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10 Things Your Son Needs To Hear You Say

Sunset-chaser-7


Are you raising a boy? Me too! If your boy is anything like mine, you’ve got your hands full! Imparting wisdom might not come easily in between the scraped knees, the squashed bugs, the dirt that gets into every nook and cranny on the daily, and the inherent need to climb every tall thing they encounter. But when they’re not tearing up the house and trying to ride on the family cat like it’s a pint-sized pony, our boys are listening to us. They may not always acknowledge it, but their little brains are soaking it all in as they form their ideas of the world – so the words we speak to them are integral to their development. Here’s what we should be imparting on our little lads:

  1. “You’re so smart”

When boys are young, it can be easy to focus on their physical attributes as that is where a lot of their energy is focused. From toddlerhood, they’re busy testing their physical capabilities and limitations, while their female counterparts are generally focusing on language development and problem solving – so it can become easy to cheer them on when they kick a goal or win a race, but might seem less natural to applaud the way their minds work. Make sure they know that they’re worth more than their ability to catch a ball or run around an oval.

  1. “It’s OK to cry”

It’s widely known that older generations of men were taught to suppress their emotions because crying, or even showing signs of distress, were considered weak and feminine. As a result of those bottled up feelings, male depression has become more and more prevalent. Stop the cycle and encourage your boy to cry when he needs to let it out.

  1. “I love and respect you”

For boys (and men), respect is as much a sign of your love for them as your hugs and kisses are. It’s important for them to feel loved, and it’s important for them to feel heard and appreciated.

  1. “Calm down and breathe”

I don’t know what it’s like to experience a testosterone-fuelled rage, but I do know that there are thousands of stories out there of men whose anger boiled over and in an instant someone was hurt – a partner, a child, a friend, a stranger. While I’m not suggesting that a simple suggestion to “breathe” is the be-all, end-all of anger management for men, it’s a starting place for boys. Make sure your son is equipped with coping mechanisms for his anger when it strikes.

  1. “You don’t have to be good at everything”

Boys (particularly our sweet little alphas!) are driven to win. They want to be the best at everything, or at least really good. So when they find themselves struggling with something, they get frustrated and are likely to give up on it – then beat themselves up over the failure of it all. Make sure they know that not only do they not have to be good at everything they try – it’s not humanly possible!

  1. “You are brave”

Bravery is a big deal for boys – so it’s important that they feel acknowledged when they’re being brave. Of course, just as they need to be able to cry, they also need to know that it’s OK not to be brave – but having their bravery recognised helps to affirm it.

  1. “You are handsome”

Sure, boys are often happy to wear the same muddy jeans and ripped T-shirt every day for a week if you’ll let them, but deep down, of course they want to look good (or at least passable). Yes, a nine-year-old boy will probably outwardly groan if his mum regularly tells him how handsome he is, but a teenage boy who has made the effort to dress nicely for a school dance needs to hear it – it will really boost his confidence.

  1. “You can play with dolls if that’s what you like”

Gender-specific toys are becoming a thing of the past because parents are realizing that a baby doll isn’t going to cause their son to be less of a man when he grows up. Who would have thought!? In fact, it turns out that boys grow up to be Dads just about as often as girls grow up to be Mums. So if your boy chooses to play with a doll over a dinosaur, embrace it! I promise it won’t harm his development.

  1. “Your hard work will be worth it”

The society we live in today is a convenient one in a lot of ways. There are short cuts, hacks and products to make all kinds of things quicker and easier, from Thermomixes to dry shampoo. I mean, we can run our entire lives from behind the screen of an iPad. Hard work can easily become a foreign concept, especially to younger generations. Teaching our sons the value of hard work now is essential for their future tertiary studies, jobs, relationships and house-keeping… because there are just some things that can’t be short cut-ted!

  1. “Tell me more”

Women can talk your ear off if you let them, but men aren’t always as forthcoming. Whether they’re talking about something good, something bad, something hard, or something funny, they don’t fall over themselves trying to provide every last detail. Teach your son the art of expressing himself, his ideas and his emotions adequately by prompting him with questions that show him you’re listening, and that what he’s saying is important.

Raising a boy (raising any child, for that matter!) is a wonderful privilege, but one that comes with so much responsibility. Offer the above words to your son, and he will reap the rewards throughout his entire life, raising him to be the best man he can be.

 

 

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Why us? or Why not us?

Why us? or Why not us?

 

"God never gives you more than he knows you can handle”

Comforting words from the Bible but with the events that would unfurl for me and my family they were words that didn’t seem realistic or possible for me to believe.

 

Up until 2 years ago I thought I had a pretty uneventful normal but still wonderful life. I had a loving, caring family and friends who were always there for us. My husband and I had 2 children now married with 3 grandchildren between them and whom we all treasured. So 2 years ago, when my son, Matthew and daughter in law Jodi, announced they were expecting twins we were all delighted. The twins we found out a little later were identical girls and so they became affectionately known as the Twincesses. Finlay, their little boy was 3 years old at the time so we all knew life would get a whole more hectic.

 

The girls were due to be born in the August of 2011 but complications meant they had to be delivered early at 34 weeks and taken straight into the neo-natal unit at Preston Hospital. It was such a relief when both were successfully born, even though they looked so tiny in the incubators, and wires all over their tiny bodies.

 

It was 3 weeks later when we would hear the news that Doctors, fearing the girls were not developing as they should, suspected there was a strong possibility that they had Downs Syndrome. Tests were carried out, the results of which would take a week to be back with us. I can’t begin to tell you how long that week felt or what thoughts were flooding our minds. I prayed every day that the girls would be ok and for God to take away our fears of what could and would be if the results were positive.

 

I’ll never forget the look on Matt and Jodi’s faces when they walked through our door on the Friday evening after being at the hospital all day together waiting for news. They looked frightened, lost, emotionally and physically drained – the results were positive and both of our beautiful girls had DS. We sat in a bewildered silence, no-one knowing what to say or do – just shell shocked, scared and fanatically worried. How would we cope with this – whatever this was? What did it all mean? How would we get through? What would the future hold? We could find no words which would comfort any of us.

 

I have to admit none of us knew anything about DS, but it all felt very scary. My own thoughts as a grandma were how to protect these vulnerable little girls from a world which can seem, at times, so cold, heartless, cruel and judgemental. I spent sleepless nights preparing for the future that I couldn’t comprehend and so no wonder I never found any answers. I felt as a family we could be there for their every need and protect them while they were children but what would happen when the girls reached adult hood? What would they make of our world but more importantly what would the world make of them? There were so many myths and misunderstandings surrounding this condition that worried me to death. Fortunately, I have since learned that most of those worries are simply that – myths and misunderstandings and I also found out that spending so much in the future worrying what might be, stops you from living in the here and now and missing so much of life which is good. Before the girls came out of hospital we had it confirmed that Abigail was deaf and Isobel had a hole in her heart!

God never gives you more than he knows you can handle.

Those words kept coming back to me – but I felt I couldn’t handle all this hurt and confusion and fear that was happening.

However the day after we had the news, I had a message from Matt inviting his dad and I to visit the hospital with Gemma, our daughter. Still lost and bewildered we arrived at the hospital to be met by Matt with a huge smile on his face, full of excitement and anticipation. We were ushered into a lovely bright room where Matt told us that he had permission to bring the babies in for cuddles and kisses and so we waited for him to bring them in. What has happened we asked Jodi, Matt seems so different? She told us that Matt had broken down when they had arrived home that night and having asked himself the question “Why us?” came back with the answer “Why not us? We have been chosen because we can give the girls the life they need – full of love and fun but most of all an acceptance for who they are”

As he wheeled the girls in, I think we were all touched by his Positivity, his love and commitment for his children – If he could, we could!! He talked excitedly about his vision to set up the Twincess Campaign, and so a Trust fund was set up to prepare for their future.

 

 

 

 Visit www.twincess.co.uk to read more about their wonderful journey so far.

Twincess was set up by us – Matt and Jodi Parry after our twin daughters Abigail and Isobel were born with Down’s Syndrome on June 29, 2011.

Twincess is place where families of those with Down’s Syndrome can connect, share, support and celebrate! It is about providing frank and honest advice based on real, personal experience. There’s a lot of negativity around the condition with the focus often being around what children with Down’s Syndrome can’t do. Twincess is about highlighting what they can do.

 

 

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