Raising young boys | 032

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About this Episode

Brett and Ellen delve into the unique challenges and rewarding aspects of raising young boys. They discuss the importance of nurturing emotional intelligence, breaking traditional stereotypes, and the distinct differences in learning and development between boys and girls. This episode also covers practical tips for parents to help their sons succeed both academically and personally.

🎧 Tune into this episode on Apple Podcasts here. 

Key Points:

  • Emotional Intelligence: Nurturing emotional intelligence and breaking stereotypes.
  • Stereotypes and Challenges: Overcoming traditional male stereotypes in upbringing.
  • Practical Parenting Tips: Strategies for improving communication with boys.
  • Academic Considerations: Differences in academic readiness and learning styles.
  • Behaviour and Discipline: Setting clear expectations and providing structure.
  • Gender Roles and Responsibilities: Discussing roles of mothers and fathers in raising boys.
  • Importance of Play: Integrating physical activities and play into routines.

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🎧 Tune into this episode on Apple Podcasts here. 

transcript

Brett (00:00)
Hello and welcome to another episode of Future Learners. I’m your host, Brett Campbell, chairman and CEO of Euka Future Learning. And I’m joined by my amazing host as co -host as always, the one and only, the most beautiful, Ellen Brown, our founder and also our head of education. How are you, Ellen?

Ellen (00:18)
I’m always great after an introduction like that Brett, thanks very much.

Brett (00:23)
Well, you, you, you earned every word of it, Ellen, you earned every word of it. so today we’re talking about a specific topic that, these are the type of topics that I, I believe we could probably sit here and do a six hour podcast and myself, I wouldn’t get bored of it because of the actual, I think the, not just specifically the topic, but the outcome of said topic, I think is, is the really important part. and we have done a version.

Ellen (00:26)
you

Brett (00:52)
of this in previous episodes. And that podcast was all about raising young girls. And, Elen, you put this topic on the table today and, and, it is the opposite of that. It is raising young boys. Whilst there’s many, many similarities, there’s also many, many differences that we will be able to unravel and, and peel back the layer of the onion today as we sort of get stuck into this.

But before we do get into the show, once again, thank you for tuning in, listening, leaving us reviews. If you’ve done that, you get 27 points. If you left us a five star review, you get a bonus six points on top of that. And if you leave us a comment, a nice comment, I’ll give you 344 points. So if you want to get in the points, please go and do all those cool things that you can do, share these videos. But all jokes aside, if you do get value from anything that myself and Ellen.

Share and talk about on this show, we would really, really appreciate it if you could share an episode or even the show itself with any one that you think would also get benefit from these conversations. That is what we’re trying to do here is open up and start conversations. Now we’re not here to solve the Rubik’s Cube of life, although that would be an amazing thing to try and solve. I don’t think you’d ever solve it to be fair. So we’d never have run out of topics to talk about then, but

Ellen I want to get into this conversation with you. We both come from very different angles or not even angles I think we both come to it from very different life circumstances, which I think is and again You’re a mother of several young boys and I am NOT But I am have been and still sometimes according to my wife act like a young boy So we’re gonna be able to give very different

outlooks and different viewpoints, which I think is great for conversation. So I’m going to hand to you, Ellen, and say, where would you like to start?

Ellen (02:57)
I’d really like to start by saying, you know, what we’re really wanting to do is empower parents in their role, you know, when they’re raising boys, like we did when we talked about raising girls and how we can be, you can be aware of some of the nuances about raising girls and this time about boys, because certainly there are some differences. Obviously, I want to say that there’s, it’s a blurry crossover. So, you know, you’ll have some girls that are needing some of this information too. So if you’ve only got girls, don’t be turned off that we’re talking about raising boys because it’ll be really helpful for you to understand it and you might even see some things that are helpful for you. But I guess we’re gonna start, like you said, I have four boys of my own and in many, many years of teaching, I certainly had plenty of boys in the classroom and that has, even though I’m not a boy, it gives me some insight into some of the things that I have done, both as a parent and as a teacher in helping.

Young boys develop and be the best that I can support and help them to be. So maybe the first place to start is part of the topic I’ve got written here is understanding and nurturing emotional intelligence because obviously there’s stereotypes around being a boy or being a man and that’s something that I think in this generation young parents are starting to look at how can we break those stereotypes. What would you like to say to that Brett?

Brett (04:26)
there’s a big, big piece to unpack there. We’ve, we’ve actually done episodes on emotional intelligence where we’ve deep dived into emotional intelligence because before we can, we can talk to emotional intelligence. We need to unpack what it is. Right. And that’s that ability to have self awareness, self regulation, empathy, and so on and so forth. So a number of elements that unpack there. What I, what I’d like to, to preface by saying is that I truly do believe that

We are a framework of our environment and our upbringing in many ways. you can have two people. I mean, I, I even look at, and I go back through, through time and, and myself and, and other friends that I had at a younger age. yeah, you could say we’re a proxy, a proxy of a very similar environment and upbringing, but as we’ve grown older, we’ve taken different paths and that’s absolutely.

Okay. And that is what it is in many cases. And sometimes I don’t really like that. It is what it is situation. Cause it’s almost like a get out of jail free card. But again, I’m a massive believer in things happen, because they’re supposed to happen and there’s no other way to un -reconcile it. Cause it actually did happen. Right? So if it happens, it happened for an exact reason. You don’t need to know what that is, but what I will say is the development of anyone. and I’ll, and I’ll again.

Double tap on this just for a real quick one is I’m looking at this through the lens of myself as a very young, young boy. I was put in, I was in an environment where at a very, very young age, I took it upon myself to try and become the man of the family. So, you know, I, my mom, my sister and myself, we separated from my father when I was four years old due to a pretty horrific circumstance. And

I grew up without that immediate role model male in my life. So my entire life was as a kid was trying to search for that, who is that role model? And I quickly realized that I again, burdened myself by saying, well, I don’t need anyone and I’ll figure this out. And that’s sort of the blessing and a curse for me as I’ve sort of grown up. So I’m sharing this through that lens of I… wasn’t given the silver spoon and anything I wanted in my life. If I’ve had to go out and get it, I’ve had to work for it. And I quickly realized if you want to get things, you have to act a certain way. And you have to, yeah, as I sort of grew up, it was, I had that uncanny ability to be able to, when I was 16, 17, I was able to talk to 40, 45 year olds, 50 year olds, and also 10 year olds and 17 year olds and be able to relate. Cause I quickly realised that in order for me to achieve what I was wanting to achieve in life at that stage, which again was a proxy of my environment, I had to learn these sort of tools on the fly. And as I became a young man and I had that, what I would call my first early midlife crisis of who am I? What am I here for? What was my reason for existing? As I believe a lot of young men go through. And that was my quest on to… find out those answers to the question, which led me down self -discovery, which led me down learning and wanting to understand answers to certain questions that I had. So I was a very self -exploratory person. And I just wanted to frame that because even to this day, I’m 41 years old, young, 41 years young, that’s what I should be saying. 41 years old, and I am still searching to.

How can I be a better man? Even to the point where, and I’ll recommend this book. It’s a pretty tough book, but it’s called El Descreto and it’s called The Complete Man. And it’s a book actually based in 1646. It was written by a Spanish author, Baltazar Gracian. And it was the philosophy even back then, you look at this in 1664, the philosophies on what it means to be a great man. I mean, I look at all this, the book’s broken up into 25 different segments.

And you look at the chapters and I read it here today sitting at 2024 and not a lot has changed. When you read it, I can fundamentally agree with all of these positions on what it means to be a complete man. Now I share that because this is the big predicate to it all is you’re not going to be able to listen to a podcast or you’re not going to be able to watch it documentary or read a single book and all of a sudden, you’re a great man or you’re a great woman or whatever the theme may be, you have to work at it, right? And it’s exposure to certain ways of thinking, which is the unlock for, I believe, our children as they’re growing older. So we’ve talked about this again.

And we will continue talking about this point is value systems and how you set up your family for success is really an absolute predicate to success as you are raising young boys. So that was a long non -answer to your actual initial question though, Alan. But I wanted to pre -preface that by saying that is the viewpoint in which I look at this. Cause you can hear me talking about my points of view.

And if you don’t have a specific point of view, sometimes people can latch onto a point of view and take it on as their own. But you haven’t been exposed to the line of thinking of how I arrived at that point of view. Right. So that’s something that I really wanted to make sure that I stated from the start. So I talked that much, Ellen, that I forgot what your initial question even was.

Ellen (10:30)
I had a feeling that might happen actually. So we were talking about the importance of breaking stereotypes, that whole, you know, you’re a man, suck it up, you don’t need, like you were saying, you don’t need anybody else to talk to about something, you can handle this and work it out for yourself. So I guess, you know, on a practical side, as a parent on a practical side, I’ve always been an advocate of talking about things from when they’re very young.

Brett (10:32)
Hahaha

Yeah, yeah

Ellen (10:58)
to help them understand that that’s actually quite natural. So that when they do come into a time, and I find that interesting, they come into those teenage years. And the funny thing is that you might’ve got it really, you’re thinking to yourself, I am honestly a winner. Look at me, my boys and I were talking, we can talk about it. They hit teenagerhood and all of a sudden the conversations are a little bit less or a lot less depending on the boy. And so I feel like… putting that work in when they’re young to say, you know, we can talk about it. You can get upset about something and then helping them to learn how to deal with those emotions in a reasonable and right way, because they deal with them quite differently to girls in my experience. And then understanding that when you get to those teen years and the conversations are a bit less, they share a little bit less about what’s going on in their personal lives.

That you’ve built a foundation there so that when something really important needs to be talked about or there isn’t emotional, they will come at that point because you’ve set that groundwork while they’re young. I would just say that I think, you know, it’s obviously wonderful if boys have got a dad in the house and dad is the one who can say, gee, I feel upset about saying and sharing that way. That’s absolutely ideal. And as a single mum, it’s been it’s been something I’ve been very conscious about not raising boys in this in in a way that I they’re just they’re needing to be able to say okay this is how I’m feeling this is what I’m seeing this is what’s happening and then you need them to do to develop some toughness about whether you’re a boy or a girl develop some toughness and and say okay how can I learn from that how can I move forward in a in a really practical way I suppose so yes so breaking the stereotype that’s what I was talking about

Brett (12:35)
Yep. Yep.

Yeah. But I think the first thing before we break a stereotype, we need to identify what is the stereotype and what are we actually aiming towards? Right. So I was just mentioning the book there called the complete man. and that is in essence, you know, what the belief around, how do you become a complete man? Now there’s a, what’s the definition of a complete man, right. As well. So we can go down those rabbit holes, but I think the starting point is what are we trying to aim to achieve?

Right? Like we’re raising our daughters, we’re raising our sons. And it’s like, what does success look like? I think that’s the first parameter. Like we need to go, what does success look like? So when my son is, you know, 17, 18, 16, 17, 18, and they’re ready to, to move out of home or embark on that next quest of life to again, go and figure it out themselves. Cause there’s, there’s only so much sheltering you can do for your child, which I think is in essence.

If you haven’t pre -thought about that, then you do shelter your children. A lot of people do shelter their children in many ways and not prepare them for the big wide world. And I look at parenting as we are in preparation to prepare my children for when they do depart or leave the nest, so to speak. Right. I had friends and it was quite interesting because as I was growing up, I don’t.

I despise some of the things that my mother would make me do only because I had friends where their mothers would do it. Like I had a friend, I’d go and stay at his house and literally we’d walk inside and just like sit on the couch and his mom would be like, do you guys want any food? And this was when we were like 17, 18 and we were in our first jobs. Like we were working and we’re earning a couple hundred dollars a week, you know? And so we were out there. We weren’t children anymore. We would sit down and

And she’d be cooking food and then she’d be doing their laundry and she’d be folding up his laundry. And then we go into his room and I’m like, where’s your laundry? It goes, my mom put it away. And I was just like, gobsmacked. I was like, your mom even puts it away for you. Like, what do you even do? Like, I was just shocked because my mom would wash our clothes, but it was up to me to, you know, to put it away and put it in my drawers. And, and in my head, I’m like, man, why can’t you do that? But in essence, right.

It did not prepare my mate well for when he moved out of home, because he didn’t know how to do anything. I didn’t know how to take care of himself. It was literally, Hey, mom, can you come around? I’m like, my goodness. But the point there is, I think what we need to do first and foremost is try and set ourselves up for going, what are we trying to prepare for here? Okay. And what does it mean? Like if I was to come over to your house and I was to observe your, you know, your, your son,

What would, what are the things that you would like to occur? Like what behaviors would you like your son to have? Would you like your son to say, hello, Mr. Campbell, or, you know, how are you today? Would you like them to interact? Would you like them to say hello? Would you like them to sit there on their game right next to you while you do like what type of environment would you like to create? And that’s really the starting point. Cause at the end of the day, everyone, most people, most parents can differ quite a lot in the way that they want to you know, have their environment. And that’s totally cool. As long as you’re aware of that is what it is for you. Right. But there are some core fundamental talking points that I think it just should be generic through every single family. Right. I’m happy we can we can break those down as well. But when it comes to these stereotypes is it’s a double-edged sword sometimes because and it comes down to how prepared your child is to be able to handle the narrative. And I’ll give you an example, meaning when I went into the workforce, circa 25 years ago, I was bullied at work by my boss. And it emotionally took me by surprise because I was like, why are you bullying me? Like, I’m not a bad person. I’m trying my best to do the work here. And I’m actually feel like I’m doing really good.

but it was sort of, that was just the nature of it. However, I took that and I flipped that on its head. And, you know, again, I’m the person who will always try and make lemonade. Yeah. What was it saying? I’ll make lemonade. Make lemonade out of lemons. That’s where I was going. So I make lemonade out of lemons, right? And I said that because I literally used to make lemonade and sell it. But anyway, so.

I would always see it from the positive sense. And that’s actually been one of my biggest blessings because that taught me how I was never going to be as a leader in an organization, which is the frame in which I look at how, you know, how I work with anyone in this day and age. So not all people though, are capable of taking that bullying instance and flipping it on to be a positive. Right. I feel those are some things that, that I believe

Ellen (17:55)
No, you… Yeah.

Brett (18:07)
There’s an innate, right? There’s an innate ability that we all naturally have. Some have more of it, some have less of it. And if you’ve identified that your child doesn’t have, how would I frame it? Have that natural bounce back and they are affected. Like you could say something mean to me and I might cry, I might’ve cried about it, but then in an hour I’m like back on and you could tell it didn’t affect me. But.

If your child does get heavily affected by those certain things, then that’s the attention. So that’s the siren going off to go, Hey, we need to apply these things differently because the whole stereotype of men can’t talk. You shouldn’t speak. It’s weak to speak. All of those things, it’s become a massive, massive problem in this day and age. I was literally looking at the study a couple of weeks ago with teenagers age 15 to 24, there’s a 510 % increase in anxiety in young men from 2010 to 2020. Well, that’s a massive and lots of it is built upon the inability to speak and not wanting to speak because you have to be strong and you have to be this. Now, I believe men should be strong, right?

But being strong again, you have to define what strong means. I cry, I cry, I cry quite a lot. It’s a great expressive emotion to be able to do it, right? It doesn’t mean you’re weak, but before I go down again, a couple of other avenues here, I think the key to all of what we’re talking about here is really establishing a starting point, right? And we really need to see what the effect of said something is, cause you can.

Say something to a child and go, stop being a sook, get up and do it. And that might be something, okay, now you’re right. But if you keep saying that and it’s more of a degrading insult, it’s just, you might need to change your tact because not all people can be communicated to in the same way.

Ellen (20:20)
Yeah, I saw this firsthand actually when I was teaching, I was teaching at a school for kids that had been permanently expelled from the public school system and they were really about to move into juvenile justice. And these were kids, these were not high school kids. Some of these kids are still in the early, in the later primary school age. And I was a new teacher and thought, I’ll do something lovely with these boys. I was in charge of the boys.

I was in charge of behavior management. I think that’s because I was the newest teacher and someone had to be in charge of it. So they gave it to me. So I thought I would look, you know what, I’ll take the boys down the oval. We didn’t have a playground. I’ll take them down the oval and we’ll play hockey. It didn’t occur to me that I was giving every child a weapon and we’d go down the oval and it was an all in brawl. And it started really between two key kids. And you know, there was, they’re all armed, you know.

And but these kids were about probably about 11 years old these boys all boys about 11 or 12 years old anyway. I could I quickly saw and it was often the same boy who was instigator of things and and I but I I grabbed the one I thought I grabbed the right one and I’m holding from behind I’m holding around so they could stop hitting where then he gets hit I realize I’m holding the kid that’s getting hit so quickly grab the other one.

And we walked away around the corner, everything kind of lulled, another teacher ran from another part of the oval and everything sort of settled down. I took him around the corner. Soon as we got around the corner and he’s, you know, swearing and carrying on, he’s pretending like he’s trying to get away, but he’s not. We get around the corner, he bursts into tears, like, and I saw this young boy, you know, he was just a kid. And I realized at that point, you know, this exterior, this feeling already at that age.

Brett (22:08)
Hmm.

Ellen Brown (22:13)
of we’re supposed to be tough and we’re supposed to be defending, we’re supposed to be, and it was so ingrained in him where when he did not, when he was taken away from that atmosphere and he had the opportunity to just be a kid and be a person and talk it through, like honestly, working with that boy and seeing the transformation when he started to realize his power in listening, this power in sharing and talking, and you don’t have to hit to be powerful was a really,

big lesson that I learned about stereotypes and how in some, like you said, it’s the way you’re raised, but then getting to the point in your life, it doesn’t matter what age your boys are getting to, they can get to the point where they can start to see there’s power in listening and talking and sharing, then, you know, it doesn’t matter what’s come before, to see that transformation can come. And the other thing that I jumped on, I thought about when you thought about, you were talking about your friend and the mom and…

Brett (22:47)
Mm.

Yeah.

Ellen (23:12)
Honestly, if I followed my heart, I’d be that person, you know? I’d be, here’s your socks. That would be me all over, because I’ve got that natural nurturing. But I actually feel a real responsibility to my future daughters -in -law. Like I keep thinking to myself, one day we’re gonna have Christmas and there’s gonna be five daughters -in -law, four daughters -in -law sitting around.

And they’re going to be like, at least he can cook and he can clean. I call them the bachelor arts. You know, they have to be able to cook. They do all their own washing, even from young. I teach them. They know how to put the water in because I really feel like they know they’re part of a family. We’re all working together. We’re doing our thing, but it makes for harmony. And so as a parent, I have to go against my natural desire to nurture and be, I mean, still nurturing, but I know that there, there is importance in them learning some of these skills so that yes they could be out and doing their own thing but one day they’re going to be part of a family themselves. I want to raise great men that it will be great husbands one day as well so something to keep in mind.

Brett (24:14)
Well, that right, that right there is the key to it all. It’s the, what are we trying to aim towards? What does success look like? It’s when you’re, you’re, and you don’t need to look at every decision you make every single day when your child’s young and go, this is going to affect them when they’re 24, 25, 26, et cetera. However, having your natural prism in the way you look at things through that lens, I think is very, very important because you know,

There’s lots of things in how I handle situations with Ayla, right? She’s three years old and I’ll, I want to give her everything. But I also realized that why am I wanting to give her everything? And it’s just because, when I was little, I didn’t get that. So why can’t I give it to her? So there’s always, there’s always a retraction back to some reason as to why you want to. And whether it’s you’re, you’re wanting to do all these things because that’s your validation of love. And that’s how you feel you’re getting love back.

because you’re doing all these things and that means they must like, there’s always a trickle on effect. If we reverse engineer it back to why am I doing that? Right. Versus, am I setting my child up for success? It’s like one of the rules in Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules for life is, and I’m, I don’t know it off the top of my head exactly, but it’s, it’s essentially, don’t allow your kid to grow up to be disliked by other adults. It’s, it’s in that vein. Right. And it, and it’s the,

You don’t want your kid to, and this is where it starts in the early years, you know, like discipline when they’re two and a half, three, four, five, and you’re not letting them get away with, with murder and, and you’re towing the line and that you’re built, you’re starting to build those value systems in your children in those very early years, because if you’re, as soon as your kid goes to stay at a friend’s house, I’ll tell you what, if they’re an asshole of a kid, they are not going to get an invite back again. Right.

I made such a big effort and I’m so glad my mom did this. A couple of really big things was manners. Always and you know, always say hello, Mr. And Mrs. And call them by the, don’t call them by their first name unless they give you permission to. Right. Take your shoes off. Always offer to do the dishes and clean up after yourself whenever you’re at anyone’s house after dinner. Don’t just sit on the couch and you know, like I’d step in my friend’s house, head sit on the couch and I’d go and ask his mom if she wanted help with the dishes and I’d help dry them.

Right? Guess who got invited back and even like, I was a pleasure to have stay. Right? So that was the, because for me it was, it was important to show that level of respect first. So make sure that we’re instilling, what we’re instilling here is not just, are they going to have a great wife or a husband when they’re older? It’s like, are they going to have friends? Like as someone else going to want to hang out with them. Right? Now there’s always a group and community for everyone, but it’s

Majority of people, if you instill really good, strong behaviors, you know, moral, a good moral compass, then everything else, you know, we can bump our, bump our knees and, and bruise our elbows as we sort of try and figure this out as parents, because it’s not easy, right? It’s super not easy. Like it’s, it’s, from my perspective, it’s actually one of the hardest endeavors. I think anyone will ever go on is to be a parent, right? In many ways, because, yeah, you, you are a starting point.

for the potential outcome of that child’s future. So I look at the breakdown of the nuclear family, right? The breakdown of like this, the fatherless homes and you look at that by, you know, divorce rates, you know, circa 50 % of people are getting married or getting divorced these days. Yeah. So there’s a massive conversation even within that, because I do believe every household, there are roles and responsibilities within every household.

I do believe that the mother has responsibilities in the household that the father doesn’t have. And I also believe the father has responsibilities that the mother doesn’t have and vice versa, right? There’s certain things that should be incorporated into. Like I believe it’s the male’s, the father’s role is to test the child’s physical ability and, and play, do that rough and tumble. And that starts at the very early ages, you know,

rough and tumble and be that sort of physical barrier and push them to their limits to show them what they can and can’t do, et cetera, et cetera. Right. And the mother is generally the more nurturing side of that. And that’s the, because I guarantee you, anytime your child’s sick, they’re not running, generally would not be running to dad. They’re going to mom because the mom is the heart. Now it doesn’t mean dad doesn’t have a heart, but we’re biologically wired this way. There’s a reason why females are actually having the child itself and

Basically fathers remain useless for the first several, several weeks and, and months to start with in the very early years. But when I say fathers remain useless, I actually got a flip on that because I’ve got two friends right now. I’ve just had babies and the father’s like, what do I do? I said, I’ll tell you what you need to do. You need to support the mother. Like you’re there to support the mother, right? Through this not, you know, there’s yeah, you can’t breastfeed your child and you know, do all these things, but here’s the areas that you can. So.

I definitely feel that.

setting those sort of initial base standard philosophies is the most important part because it may be we’ll do a podcast about this, about like teenage, as we sort of transition from the teenage years to the young male years, because that’s a very different conversation as it relates to the school years. But yeah, the biggest thing I think that any family, and if I said, yeah, if you ask me, what’s the number one thing that

you could teach a young boy as they’re growing up, you know, through life to be successful. I can’t, I’ve got two answers because I can never go past learn how to communicate effectively, right? And learn how to build relationships. That’s primary. That’ll always be my number one answer. But sitting directly next to that is be respectful to women. Like that to me, like, and it doesn’t mean you like women are right.

all the time and you just bow down and yes, yes, yes, you show respect, right? You show respect and you value women. And again, we could open up that conversation, but that’s something that is, I think, unbelievably important and integral as a young boy is sort of evolving.

Ellen (30:51)
Yeah, I really think we should do a podcast around that at some point. I think that will be really very helpful. On the practical side, before we move away from that one on on to the next part, a practical side, I’d say, you know, and you mentioned communication is is definitely the first thing that you want to be able to say, you know, helping your kids helping your boys learn to communicate well. And one little practical tip that I have found is I have my first son, he would just sit, he would talk all day, he would talk in his sleep.

He would talk about everything. And then the next one was the total opposite to that and was quite a surprise because I’m so used to all the dialogue. So what I discovered with boys is often if they’re not natural talkers where they’re sitting and chat with you, talking while doing something was the key to opening up that dialogue. And it might even be when they’re little and they’re doing Lego and we’re chatting about something and we’re doing Lego. As a parent of growing up boys,

this 110 hours of L plate driving lessons has been invaluable as far as you know that communication that opportunity to chat and having it be real natural in a confined space at all but yeah helping your boys chatting and learning how to talk freely while they’re doing something is just a practical tip that I found as a mum has been really helpful with a boy that doesn’t naturally communicate you know as much.

Brett (31:53)
Mm.

Yeah, here’s a flip side to that. Let’s look at that for a second. Because once again, if we start with the preface that we are generally a proxy of our environment as sort of at one big indicator. Now, of course, there is the natural nature of someone. But again, I do believe there’s so much of a telltale sign how that’s directly correlated to our environment. Meaning, you just said your first son never stopped talking, your second son come along, he probably

didn’t have time to talk because the first song kept talking and did all the talking for everyone. Right? Like, and that generally you can look at that over, you know, going to a survey, thousands and thousands of families of two young boys with that age gap and you’ll quickly quite find that, yeah, that happened. Or then there are the needs to compete with the first one and they’ll probably try and talk more because they’re trying to get the attention or their way of connection.

Ellen (32:48)
It’s true, yes that’s true.

Hmm.

No.

Brett (33:10)
by a beating that versus, you know what? I’m not even going to compete with this. I’m actually just not going to talk and I’ll see if I get my fulfillment that way. Because again, you quickly find that through environments and how it’s been, and this is why it’s important as a parent to recognize that. Like don’t, I wouldn’t just sit there and go, nah, he’s just a quiet son. He doesn’t talk. So maybe he doesn’t talk in the whole family environment because there could be someone else doing all the talking, maybe even you, right?

So very, very important that we sort of, I think parents have inbuilt spotty senses, you know. Like if you allow yourself to step out and actually observe a situation, you’re like, you know, yeah, something that is a little bit, I’ve just put it down to this, or I just thought it was that, or I just thought that they don’t like doing this. You know, you’ll quickly find that there’s reasons. Like the amount of time someone go, no, I don’t like playing cricket, or I don’t like doing that. And you’re like,

Is that true or are they just don’t like doing it here with us or with this brother or that sister or this under these circumstances? Right, because we create protection mechanisms and as children, we don’t know how to articulate our thoughts and feelings very well. We’re trying to figure it out. And often when you don’t know how to articulate your thoughts and feelings, you don’t talk about it and you don’t share it. And it just becomes that internal sort of toxicity that then is occurring and it can

It can bleed itself out into physical nature, right? And into, you know, different diseases and different, circumstances that can arise from that by not allowing ourselves to be able to express. So this sort of ties back to your first point around that, that ability of stereotypes and empathy. It’s like, what can happen to that as a disclaimer is you can embark on this as, you know what? This is a great idea.

I’m going to let my son know that, Hey, you talk to me about anything and I’m here for you and tell me. And then every day you’re like, Hey, is there anything you need to talk about next day? Anything you need to talk about? Now you have all. Yeah. All intent purposes. You’re trying your absolute best to let them know that you’re here to communicate on this or that. And you might not be getting back what you need. I would suggest you rearrange the way in which you are potentially.

putting that out there for them to be able to reach out. Cause it could be under the circumstance in which you’re trying to extract as though there is something wrong. And if we’re, if we’re going, Hey, what is it? What is it? What is it? Is there anything then let them come in their own time and space to be able to have that dialogue. So they don’t feel like it’s a thing. Right? So there’s so much wrapped up in the way that we can communicate and, and could, should order communicate as well. But it all starts with us, the parent as always. and

As it relates to raising young men, I think once again, the most important thing that we can really do to start with, before you go and change the entire strategy is just be aware of how things are currently tracking. What areas would you like to improve if there was any? I’m sure there always is, but then how would you, how could you go about creating an environment where it was the natural thing to do, right, for your child?

Ellen (36:32)
All right, well, let’s leave that part behind and let’s actually talk about what homeschooling parents are thinking about. And that is the academic side of the differences in raising boys in an education. There’s a study that we had a look at here and it said that the bottom, here we are, boys comprise nearly two thirds of the bottom 10 % of students. And it really hits home when you look at say the European way of…

raising kids and educating. They don’t even start kids on reading until seven years old, you know, over in Finland, they don’t even begin that process. And I know that girls, they just seem to have a readiness about them. It suits them to sit to be creative in that way. And they’re on the whole, they’re very well suited to the whole classroom and the and the structured learning environment, whereas that doesn’t come so naturally to many boys and

One of the things that we see sometimes because daycare is so expensive, often what parents will think is if we can pop them into school, it’s way cheaper. So we’ll pop them in there at four instead of another whole year of daycare. Totally understandable. It’s really expensive. But don’t be surprised if by grade two, you have a boy that’s really anti -learning, that’s really developed these negative feelings about school. Happens around year two, grade two age where it starts to really bubble up.

Because very quickly school is so designed to be competitive that even in that first year of whether you call it prep or foundation or kindergarten, whatever you want to call it first year of formal learning, they start by saying here’s the first 10 words you need to know and the first two sounds you need to know next week they’re onto another 10 words and two sounds. You’ve got a boy say he’s four, he’s not even five yet. He’s not ready to start grasping that.

I can’t tell you how many parents I hear coming into homeschooling said my child’s failing at school so what grade are they in? Are they in foundation and they’re failing? I think what does that do to a young boy who’s just not ready to start taking on some of these concepts yet? So when it’s looking at academics and the way we approach the beginning of learning with boys I think that’s something we really need to talk about.

Brett (38:31)
you

Hmm.

Absolutely. And it is that it comes back to again, that’s where clear differences are like boys at four or five years old, just want to be playing. I went to high school. I’d go early or even at school. I’d turn up early so I could play touch football on the concrete court. Soon as the school bell went, ran into class, sweaty, soon as we got to our first interval break back out there on the football field, like

us boys just went to school to go and play football, but we had to go and do subjects in between, right? And, and that’s, that’s just by nature of bio, how we are biologically wired, right? We don’t need to go back to, to the caveman days of the mat that, you know, the, the boys are out there hunting with their fathers, you know, running around providing and, and again, this, this is where, you know, we’ve now been put into a society where we need to operate under certain ways. And to your point earlier around

certain stigmas and this is who you are and this is how you need to be in this, how you need to behave. yeah, again, we’ve talked about this a few times in this over the, the podcasters. I was absolutely that boy. I, I, all I wanted to do was get out of class. And I realized that maybe if I, cause I didn’t want to avoid the work, I actually enjoyed doing the work, but so I thought, well, maybe if I just do the work faster, then I can leave. And it’s like, no, then if I did the work fast, I have to sit there and wait.

And then that’s when I became more distracted because I’d be distracting everyone. And I just, you know, again, to the point where my desk got put out in the hallway and like, it was a running joke, but now I look back and I was like, my gosh, if I was only nurtured in some way or had an opportunity to be able to flourish in my way of learning, it would have been so I would love to have seen how that would have went. But back to the, to the point of knowing the differences between boys and girls as they are evolving.

through life, right? And I, I personally, yeah, I’ve probably read about, well, maybe three or four books so far, just on early development and young girls. Cause I’m just trying to, I’m trying to understand different things. So I can potentially be pre -prepared, you know, to the best of my ability, obviously you can only be as prepared as you can be. yeah. And again, I’m not looking at dot every I cross every T cause I also think there’s something beautiful.

in nature about something just occurring and you’re figuring it out in real time as well. maybe that’s the problem solver in me that loves that part, but knowing that there’s clear distinct differences and that, you know, yeah, your son most likely, highly, probably almost definitely does not want to sit at a desk for longer than 30 minutes, 60 minutes at a time before they moved onto something different. Like it’s just a, and knowing that, you know what?

This is actually naturally normal that this happens whilst we have been programmed to believe that we have to be locked in a classroom for a certain, well not locked, but yeah, I want to give the schooling system its dues, but we have to sit in this classroom until such time that you are able to now go out and do, almost like we’re in jail really, lunchtime, come back, the sirens on, back in the class.

that with the beautiful thing that we offer at Yuka especially is you do as a parent have that ability to create a bar grade learning environment that biologically suits your child better. I mean, that, that in itself is like, it’s an amazing leap forward and ability for that to happen. Now you also might have a son that just, he wants to sit there and read and go through the work and get stuck into whatever it is. And that’s absolutely cool as well.

This is where it comes down to being okay if they don’t fit your mold. Right? And what I mean by that is, so I’ll speak with Emily this morning, right? My wife and I’m like, what are you guys up to today? What do you got on? So, we’re going to go and do some crafts and this and that she goes, but I have to go here and buy this certain mat because Ayla makes such a big mess. I’m like, yeah, I bet she does. I mean, I’m surprised the house isn’t painted from head to toe to be fair. Cause

You know, stories I heard of myself when I was a kid, I’m like, okay, well it’s natural, but Emily likes to be nice and tidy and, and you know, this and that. And I’m like, just because you like to be that, that doesn’t mean that that is the parameter of how a three year old must exactly operate. Now, of course we could teach, Hey, tidy up after yourself. Hey, not a good idea to paint the wall. This is how we use the paint brushes. This is how we do this, et cetera, et cetera. But once again, is a lot of, I think frustrations from parents come.

from their child operating outside of their own way of what they would ideally wanna be operating themselves personally. And that’s not giving your child the fair advantage of setting them up for success. It’s like giving them your rule book to operate under when you need to almost create their own rule book of how they, again, tied closely back to your family values, et cetera, et cetera, all of those things.

very, very important.

Ellen (44:04)
Yeah, I would, I would say that that’s one of the things actually probably one of the drawcards for me when I stepped into homeschooling and that was because I did see that need for my boys to have a bit more flexibility in the pace of things. I think it’s really fascinating that when we have children, we get you know, the baby books and it’ll say between six and 12 months your child would expected to do such and such.

But then once they turn five, we say all children should be at school and during that time, this is the things they’re going to learn in their first year foundation. These are the first things they’re gonna learn. And there’s not that same flexibility. Very quickly, they start having streams in classrooms where these are the kids that are the slow learners and these are the kids that are faster. But they’re not, they’re on their own right pace. And so,

One of the things that I do love about homeschooling and one of the things that certainly we embrace in UKA is that your child has a pace of learning and move to that pace. And that means that when week one’s work comes to you and there’s sight words to learn, if your child hasn’t grasped those sight words, don’t move on to week two sight words. You might move on to other week two activities, but continue those sight words until they’re ready and they’re confident and then move on with that. It doesn’t matter if it takes.

Brett (44:57)
Mmm.

Ellen (45:26)
Nobody as an adult says, well, you know, I wasn’t really fluently reading until I was seven. You know, whereas in the school system, if you’re not reading by six, then obviously you’re going to need intervention and you’re going to need, but slow the pace down to suit your boys and making sure, like you said, that, you know, they have days or times of day where they do need to get out and they need to be using that, that you get in their adrenaline going and, and it might be a good 10 minute lesson.

and a half an hour play may achieve far more than a 30 minute lesson and a 10 minute play. So trust your instincts as a parent and don’t, once you step out of that mainstream school system, don’t try and recreate that at home. Have that freedom to say, well, you know what? He’s enjoying his science lesson. We’re gonna go the whole day. We’re not even gonna do maths today because we are just really engrossed in what we’re creating here in this ecosystem. Great. You know, all of a sudden,

Brett (46:23)
Yep.

Ellen (46:25)
you can be free to actually say I can make this work for my son rather than thinking I have to make him fit into the regime.

Brett (46:35)
There’s a good book called Atomic Habits and one of the, I mean, the title sorta talks to what it is about creating habits essentially. And one of the key concepts from the book is there’s a concept called habit stacking, right? And it’s the ability to be able to do sort of two things at the same time to sort of tick two boxes, right? An example might be, let’s say you…

you’re in bed and you forget to brush your teeth. You’re like, I haven’t brushed my teeth tonight. I’ll do it tomorrow morning. I forgot. I’ll do it tonight versus, you know what? A habit stacking would make you, okay, next time when you’re in the shower, cause there’s something you do every day and it’s have a shower, right? You shower every single night, no matter what, before you get in the bed and you should, and if you don’t, So you shower and you’re like, what I’m going to do now is I’m going to bring my toothbrush into the shower. So I’m going to brush my teeth whilst I shower.

So then you’re guaranteeing that you’re not going to forget to brush your teeth at any time. Right. Sort of habit stacking a really cool thing that you could implement there is especially with young boys is their physicality. They want to play games. They want to get out. They want to run. They want to kick a football. They want to swing a stick and do something you can create. You know, you, you talked about it there with words and English, whatever lesson you’re trying to learn, whether it’s mathematics or whether it’s English or anything, you can turn it into a game, right? You could literally.

turn it into a game and let them burn off some of that energy and utilize, you know, and I used to teach a lot of young kids football. And then I’d, in my early days of, of, being a fitness trainer, I would go and teach at schools and run sort of like fitness classes, at the same time. And I’d play games and I’d have numbers and I’d have this. And I mean, that, that was a, geez, that was a, a fun slash extremely.

funny, hard. We’re trying to trying to run 30 kids, I can see the teachers are walking the kids out going, whoo, I’m glad I don’t have to do this. But you can teach whilst you are still exerting energy and doing different things. And that that is the other component of it. Like you can have a kid run down, turn that cone over. What is it? Okay, it’s five apples. Okay, run back, turn this one. What’s that, etc, etc. You go all the way back and you can do memory games like this. There’s so much and again,

You know, we have so much of that obviously in our program. but it, it’s once again, for us to be able to distill the necessity of this is how you have to teach. And as I think one of the hardest things for parents as well is that we’re so used to, and we’re locked into this is how school is. This is how it’s always been for decades, even when I was at school. So I don’t want to change it because I don’t want to ruin my child. Don’t worry. You’re not going to ruin your child. Okay. You’re definitely not going to ruin your child.

If anything, you might open them up to it. You might find it in a brand new child in there or elements of a brand new child that’s been waiting to come out for some time because we’re finally able to tap into a modality that allows them to open up to a more authentic self. I think is the key.

Ellen (49:44)
Yeah, I think honouring those differences that we see in boys is really important and I think in the creation of our lessons, certainly in Yuka, we’ve been very thoughtful about making sure that every single lesson in there has a practical component because it…

overwhelmingly as boys that will say, but why do I need to know this? Like, I remember thinking it as a girl and thinking I’m not sure why I need green and this port in here and this is going to create. I just did it, you know, and it was look, it’s not a surprise. 72 % of all of all expulsions from school are boys, you know, and a big part of that is not connecting with the why am I here? Why am I doing this? Why is it even valuable? And so embracing the

Brett (50:28)
Yeah. Yep.

Ellen (50:32)
practical side of learning. If you’re, you know, like you were saying, yes, there’s the games, you know, and there’s an in our maths program, certainly full of games. But when they are learning new things, they’re learning something about science, it’ll always have a practical application in there as to why you need to know this about chemicals, where will you see this out in the real world?

and let’s go check that out and then come back and go, okay, well, that makes sense. I can see why I need to know that. Let’s get into the learning of it. And certainly helps boys to be able to focus on saying when they can actually see the reason why it’s worth knowing.

Brett (51:05)
And a little hack for, for parents out there who have children going, why, why, why, why? So something again, and this is sort of hot off the press that’s been sort of weeks in the making. So Ayla has gone into the why, why, but why, and the easiest reframe for that is why do you think you tell me why? And then she stops and thinks about it. Now, every time she says, why I look forward to it. Cause I’m like, well, you tell me so well, blah, blah. And, and that again, it, cause

If you don’t know how to communicate to your children, they could be coming to you as a sort of a bit of an, you think it’s being annoying because they’re like, why, why, why that could be an SOS to, Hey, I just really want to talk to you and engage with you and have a conversation. But the only reason, the only way I know how to do that is by saying why, because every time I say why you talk back. And so there’s, again, there’s lots of those, those, those nuances that sit beneath it or what we think they are trying to say.

is not necessarily always what they are trying to say. It’s the unheard words that we really want to try and pay attention to. But Alan, any final thoughts on this? We want to wrap this episode up. Like I said, we could talk about this for hours. I think we’ve only just sort of scratched the surface, but any final words as a mother of four young boys, what would you like to share with fellow parents out there?

Ellen (52:29)
look, more than anything, I think it’s about listening and taking your time to think through, you know, what they are doing, how they’re behaving, what they’re saying. There’s always a root cause to those things and not to be scared to think, okay, don’t use all their boys as an excuse for something that you don’t like, but do think through the fact that they do learn a bit differently, they do require things to be a bit more practical, a bit more hands on and

And often you just need to change the way you’re parenting to adapt so that you’re making sure you’re making the most of that fantastic opportunity of raising young men.

Brett (53:08)
There we go, you heard it here first. Okay, let’s wrap this one up. Thank you very much for tuning in. If you again have gotten any value from this episode of this conversation, please share this with a fellow parent who you believe may also get anything from it as well. Until the next one, thank you so much, Alan. Always enjoy these conversations. See you on the next one.

Before we stop, Ellen, we’ll just do a, put our hands up like, like you’re super stressed out. Cause we want to get it sort of a, a photo, a photo for the thumbnail. Like you’re like, put your, even pull your hair or diesel. Like, my God. Like, of course, of course the timing would do that. So just do something like that and they’ll be able to, the team will be able to take a screenshot of it.

Ellen (53:41)
Okay.

Okay.

What happened to my… hold on. No wait. Yep. Okay. I’ll just hold on one second. I’ll just turn it back.

Brett (54:05)
done mine. Of course the timing there would cut your camera out wouldn’t it?

Ellen (54:12)
Okay, I’m ready.

Brett (54:15)
Yep, alright, so just act super stressed.

Yep, that’ll work. Cool. Okay, perfect. Hopefully that comes through of quality because it’s not the greatest visual here, but that should come through on your end well. Okay, great. Let me just stop that.

Ellen (54:23)
Great. OK.