We know what a boy’s will is – that stubborn hell-bent will that does what you’ve just told him not to do, that persists in doing that thing HIS way no matter what anyone says, that will that drives him to compete and win until near-death with a sibling.
As we train, tweak, mould, bend and fight with these wills while trying to turn out boys who are grounded, awesome men one day, we need to keep in mind not to break his spirit. A boy’s spirit is his sense of worth; it is extremely sensitive and vulnerable to rejection, harshness and ridicule. It should be handled with gentleness and care! So while fighting with these iron wills that seem to rebel against us at every turn, how do we take care not to hurt our boy’s spirits?
Watch Your Words
Words spoken, especially in anger when we are more likely to say things we later regret, are hard to take back. In fact, they’re impossible to take back. A word said in a moment can have an effect on a boy’s esteem and heart forever. Phrases like,
‘I can’t believe you can’t get grades like your sister,’
‘Why can’t you get anything right?’
“They were right when they said having two kids would be too much for me” etc.
are spoken in a moment, and have a hurtful effect on boys forever. If we fully understand the impact those words have, we’d be more open to take care of our words, and our anger, around our boys.
What Can I Do To Prevent Breaking His Spirit?
Count to ten…or thirty. If you’re in a heated argument with your son, and his iron will is defying you and stirring up anger in you, take a moment to get a grip. Breathe. Leave the room if you have to. Come back to the situation after a moment, when you are feeling rational again and can speak out of a place of calm calculatedness, not raw emotion.
Set Up A Time Out For Anger
Have a family agreement that in any conflict situation, the person feeling the anger, or the party receiving it, is allowed to call a Time Out, where all parties have to stop, and have a minute time out to gather themselves. Explain the long term hurtful effects of words on hearts, and let each family member really understand the impact their words have on others in the family. This will help each person want to control their emotions, and guard their words well.
What Can I Do If I’ve Already Hurt His Spirit?
Apologize, and talk it through as soon as possible. Repair the wound as soon as you can, before ‘infection’ sets in. Don’t be embarrassed to say ‘sorry’ if you need to.
All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.