This technique can be especially helpful for busy parents because “when you are sleep-deprived or in a heightened emotional state, you tend to mis-hear or mis-process information,” Dr. Jacquie says.
    3. Asking for what you want. Avoiding this conversation because you’re afraid of the result isn’t helpful. You may avoid conflict in the near-term, but over time, resentment can build. Focus instead on what you need to express and then “choose your time and place,” Dr. Jacquie says.
    4. Scheduling regular time to connect. Build conversation time into your lifestyle. If you don’t, it’s too easy to get distracted by other priorities (& exhaustion!). Dr. Jacquie and her husband spend the 30 minutes before sleep with each other nightly. “We mostly talk,” she says. “We talk about our day, about our aspirations, about our children, whatever needs to be discussed.” Planning time to sexual connection is also helpful. (Pro tip: Keeping your children on a schedule makes it easier for you and your partner to have regular time together!)

    Realistic expectations are important too.

    “Marriage does not make you happy forever,” Dr. Jacquie says. “You will have ebbs and flows in your marriage. Marriage, like all relationships, is messy.”

    In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Dr. Jacquie discuss:
    • How biology affects our thinking & relationships
    • Why you need to nurture your adult relationships
    • Maternal gatekeeping
    • The impact of fathers
    • Intimacy
    • 7 pillars of compatibility
    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    drjacquie.com — Dr. Jacquie’s website

    Single Parenting w Wealthy Single Mommy Emma Johnson — ON BOYS episode

     

    Sponsor Spotlight: Better Help

    Therapy to help you live a more empowered life. Go to BetterHelp.com/onboys to save 10%

     



    Our Sponsors:
    * Check out Armoire and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: http://www.armoire.style
    * Check out Homethreads and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: www.homethreads.com
    * Check out My Life in a Book and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal:
    * Check out undefined and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: undefined


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    51m - Dec 7, 2023
  • Sex Ed for Neurodiverse Kids

    Neurodiverse kids need comprehensive sex education too.

    “It’s a fundamental human right to have this information – & so important to their health & safety,” says Amy Lang, creator of Birds + Bees + Kids, a fantastic resource for parents, childcare providers and educators.

    Myths About Neurodiversity & Sexuality

    Many people (including well-meaning parents) believe one (or more) myths about neurodiversity & sexuality, Amy says. Common myths include:

    1. Neurodiverse people are either asexual or hypersexual. So, parents and educators may gloss over (or skip) essential education. “There’s this myth that neurodiverse kids don’t need this information, that it’s not going to be relevant to them,” Amy says. But that’s not at all true. All humans have a relationship with sexuality. All humans need to know how bodies work. And all humans need to know how to be in healthy, loving relationships.
    2. Neurodiverse people are “innocent” – & so won’t get in any “trouble.” The truth is that neurodiverse people are at high risk of sexual abuse. They may also unintentionally sexually offend or abuse others if they are not properly educated.

    “Sexuality is a huge part of life,” Amy says. Ignoring this aspect of life increases the likelihood for harm — and decrease the chances of your child experiencing safe, fulfilling relationships. Knowledge empowers kids so they can live full lives.

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    The Porn Talk Dynamic Duo! A live talk with tons of Q&A! The Porn Talk Info Kit (which has everything you need to talk with your boy like a pro) is included. Sign up herehttps://buytickets.at/amylang/1055353

    Sex Talks with Tweens: What to Say & How to Say It It’s all scripts so you don’t have to figure out what to say! Woot!

    BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com — Amy’s website

    Just Say This – Amy’s advice-column style podcast

    Books for developmentally different kids are here.

    Talk to Boys about Sex (w Amy Lang) – ON BOYS episode

    Amy Lang on How to Keep Boys Safe Online — ON BOYS episode

    ADHD with Ryan Wexelblatt the ADHD Dude — ON BOYS episode

    Differently Wired Boys & TiLT Parenting (w Debbie Reber) — ON BOYS episode


    Sponsor Spotlight: Baby Quip

    Use code ONBOYS for $20 off your reservation of $100 or more.


    Sponsor Spotlight: Better Help

    Therapy to help you live a more empowered life. Go to BetterHelp.com/onboys to save 10%

     
     
     




    Our Sponsors:
    * Check out Armoire and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: http://www.armoire.style
    * Check out Homethreads and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: www.homethreads.com
    * Check out My Life in a Book and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal:
    * Check out undefined and use my code ONBOYS for a great deal: undefined


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    40m - Nov 30, 2023
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