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The Way of Boys: Raising Healthy Boys in a Challenging and Complex World

The Way of Boys: Raising Healthy Boys in a Challenging and Complex World - Anthony Rao, Michelle Seaton Action leads to talk -- try something repetitive like basketball, ping pong, catch. Cooperation -- build something together. Parallel play -- all ways to help boys to talk.Strategies for containing aggressive behavior -- reminders (at eye level, just before), practicing calm (taking a deep breath, a "flower" breath, staying still with a timer), being patient. Time away, rather than time-out. Should be immediate and last until the boy is calm. No lectures, just do it. Ask him to repeat afterward why he was asked to calm down. He has to win -- an age appropriate approach --they do need to develop a sense of mastery and they do have a very strong sense of competition. Over time, when they are able to deal with all of the elements of the games (sitting still, reading, numeracy, manual skills, taking turns), you can start focus more on the rules and fairness. If you let him win when he is very young, you will not ruin him. Model for him how to lose gracefully, acknowledge the feelings of disappointment and loss.He likes playing the bad guy -- he's just working out fears. Rough play: keep it safe; set rules; set a time limit; don't judge it. When he crosses the line: give him the consequence first, then the rule. Tell him what he did wrong. Wait for him to cool down. Before you return him to the game or his toy, tell him why it was taken away. Ask him to tell you what will happen if he violates the rules again. One step forward, two steps back is normal. Boys develop very unevenly. Behavioral adjustment: Stay calm. Start small -- reward for very small steps forward. Don't expect more new behaviors until current behaviors are happening automatically most of the time. Don't punish noncompliance. Say that's okay, you can earn a sticker/reward next time and move on. Stay consistent. Choose the right rewards -- usually new privileges. Keep it challenging -- when he has mastered the first step, move on to the next one. Relate to the teacher. Keep it positive. Be available and flexible. Enlist the teacher's help first. Problems are often situational -- is there something you can change in the environment. Resist the rush to test or evaluate -- give it a little time. Many boys experience developmental setbacks and erratic shifts that can look like disorders. With rare exceptions, almost every boy who shows such quirky behaviors grows up to be just fine. No matter how your son is behaving right now, he's going to be different in 6 months. A behavioral problem nearly always benefits from a behavioral program. Conferences with teachers: listen even if you don't agree. Keep track of what's being said -- bring someone else to listen too if you can. Take notes. Ask for accommodations, but refuse them if they are not enough or not helpful. Don't rush to change schools -- try to work it out if you can. Get outside help and support if you need it.When is a label needed?1. It's serious. It must get in the way of functioning significantly. It's not just being annoying.2. It must persist over time. 3. It must occur across situations.4. It should be reported by more than one trusted observer. Understand the tests. Don't just rely on a checklist. Get a second opinion. Don't rush into medication.