I’ve recently been doing some research related to youth ministry. My studies have been pivotal in re-shaping my approach to my job, especially as it pertains to working with middle school boys.
As a blogger I feel like it is my responsibility to share my newly discovered conclusions with my blog readers. Hopefully they will help you become a better parent and youth worker. I think these insights are going to be revolutionary for many, just like they’ve been for me:
- No more forced showers. If a middle school boys smells bad and doesn’t want to shower, don’t make him. Turns out smelly boys might know something we don’t. Showering everyday, according to certain sources, is potentially hazardous to your health. Plus fewer showers means saving more water!
- Stop stifling him with phone, TV, and video game boundaries. How dare you put a limit on how much time he spends in front screens! He needs to learn to set his own boundaries eventually, right? Why not give him complete freedom early on? Video games have lots of benefits. Plus, wouldn’t you rather have him at home sitting on the couch for hours on end than out with his friends and doing potentially dangerous things?
- Embrace his foul language. It’s good for middle school boys to learn to expand their vocabulary beyond the limited, innocent word bank they used back in elementary school. At least he’s not giving you only grunts and one-word answers. His elaborate two- or three-word cusses are better than vague one-word responses. Plus, when he swears at you it can build your character as you learn to stand up to his verbal attacks.
- Don’t worry about porn. Porn is something that “other kids” struggle with, but surely not your own child. Plus, what’s the big deal if your son stumbles upon a porn addiction? Most teenage guys struggle with it in some way, shape, or form.
- Let him eat whatever he wants. Boys love and respect a permissive parent who will let him eat all the sugar, caffeine, and soda he wants. Don’t force him to eat those nasty healthy foods that he likes to avoid. He’s got plenty of time to eat fruits and vegetables when he’s older. You only live once, right? Let him gorge himself while his metabolism is still in high gear.
- Control his behavior with sarcasm, jokes, and cutting remarks. His friends are already throwing verbal barbs in his direction at school. Let him have it at home as well, because it will prepare him to deal with it when he leaves the nest. It’s like toughening him up before going out into battle. Middle school boys are finally old enough to begin understanding sarcasm and hurtful jokes.
- Make lots of comments about his acne, his voice change, and other awkward physical features related to puberty. He needs to have an honest evaluation of how he appears to others. Looks are important at this age, and he needs to know if he makes the cut or not. Too many parents avoid such comments out of fear of “hurting his feelings.” Well, you know what? The truth hurts sometimes!
- Push him into dating relationships with girls. Who knows if he’ll ever take the initiative on his own? Boys enjoy it when you pester them about that certain girl he should ask out. And whenever he starts dating, give him some space. Don’t ask any questions about how the relationship is going. Don’t be physically present when he’s hanging out with girls. That would be embarrassing for him!
- When he pulls away from you, pull away from him. When a middle school boy starts to distance himself from his parents, it basically signals the end of the parents’ guiding role in his life. Just back away. Life is much easier and less complicated that way. It cuts down on family conflict and will suddenly lead to a stress-free life. You deserve that kind of life after raising him for the past twelve-plus years!
- Make him rely on friends for important decisions. You helped him make decisions when he was younger, but now it’s time to shirk that responsibility. Whenever he is faced with a difficult life decision, just tell him to do whatever his friends are doing. That way he’ll fit in and have a better chance at being popular. As we all know, every parent’s greatest desire is to raise a child who is popular in middle school.
If there’s one thing I learned through all this, it’s to trust everything you read on the Internet. Especially when it comes to insight about how to raise kids. The Internet is chalk-full of reliable information. Blogs are an increasingly helpful source of great parenting insights.
I guess some of my previous beliefs were off-base. Hopefully you, like me, want to be a lifelong learner. Try applying some of these new insights today. You’ll be amazed at what a few changes can do to affect your relationships with kids.
P.S. Happy April Fool’s Day!