Communicating with boys in a manner designed for the male brain

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I worked with a family of a very active 8yo. Whenever this boy would do something impulsively, say mean things, etc. his parents would make him sit down and discuss the issue at length. This approach often set him off more.  It was too much talk, too much rehashing events, too much processing feelings.

Boys brains are wired differently than girls, they are neurologically wired to not use language as much. Boys do not need to express feelings through articulating “feeling words”.  Often, boys need 12-24 hours before they can process something in the past and they typically cannot process and articulate feelings on demand like girls do.

Here’s what is more effective if you want to meet him where his brain is at and communicate more effectively:

-Change your expectations. Admitting wrongdoing, verbally expressing empathy, labeling feelings are not necessary for him to understand the “bigger picture”.  This is a female-brain based approach that doesn’t work for most boys (yet is the focus of much counseling/talk therapy with boys). 

-Go for a walk with your son or do something active in order to have a conversation. Take the focus away from you sitting across from each other. 

– Instead of talking about feelings ask “What do you think happened yesterday?”

-Help him understand others’ thoughts/feelings based on his words/behaviors. Don’t harp on this, just explain that his words/behaviors has an effect on others and how others treat him based on how they feel about his words/behaviors.

Lets talk about how we can help you communicate more effectively with your son: www.ridethewavecounseling.com

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