Rosalind Wiseman’s “Queen Bees & Wannabees” – the book that inspired “Mean Girls” - completely changed the way we view girls’ friendships. Now, she’s sparking a conversation about boys. With shocking stats such as that boys are five times more likely to commit suicide than girls and are less likely to go to college, it’s a problem we can’t ignore any longer. She shares with us more of her insight here.
Boys have body image issues too
“Boys are just as aware of who has a six-pack and who has man-boobs as girls are about who is flat and who has a big chest,” Wiseman says. If you want to talk to your son about body image, Wiseman suggests finding a quiet time and saying something like, “This may not have happened to you, but I’ve noticed boys can tease each other sometimes about being heavy and I want you to know that if that’s happening to you or you see it happening, that’s not OK.” Opening up a dialog creates a safe space for talking about these issues.
Let them play video games
Conversations about screen-time and violent video games often dominate parenting discussions, but Wiseman says video games are a vital part for boys when it comes to building friendships. It also frustrates her that many parents judge a video game as being too violent without knowing anything about it other than the rating on the back of the box. “If you don’t know anything about the video games your sons are playing, they aren’t going to take you serious. Period,” she says. Wiseman suggests reading reviews written by gamers so you can actually have an intelligent conversation with your son about your concerns. “If you don’t educate yourselves, you miss the opportunities to talk to them about real issues in video games.”
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Know when and how to get serious
One mistake Wiseman says parents often make: asking a ton of questions as soon as their son gets home from school. “I talked to a lot of boys and they all said it’s exhausting to be interrogated right when they get home,” she says. Instead, let them relax for a bit and wait for the right opportunities. “They will come,” Wiseman promises. “Maybe it’s when you’re sitting at the foot of their bed before they go to sleep or another time when you’re just hanging out, but the opportunities to talk about important things will come up.”
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