Avoid stereotypes about boys and learning or boys and emotional relationships
Statistics from the Department of education on K-12 boys show:
Boys are more likely to drop out of school than girls
Boys make up 70% of the school suspensions and expulsions (this rate is even higher for boys of color)
Kris refers to Michael Reichert, author of “How to Raise a Boy: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men” Reichert conducted research including 2,500 teachers in 6 countries over 30 years. His findings:
Boys are relational learners
Boys learn best in strong supportive relationships
Effective teachers use strategies to capture boys’ attention
Effective teachers carry that energy into the lesson
They have a relationship with the class and use feedback from the class to refine and perfect lessons
Reichert says boys care about the relationship they have with teachers, but do not approach teachers in the event of a relationship breakdown or misunderstanding. Parents, teachers, and coaches need to help them with strategies to use when conflict occurs. He warns not to swoop in and intervene for them, but encourage them to resolve problems for themselves.
For parents, Reichert advises the best way to support boys’ emotional and character development is:
Listen to their stories without correcting them, in order to nurture emotional expression.
Create a block of time (30 minutes or more) to do whatever your son wants to do with you
Spend this time together consistently; he needs to be able to count on your full attention
When boys do not process intense emotions there will often be some acting out like: teasing siblings or avoiding homework. Reichert suggests the Listen-Limit-Listen model
Listen to what is bothering him
Calmly set behavior limits
Continue listening as more emotions may come to the surface
The important role of “emotional anchor” can be filled by parents, teacher, and coach. There is room for all of these to mentor emotionally secure boys who grow to be good men.
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