Tuesday, 14 October 2008

I've had some interesting comments recently and thought I had better clear up any confusion about what I am saying, and what I am most definitely NOT saying!

I am NOT saying that boys should not have structure, boundaries and discipline. My eldest son needs structure like I need chocolate. He craves it. So much so that in the school holidays I have to write a daily planner with him so that he knows, in his words, 'whats happening when'. Not all boys are like this, but lots are. He feels safe within structure. They also need boundaries. Once boys know what the boundaries are, they can feel safe and be free to express themselves, have fun and take risks without fear of reprisals. For example when we go to the local park my littlest boy needs to stay in the play area, but right next to this is a stream which has fish in it. The 2 older boys would rather take their nets and go fishing. I tell them where they can and can't go and make sure that I can always see them. They feel grown up because they have been given boundaries and I am trusting them. They fish there for an hour or more on their own, under my watchful eye from afar. They also know that if they break the rules, which they have done once, I will take them away from the stream and their priviledge will be stopped. Boys need their boundaries to be very clear, and then discipline needs to be enforced if the boundaries are crossed over.

When boys know that we are consistent in our discipline, it also helps them to feel safe. They know exactly what will happen if they break the rules. Sometimes we have been to places where they don't know what is expected of them, and they just run about and shout. It seems that they do this by default. We have learnt this the hard way, and now we try to remember that whenever we go anywhere we talk about it first and what will be expected of them.

I absolutely love boys to feel free, but not necessarily to BE free to do what they want. They need to be free within the structure that is provided for them. If this means sitting nicely at school and listening to a story, then this is what they should do. However, there are things that can be done that will help them to sit nicely. The child that wriggles alot (and I have one of these - in fact, rolling around the floor is probably a more accurate description) can be distracting to other children and although they probably need to move a part of their body in order to listen there are other, more constructive ways that this can be done. These children need clear boundaries. Give them a 'stressball' to squish in their hands, but tell them that they must keep it to themselves, not throw it about or chat to other children about it. If these rules are broken, then it will be taken away. With just a little creative understanding and concise boundaries, I think these wrigglers would change from being a negative distraction to children who learn and join in.

So that's it for now - as yet again I have another nappy to change. The joys. I do hope this will clear up any confusion ( especially for Mr B.... you know who you are!!!).

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