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Ever wonder why do boys DO that? Join co-hosts Jennifer L.W. Fink, mom of four boys, and Janet Allison, parenting coach & educator, as they explore and explain boy behavior. Their weekly conversations include a healthy dose of humor & insight, and feature take-away tips you can use right now, at home or in the classroom, to help boys grow into healthy, happy men. Whether your boys are teens or toddlers, you’ll find a big dose of support, encouragement and camaraderie at On Boys.

ON BOYS Podcast Janet Allison, Jennifer LW Fink

    • Kinder und Familie

Ever wonder why do boys DO that? Join co-hosts Jennifer L.W. Fink, mom of four boys, and Janet Allison, parenting coach & educator, as they explore and explain boy behavior. Their weekly conversations include a healthy dose of humor & insight, and feature take-away tips you can use right now, at home or in the classroom, to help boys grow into healthy, happy men. Whether your boys are teens or toddlers, you’ll find a big dose of support, encouragement and camaraderie at On Boys.

    Parenting Teenage Boys w Joshua Wayne

    Parenting Teenage Boys w Joshua Wayne

    Parenting teenage boys is HARD. 

    Their brains aren't yet fully mature yet they're bigger and stronger than most parents. They have more energy than their parents -- and when they are bound and determined to do what they want to do (regardless of what you or anyone else says), the energy can seem more like a curse than a blessing.

    Joshua Wayne is a parenting coach, speaker and dad-to-a-son. He's also a formerly troubled teenage boy. Joshua knows what's going through many boys' heads -- and he knows how to help parents reach their sons.

    Joshua Wayne and his family

    Just as nearly all businesses and non-profit organizations have a board of directors to guide them, "every kid as their own board of directors," Joshua says, "a virtual round table" of influential individuals, including his friends, the celebrities he follows on Instagram, the musicians he listens to, sports figures he admires and maybe a teacher, coach or other trusted adult.

    "Your #1 objective as a parent is to be on your kid's board of directors," Joshua says. "You don't need to be chairman of the board, but you want a seat at that table."

    The key to earning your seat: creating and maintaining a strong relationship with your son. 

    "There is no more surefire way to get yourself kicked off your son's board of directors than fighting the wrong battles with him," Joshua says.

    The #1 battle that gets parents kicked out of their sons circle of influence is SCHOOL AND GRADES. So, stop. Stop stressing out about your son's grades and stop nagging him. Let him take ownership of that part of his life.

    "School is important; it's just not the most important thing," Joshua says.

    A battle worth fighting, in Joshua's opinion: tech time. Set (and enforce) reasonable limits so screens don't become your son's whole life.

    Moms parenting teenage boys need to learn to let go, while maintaining connection with their sons.

    "Let the boy go, and make room for the man," Joshua says. "if you do this successfully -- give him space and room to become a man -- he will come back to you, and it will be a different relationship than the one he had with you when he was a little boy. It will be a rich, wonderful, adult relationship."

    In this episode, Janet & Joshua discuss:

    * How to connect with teenage boys

    * Creating a strong relationship w your son

    * Picking your battles

    * Why you MUST stop fighting w your son about school

    * What to do if your son doesn't care about school

    * Why you should let your son fail a class

    * 5 characteristics of healthy boys

    * Boys & tech -- why boys need clear screen limits and guidelines

    * Teenage boys & anger

    * What teenage boys need from their moms and dads

    * Addressing conflict with your son

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    joshuawayne.com -- Joshua's online home

    The Simple Parenting Guide to Technology: Practical Advice on Smartphone, Gaming and Social Media in Just 40 Pages, by Joshua Wayne -- book mentioned at 21:00

    Screens and Boys -- ON BOYS episode

    Raising Kids to Thrive in a Connection World -- ON BOYS episode featuring a href="https://twitter.

    • 47 Min.
    Boys and Body Image

    Boys and Body Image

    Almost 1/3 of boys are trying to gain weight or bulk up. 

    For years, body image concerns were thought to be a female issue. But superhero costumes for toddler boys  now come equipped with built-in muscles, and popular teen shows such as Outer Banks cast 20-something actors with chiseled faces and abs as 16-year-olds, creating unrealistic expectations for teenage boys (and girls).

    This is NOT a 16 year old. This is Chase Stokes, age 27, as John B, 16 yr old lead character in Outer Banks.

    Perhaps it's no wonder that a 2019 study found that 22% of young men ages 18-24 had an eating disorder due to a desire to enhance muscles.

    Lisa L. Lewis, a journalist who's also the mother of a teen boy, got curious when her college-aged son told her he was "cutting" (drastically reducing calories to reduce body weight) and using supplements to bulk up. Her son, like so many others, started using supplements when he was in high school.

    "He played football," Lewis says. "So that was really where this whole process started for him." After high school, he became interested in body building and started using supplement and calorie control to reshape his body. That's when Lewis became concerned and reached out to the experts to learn more about supplements, boys and body image.

    Although nearly 40% of surveyed high school boys report using protein powder or shakes within the last year, and nearly 20% have used creatine (a supplement purported to increase muscle mass), most supplements have not been proven to be safe for teenage boys. Studies to date show that the products are generally safe for adults; there is little to no research on their safety and effectiveness for teenage males.

    "Part of the issue is that these products are classified as dietary supplements, and the FDA does not actually test those before they go out and hit the shelves," Lewis says.

    In this episode, Jen, Janet & Lisa discuss:

    * Why teen boys are drawn to supplements

    * How to differentiate between a healthy interest in fitness and an unhealthy focus on body image

    * Commonly used supplements, including protein powder, creatine, caffeine, testosterone

    * Why you should steer your son away from blends

    * Finding "safer" supplements (Note: look for ones that have been tested by a 3rd party such as NSF for Sport)

    * Helping boys understand the risks of supplements

    * Better approaches to bulking up: good nutrition, training & sleep

    * Sleep -- Lisa has extensively researched teens' sleep habits and school start times as well

    * When to worry about boys and body image

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Why Teen Boys Use Supplements -- NYT article by Lisa

    "Anyone Popular at School Has Muscles": The Rise of the Ripped Teen - Guardian article

    Sports Nutrition Guide from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (mentioned at 35:10)


    • 37 Min.
    Supporting Boys’ Interests

    Supporting Boys’ Interests

    Supporting boys' interests is essential, especially in a world that so often tells them their interests are unwelcome. Wanna wrestle? Don't; you might hurt someone. Wanna dance? Don't; that's for girls.

    Restrained by stereotypes, gender expectations and parents and teachers who prefer boys who sit down and take direction without comment or complaint, too may boys give up their interests. They disengage from school and life and disappear into their rooms and online spaces.

    It's easier, for many boys, to let go of what they love than to fight for the right to follow their dreams and passions. But when boys let go of their passion, a part of them dies as well. Their interior spark fades; they become dull and listless. Their gifts remain locked inside

    As boys divorce themselves for their inner lights, the world risks losing out on the special gifts that child was meant to manifest in the world.

    Today's guest, Jeremy Neves, understands the importance of supporting boys' interests. When he heard about 5-year-old Adrian's efforts to buy a Lamborghinii -- efforts that included an attempted drive to California in the family vehicle -- he reached out to the family. At a time when many were focused on the danger that could have befallen young Adrian, Neves focused on the boys' grit and determination.

    "Let's not miss the gift and genius of this little boys," Neves told The Washington Post. "He was determined, willing to do whatever it took to go after his dream. You don't want that dreaming to stop."

    He reminds us that "where focus goes, energy flows" -- which suggests that acknowledging our boys' good intentions is more useful than focusing on their flaws.

    Of course, it's not always easy to accept boys' interests. Neves struggled when his son gravitated toward Elsa, Barbie and princess dresses.

    "I had all these insecurities and fears," Neves says. "Number one, what do other parents think about me? What do they think about my kid? What's going to happen when kids start making fun of him?"

    Frustrated with his son's behavior, Neves tossed the boy's dolls and dresses -- and his relationship with his son suffered. The boy became distant and hostile. After a mentor helped Neves confront his fears, he took his son shopping. For a dress.

    "Our relationship went a whole other level that day,"  Neves says. "Kids, they sense energy. They understand and they read energy. The last thing I want is for my son to think he's wrong or he's bad or that I don't love him. I want my son to know that, no matter what, I love him."

    In this episode, Jen, Janet & Jeremy discuss:

    * Learning to look for the good

    * Why supporting boys' interests is so important

    * Rewarding bad behavior?

    * The power of encouragement

    * Parenting strong-willed boys

    * Directing boys' energy

    * Learning to accept boys' interests

    * What to do when your son gravitates toward "girl" things

    * Facing your fears

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Building Boys Bulletin 5-18-20 -- all about Adrian's Lamborghini adventure (& why it matters)

    My Boys Can Parenting -- another ON BOYS episode about supporting boys' int...

    • 37 Min.
    Wilderness Therapy w Paul Cumbo

    Wilderness Therapy w Paul Cumbo

    He couldn’t sleep. Mike’s face stung from the gash and the stitches and a pulsing ache radiated from the back of his skull. His knuckles were shredded, and his arm throbbed under the thick bandages. Whether he closed or opened his eyes -- even his EYES hurt -- the images were there. Like grainy documentary footage. Some of it in motion, some of it still...

    That’s the start of chapter 2 of Wilderness Therapy, a new book by Paul Cumbo,a long-time teacher and coach. We don’t ordinarily talk about fiction here on ON BOYS, but this book is exceptional. It’s written for boys and tackles issues that are familiar to every boy -- loss, failure, grief, family and rage.

    "Teenage boys are complex creatures," Paul says, and his novel tells the story of one such boy, Mike, a teenager who's lost his father, his brother and his way.

    "I hoped that in telling Mike's story, there'd be a window for boys -- and people who love boys -- to help them see that, even in the most rugged terrain, there is a path to be found or made," Paul says.

    That message is extremely important for teenage boys and their parents & teachers, who too often tend to assume the worst when a boy makes a poor choice. As a teacher, coach and parent, Paul functions from a "presupposition of the good;" he assumes that those he encounters are functioning from a position of good intentions.

    "There's great value in looking at a messy situation, acknowledging the mess and then noticing that it's not all mess," he says.

    In this episode, Jen, Janet & Paul discuss:

    * How teenage boys are like the Grand Canyon

    * Why you should assume the best about boys

    * How to use movement to help boys process emotions and problems

    * The value of purposeful work, travel and service

    * Getting boys to read and write

    * The difference between passion and obsession

    * Boys and anger

    * Intrinsic motivation

    * Honoring boys' interests

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    Wilderness Therapy -- Paul's book on Amazon

    PaulCumbo.com -- Paul's online home; includes links to his other books

    Somos Amigos -- service organization mentioned at about 16:30

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    • 42 Min.
    The Summer Slide

    The Summer Slide

    Summer slide (noun): The loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer vacation

    Photo by bcrumpler via Flicker

    Parents (& educators) have long worried about the things kids "forget" over the summer. This year, on the tail of a pandemic-interrupted school year that launched valiant attempts at unplanned remote learning, parents (& educators) are more concerned than ever before. According to a recent New York Times article, 3/4 of parents of children under 12 and 64% of parents of teens feel that it's more important to do parent-led educational activities with their children this summer than in previous summers. 

    Just 17% of surveyed parents said they do not feel this pressure.

    We're here to tell you that you can take a break. There are a lot of ways to combat summer slide and help boys learn -- and none of them have to be painful.

    "Relax!" Janet says. "Lower your expectations, give yourself some grace, play and get outside."

    In this episode, Jen & Janet discuss:

    * The truth about summer slide (Spoiler: summer learning losses aren't as large as many people think)

    * Why you should focus on your son's mental health instead of academic achievement

    * Decreasing screen-dependency

    * Nature deficit disorder

    * How to get your boy OUTSIDE

    * Natural learning

    * How to keep kids busy in the summer

    * Teaching boys to play independently

    * Helping kids self-entertain

    * Encouraging self-relianceCommon Sense Skills camp

    * How to reinforce math & reading skills

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    "Nature Deficit Disorder" is Really a Thing -- NYT article discussed at 8:05

    School's Out. Parental Burnout Isn't Going Away -- NYT article mentioned at 11:04

    Pandemic Parenting Was Already Relentless. Then Came Summer -- NYT article

    How to Prevent Your Kids From Losing What They Learned in School During Summer Vacation -- Scholastic article

    We're Running a Common Sense Camp for Our Kids This Summer -- article mentioned at about 19:00

    Dad, How Do I? -- YouTube channel mentioned at 22:35

    Summer Survive & Thrive Tips -- ON BOYS episode

    Garth Brooks: The Road I'm On -- documentary mentioned at 24:30

    • 32 Min.
    The Art of Roughhousing (w Dr. Lawrence Cohen)

    The Art of Roughhousing (w Dr. Lawrence Cohen)

    Roughhousing can teach boys about healthy touch.

    Photo by SnarkleMotion via Flickr

    Society teaches boys that there are two kinds of "acceptable" touch for males: sex, and aggression. No wonder so many boys and men turn to sex and aggression to meet their very human need for touch!

    Physical play -- including play wrestling, "chase" games and roughhousing -- give boys multiple opportunities to experience healthy touch while learning about boundaries and consent. "Roughhousing is really more like dancing than fighting," Dr. Cohen says. "It can look like fighting, but the participants have to be really tuned in to each other."

    Building in frequent stops and starts can prevent physical play from getting out of control, Dr. Cohen says. Make it fun: "Freeze!" "OK, go!"

    Not sure if the kids are having fun or legitimately trying to hurt one another? Ask. A question that's not asked nearly enough, Dr. Cohen says, is "Are you enjoying this?" Also: tears don't necessarily mean the session was a disaster or ill-advised. "Tears are fine as long as there's comforting and a pause and connection," Dr. Cohen says. "If it's tears and then humiliation, it's the humiliation that's the problem, not the tears."

    In this episode, Jen, Janet & Lawrence discuss:

    * The importance of healthy touch

    * Difference between fighting & roughhousing

    * Why moms should roughhouse with their boys

    * The "sock game"

    * Ground rules: yay or nay?

    * How to keep roughhousing from getting out of control

    * When to intervene in rough play

    NOTE: The sound quality on this episode is still less-than-ideal. Jen was experiencing technical difficulties. The good news is that those episodes are now resolved. :) 

    Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

    The Art of Roughhousing: Good, Old-Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs It, by Dr. Lawrence Cohen & Dr. Anthony T. DeBenedet

    Playful Parenting: An Exciting New Approach to Raising Children that Will Help You Nurture Close Connections, Solve Behavior Problems and Encourage Confidence, by Dr. Lawrence Cohen

    PlayfulParenting.com — Lawrence’s website

    6 Reasons Why You Should Roughhouse with Your Kids - the article that led us to Dr. Cohen

    Rough and Tumble Games to Play with Boys This Summer -- BuildingBoys blog post

    Sexual Abuse Affects Boys Too -- our first ON BOYS conversation w Dr. Cohen

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    • 15 Min.

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