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17 Things Only Parents Of Boys Can Relate To

17 Things Only Parents Of Boys Can Relate To

From the moment you find out you’re going to be a parent, your entire world changes forever. You see new delights and new threats around every corner, and you learn things that no one else in the world knows. That’s especially true for parents of boys.

Of course, daughters will teach you plenty, too, but there are just some experiences that only people with sons can relate to.

For instance, as parents of boys, we know that:

1. Boys Are Not Indestructible

Sons are rough-and-tumble, but they are still human. No matter how big and strong our boys get, and no matter how macho they may act, they get hurt just like the rest of us. As parents, we need to master the art of monitoring their physical and mental pains without babying them through every crisis.

2. Boys Have Drama, Too

People who aren’t parents or who have only girls might assume that raising a son is drama-free, but we know better. They may not suffer from the same type of gossip and friendship crises that plague girls, but our sons generate plenty of emotional turmoil as they crash through childhood and adolescence.

From picky eating to late homework to bullying, a boy will keep your house stirred up at regular intervals for 18 years (or more).

3. Boys Always Need Us

Little boys have no trouble letting us know what they need, whether it’s a clean diaper or a sippy cup of milk. As they grow and start doing their own thing, it’s easy to think that our sons don’t need us anymore, but that’s not true.

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They may not rely on us every second of the day anymore, but their needs are deeper and more urgent than ever before. This really hits home the first time your son gets his heart broken and you have to pick up the pieces.

4. Boys Leave Legos Everywhere

Every single movie and every single television show that your son has ever watched or ever will watch has its own Lego universe of snap-together toys. They come in nifty little kits that a boy can put together in an hour or so, and then entropy takes over and he begins to pick apart the bricks, shard by shard, until your house is carpeted in thousands of foot-slicing knobs and corners.

They always seem to pierce your heel while you’re trying to get ready for work, too.

5. Boys Challenge Your Thinking

We want our sons to grow up strong and independent, and that means being able to let them form their own opinions and back them up. By the time they’re teenagers, most boys are only too happy to practice this skill on their parents, challenging just about every idea that comes out of our mouths.

It’s not all stubbornness and bluster, though – if you listen carefully to your son, he might just change your mind on some topics you hold dear.

6. Boys Grunt

Listening to your son talk with a friend on the phone is like eavesdropping on a couple of cavemen. A series of grunts and pauses somehow translates into plans to meet at the ball diamond after school, and that mode of communication trickles into other areas of life.

Try not to get too frustrated when every question is answered with “yeah” or “uh-huh” because there is a layer of real meaning just below the surface. Our job as parents is to chip away until we get enough bits of intelligible language to piece together the true story.

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7. Boys Want To Be Like Their Dads

Fathers of boys find out quickly that our sons want to be like us … usually just like us. If you haven’t noticed that your son is watching every move you make, it’s time to wake up to that fact.

You can’t behave like a jerk and expect your son to be a sweet kid, because he’s likely going to mimic you in every way.

8. Boys Want To Protect Their Moms

It’s an old cliché that men don’t talk about each other’s mothers, but it’s one that happens to be true, especially for growing boys. Moms and sons will have their struggles and spats, but if you’re a mom, know that your staunchest defender is your little boy, even if that means taking sides against Dad.

9. Boys Will Read All Night

The traditional image of a bookworm may be a girl with glasses cuddled up in the corner of a library, but parents of boys know better. We know that our sons have books tucked between their mattresses and inside their pillowcases, and we know that any light source will do.

Flashlights, glow sticks, digital clocks, cell phones – our boys sneak all of them into bed to support their reading habit.

10. Boys Can Use Anything As A Sword

Parents of boys know that we must guard our heads and crotches at all times, because the next crushing sword blow is just around the corner. Whether it’s an empty roll of wrapping paper, a dusty old broom, or grandma’s cane, any roughly cylindrical object is a great makeshift sword that our sons can use to practice their Star Wars-inspired fencing skills.

11. Boys Are Artistic

When our sons are young, they wallpaper our homes with drawings and finger-painted masterpieces. As they grow, most boys stop churning out the art and turn to sports, girls, math, and science, but don’t let that fool you.

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Those doodles in his school notebook and the mushy poems he writes to his girlfriend are your son’s way of letting you know that his creativity lives on. We need to nourish that artistic flame however we can and let our boys know that imagination is valuable, even as an adult.

12. Boys Do More Than Play Sports

As much as you might want to raise the next star quarterback or Wimbledon champ, some boys just don’t have any interest in sports. We can, and should, expose our sons to athletics, but it’s ultimately up to them if they want to play in the long term or not.

If they choose “not,” we need to support that decision and channel their energies in other directions.

13. Boys Blow Things Off

It doesn’t matter how responsible your son seems to be, there are important things he needs to get done right now that he’s not doing, and that you don’t even know about. That tattered and torn piece of paper your found in the dryer vent? That was his History assignment.

That call from the band director? Your son forgot to tell you that he had marching practice tonight. Boys just don’t get too excited by rules and boundaries, so stuff falls through the cracks all the time.

14. Boys Develop More Slowly Than Girls

From the time they are toddlers, the differences between boys and girls are on stark display. While girls are running around the living room, boys the same age are drooling down their chests, struggling to stand up. Many girls can read books before their preschool classmates can recognize individual letters.

Even later on, middle school girls are dating older boys while our teenage sons are watching cartoons and playing Minecraft. It doesn’t matter, though, because boys eventually do all of those things, and they still grow up way too fast. Enjoy the extended childhood while you can.

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15. Boys Figure Stuff Out

Sons frustrate us to no end when they can’t learn to tie their shoes or pour a glass of milk without splattering the kitchen floor. But if we let up on the gas a bit and give them time and room to work through issues on their own, boys will figure out just about anything.

How else can you explain that life-size replica of R2-D2 that your son built from spare Legos?

16. Boys Just Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Boys can be amazingly single-minded: your son might be able to describe in detail how to find a derivative in calculus, but he can’t tell you the name of the new friend he’s been eating lunch with all semester. What may be important to you is not necessarily important to him, and it’s pretty common for our sons to identify other kids with such witty nicknames as “blue shirt” or “green shoes.”

17. Boys Make You Feel Safe and Hopeful

If you’re having a bad day or feeling vulnerable about your life and the future, take a look at your growing son. He walks and talks and does amazing things every day. Most people may see a slouching kid who needs a haircut, but we see our boys for what they are: the fathers and husbands and leaders of tomorrow who will make the world better than we ever could.

Featured photo credit: Cristiano Betta via flickr.com

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Adam Hughes

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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