195 episodes

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

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.7 • 78 Ratings

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.

    Keeping Boys Safe from Respiratory Viruses

    Keeping Boys Safe from Respiratory Viruses

    Did you know that boys may be more susceptible to respiratory viruses than girls?



    Society tells us that boys are strong and tough, but the truth is that males are biologically fragile -- from before birth all the way through to death. Male fetuses are more likely to be miscarried than female fetuses, especially during stressful times. Men tend to have weaker immune systems than women, and males are more susceptible to all kinds of viral respiratory illnesses, including the common cold, influenza respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and COVID-19. Males who contract COVID-19 are more likely than females with the same illness to land in the hospital and develop complications.



    Handwashing, plenty of sleep, fresh diet and a healthy diet can all bolster boys' immune systems. Given the amount of "crud" out there this time of year, you may want to take some extra steps to protect your son's respiratory health -- and minimize the number of sick days your family has this year!



    Most respiratory viruses spread through the air. Infected people exhale the virus, which can linger in the air. Others in the area unknowingly inhale the virus -- and often become sick a few days later. Wearing a well-fitting mask in public places can dramatically decrease the chances of your son (and your family) contracting a respiratory illness.



    "Nobody wants to wear a mask," says Jim Rathburn, CEO of of LCP Medical and a dad & grandfather of boys. "But societally, I think we have reached a new normal where wearing a mask is important in some situations."



    Consider wearing masks:



    * At the grocery store

    * On public transportation

    * In school settings

    * At airports



    "Those are high risk areas where you don't know if other people are infected or there's something floating around in the atmosphere," Jim says. "There's at least 100 different viruses out there that want to join your cells. Some of them are relatively benign and some of them are a huge threat to life.



    "It doesn't take much just to wear a protective mask that can prevent you from getting something."



    This episode is sponsored by LCP Medical.



    In this episode, Jen, Janet & Jim discuss:



    * Boys' vulnerability to respiratory viruses

    * How respiratory viruses spread

    * How masks decrease transmission of respiratory viruses

    * Characteristics of effective masks

    * Why we're all increasingly susceptible to the common cold

    * Truth about parenting boys!



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

    Don't Want Your Kids to Wear a Mask in School? Do This. -- Building Boys post



    a href="https://buildingboys.

    • 38 min
    Video Game Addiction

    Video Game Addiction

    Video game addiction



    Google that term and you'll get 95 million results -- and the first one is for an addiction treatment center.



    But is video game addiction really "a thing?" More importantly -- what can parents do if they think their kid's gaming is out of control?



    Step one, says Chris Ferguson, a psychology professor and co-author of Moral Combat: Why the War on Video Video Games is Wrong, is to figure out if technology & gaming "is really the culprit." Often, video games aren't the cause of obsessive behavior; rather, excessive or obsessive gaming can be a symptom of an underlying issue.



    Depression, for instance, may be the root cause of obsessive gaming. And if that's the case, taking away a child's phone or video game system is unlikely to lead to positive changes. Instead, the child will become angry and resentful and his depression -- the thing that's fueling his desire for comfort and escape -- remains.



    To most effectively parent tweens & teens, you have to first identify -- and then question -- your own fears and biases. Are you afraid that playing video video games will turn your son into a school shooter? Take heart -- research to date does not support a link between video game violence & real-world violence. (In fact, school shooters are less likely than their peers to play video games.) It also helps to remember moral panics of the past. (Did the rock music you listened to as a teen turn you into a Satanist? Probably not...)



    In most cases, parents and children can work together to address problematic gaming. If you need professional help, look for a psychologist or psychiatrist who specializes in working with teenagers. Your child does not need  -- and probably won't benefit from -- working with an addiction specialist.





    In this episode, Jen, Janet & Chris discuss:



    * Why calling excessive gaming an "addiction" isn't helpful

    * How kids use gaming as a coping mechanism

    * Typical teen development (& how that may influence your son's use of games, and your perception of your son)

    * The link between parenting style, school stress & gaming

    * Why boys choose video gaming over homework & chores

    * Setting rules & boundaries for video games, screen time, homework & household chores

    * Moral panics, music & video games

    * Do video games negatively affect boys' perceptions of women?

    * Realistic expectations for parenting tween & teenage boys

    * Male development (note: guys tend to mature more slowly than their female counterparts)

    * Warning signs of video game "addiction"

    * What to do if you see technology overuse



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

    a href="https://www.amazon.com/Moral-Combat-Violent-Video-Games/dp/1942952988/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Moral+Combat%3A+Why+the+War+on+Video+Video+Games+is+Wrong&qid=1637173286&qsid=144-9124645-6325359&sr=8-1&sres=1942952988%2CB079P6SSHP%2C0465094759%2CB00D8STBHY%2CB07JZTBV9C%2CB07TS96J7Q%2CB085GJSDDT%2CB08HVXMQ87%2CB01ARGC2VQ%2CB087RQZRJP%...

    • 49 min
    The Tyler Merritt Project on Helping Boys Survive Mistakes

    The Tyler Merritt Project on Helping Boys Survive Mistakes

    Before he started The Tyler Merritt Project or created his viral video, Before You Call the Cops, Tyler Merritt was a confused, young black boy trying to make sense of all the expectations and stereotypes swirling around him.



    "I wish somebody had really sat down with me as a young person and simply said, 'Hey, Tyler, you're going to make a lot of mistakes. A lot of mistakes. And those mistakes are going to go on for a very long time. But listen young man: do not let those mistakes ruin you; do not let those mistakes define you. Let those mistakes become your fuel, your fire to burn stronger and become the man that can help change the world."



    That's a message our boys need to hear. 



    It's one we all need to hear.



    Mistakes are survivable. And hiding due to shame, regret, or fear of another mistake is, well, a mistake.



    "What and who are we missing because we have convinced individuals that they no longer have worth because of the mistakes that they have made?" Tyler says. "How many great leaders have we missed? How many great faith leaders, political leaders, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers have decided that they no longer want to do that thing that is significantly just them, that only they can do, because they have decided that those one or two mistakes are things that they can never come back from?"



    Tyler speaks from experience. He withdrew from social media (and many real-world interactions) after intimate photos he privately sent to another individual, um, were discovered by her husband. Who threatened to share the photos with the entire world.



    Loneliness set in. But eventually, Tyler realized that mistakes are universal.



    "I remember thinking to myself: I don't need to just come back through this for myself; I need to come back through this for every young man, young woman, everyone that I've hurt, to let them know that we can still do great things," he says.



    Now, "finding are finding hope in themselves because of my stories," Tyler says.





    In this episode, Jen, Janet & Tyler discuss:



    * Expectations placed on boys

    * How history affects black boys in school even today

    * Recovering from mistakes

    * Letting people see your full self

    * How loving yourself helps you love others

    * Finding hope in spite of anger

    * How accepting our mistakes allows us to connect with others



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

    I Take My Coffee Black: Reflections on Tupac, Musical Theatre, Faith, and Being Black in America -- Tyler's book



    Before You Call the Cops -- Tyler's viral video







    The Tyler Merritt Project on Facebook



    How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi -- books mentioned at 14:36

    Need help with your boys?

    a href="https://buildingboys.substack.

    • 46 min
    Another View of Wilderness Therapy

    Another View of Wilderness Therapy

    Is wilderness therapy a good choice for troubled boys? 



    For boys who are self-harming, self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, or in trouble with the law? Is wilderness therapy the solution for families who have tried everything and are desperate to help their sons?



    It can be, says Jane (name changed at her request, to protect her family's privacy) and Tami, two parents who made the decision to place their sons in wilderness therapy programs, and TJ, Tami's 21-year-old son who was enrolled in an outdoor behavioral healthcare program four years ago.



    "Our son started spiraling years ago, and we tried everything we could. Therapists. Coaches. Talking to him. More severe consequences," Jane says. "We were dealing with school avoidance, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and defiance, and it got to the point where my husband and I just didn't feel like we had control. It was this cycle of dysfunction, and it got so bad that our family started to normalize it."



    Things deteriorated to the point that their son's therapist told them their son would either end up "in an orange jumpsuit, or with an addiction problem."



    Their son was 14.



    The final straw, Jane says, came when her son's school said they may have to report the family to social services due to their son's continued truancy.



    Four years after his therapy experience, TJ says the discomfort was worth it.



    "It is honestly miserable a good amount of the time. It's hard; it's not an easy experience. But no experience worth having is easy," he says. "If I hadn't done those 3 months in the wilderness, I don't know where I'd be today. It really did teach me a lot about myself and how to live in a positive way."



    Photo by Justin Burger via Flickr

    In this episode, Jen, Jane, Tami Ann & TJ discuss:



    * Why families choose wilderness therapy

    * Prioritizing mental health

    * What to do when therapy doesn't seem to work

    * Family dysregulation

    * Why tweens/teens drink alcohol/use drugs

    * The wilderness therapy experience

    * How to find (and vet) an educational consultant

    * Parents' role in wilderness therapy



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

    A Wilderness Story: A Teen's Road to Healing, by Tami Ann -- FB page for Tami Ann's book



    Troubled Boys (w Kenneth R Rosen) -- ON BOYS episode mentioned at 2:51



    Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) -- resource mentioned by TJ; help for people who drinking and substance use problems



    Wilderness Therapy w Paul Cumbo -- ON BOYS episode discussing a novel about wilderness therapy



    ICEA (International Association of Educational Consultants) -- resource mentioned at 50:45

    Sponsor Spotlight: Cozi

    #1 organizing app for families

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Practical Parenting Strategies (w Amy Williams)

    Practical Parenting Strategies (w Amy Williams)

    Need some practical parenting strategies to help you manage hitting, backtalk and disobedience? 



    Amy Williams has solutions. Amy is a school counselor who also helps overwhelmed and stuck parents. And let's be real: we all feel overwhelmed, stuck, and unsure at various points during our parenting journey.



    Giving ourselves grace is step one to moving forward, Amy says. Pause. Take some deep breaths. Step away from the situation, if you can.



    "If the tantrum is happening over there, but there are no blood, brains or bones, you can take a minute to take care of yourself," she says, "so you can come back and be the parent you want to be vs. the parent who is at that high stress, dysregulated state.



    "Our children need us to be regulated, and when we don't take our own self into consideration and have respect for ourselves as a person -- and know how to regulate ourselves -- then our children won't see that happen. We are role models."



    Despite our best intentions, many of us unconsciously sabotage our parenting efforts. The most common forms of parental self-sabotage include:



    * Talking too much

    * Procrastination

    * "Forgetting to pant"

    * Negative scripting

    * Ignoring your own unmet needs



    Identifying your typical patterns can help you figure out which changes to make to quickly yield better results.





    In this episode, Jen, Janet & Amy discuss:



    * Why self-care is essential for effective parenting

    * How role-modeling can teach emotional regulation

    * 4 ways parents sabotage their parenting efforts

    * Adult talking speed vs. kids' processing speed (we talk too fast for kids to process!)

    * Connecting with your child during "neutral" time

    * Breaking family patterns

    * Narrating interactions with your kids

    * What to say when your child says, "I'm stupid!" or "I hate you!"



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

    Amy Williams Academy -- Amy's website



    Caring Discipline: Practical Tools for Nurturing Happy Families and Classrooms, by Joanne Nordling -- book mentioned at 20:51



    Teacher Tom Talks About Boys, Emotions, & Play -- ON BOYS episode mentioned at 42:00



    janetlansbury.com -- website of parenting educator mentioned by Amy

    Sponsor Spotlight: Cozi

    #1 organizing app for families

    • 58 min
    Hunt Gather Parent with Michaeleen Doucleff

    Hunt Gather Parent with Michaeleen Doucleff

    Hunt, Gather, Parent, by Michaeleen Doucleff, shares ancient wisdom that's still relevant today: the key to raising healthy, happy, helpful humans is to engage them in work of the family and community. 



    That's a truth we seem to have forgotten in our collective desire to optimize our kids. Our intentions are good, but our actions -- signing our kids up for multiple extracurricular activities; spending our weekends shuffling them around to tournaments and birthday parties -- may actually be harming our kids' development.



    Michaeleen's investigation of parenting practices began when her daughter was two and hitting, biting, and experiencing frequent tantrums. "Everything in my heart wanted to help her, to teach her how to calm down," Michaeleen says. So, like a good modern parent, Michaeleen read parenting books and blogs. But nothing she tried seemed to help.



    "We'd get in these big cycles: I'd eventually get angry and she would get louder," Michaeleen says. "To be honest, I really started to dread my time with her."



    Then Michaeleen, a science correspondent for NPR, was sent to the Yucatan to follow up on a research paper that found that Mayan kids are better at paying attention than American kids. The experience was life-changing.



    "What those parents showed me in the week we were there really shifted my whole thinking about parenting," she says. "I started to realize there's a different way to do this that's not only easier but more effective."



    Learn more in Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff.





    In this episode, Jen, Janet & Michaeleen discuss:



    * How a trip to the Yucatan shifted Michaeleen's approach to parenting

    * Why letting children explore is more effective than telling kids what to do

    * Going against the parenting grain

    * Benefits of family-focused (vs. kid-focused) parenting

    * Involving kids in the work of the family

    * Why you should get rid of some of your kids' toys

    * Creating opportunities to share

    * How kids develop initiative



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

    Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans -- Michaeleen's book



    A Global Guide for Parents: How Your Kids Can Have Fun Without Stressing You Out -- NPR article by Michaeleen



    michaeleendoucleff.com -- Michaeleen's website

    Sponsor Spotlight: Cozi

    #1 organizing app for families

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
78 Ratings

78 Ratings

Mom of 2 crazy kids ,

Love this podcast!

This podcast is a must for any parent of boys. So relatable, great resources, experts on all sorts of topics. Thank you ladies!!

heathnat ,

Helped my relationship with my son immensely!

Janet and Jen have such a wonderful partnership and their combined experience has helped my relationship with my son immensely. Setting more realistic expectations, ideas to help me connect with him, and knowing what the world looks like through his eyes has reduced yelling and conflict and maximized connection.

Noyfbbbb ,

Every topic imaginable!

I’ve been listening for a couple of years, and love the dual perspectives of the co-hosts. This is one of my go-to resources. If there is an issue or concern you have now, or if you wish to be prepared for what’s on the horizon as he grows- there will be an episode that resonates. Don’t be surprised if there is an “ah-ha” almost every week! Some shows are so full of relevant-to-me advice that I have to listen more than once!

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