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Raising Healthy Sons: Set and Enforce the Rules

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Dr. Meg Meeker

Every boy possesses a moral code from the time he is very young. He looks to you—Mom and Dad—to help him adhere to that code. He knows that hitting a kindergarten classmate is wrong, or that yelling at his teacher in junior high is off limits. But as he matures, he needs your help in learning to control his behavior because when he exercises self control, he feels better about himself and about life. When a boy lives with too few rules, he feels lost and emotionally thrown off balance.

Set Ground Rules for Screen Time

When it comes to television, computers and video games, you need to act as a diligent and fastidious filter for him. You need to set ground rules. Why? Because boys are more naturally drawn to television and games than girls are. Remember, boys are visual creatures and they become hooked quite easily to games, the Internet and television.

So be sure to do him a favor and keep computers and games in communal places. No laptops in the bedroom. There are many influences you can’t prevent, but you can certainly control what comes into your home, and how things are used there.

Remember, watching violence, sex, and demeaning conversations in media won’t make him happier. And it most certainly won’t help him become a better person. In fact, numerous studies show that watching violence leads to more aggressive behavior in boys.

Teaching your son restraint, by setting clear boundaries when he is young, will boost his self esteem because they let him know that you care and they also help him learn how to internalize control as he matures. And learning self control is vital to healthy psychological development

So, limit television, games, and electronic entertainment as part of your boundary setting. And then remember to replace that extra time with activities the two of you can do together.

Because regardless of his age—yes, even when he is a teenager— he doesn’t need more of anything, except you.

This post is adapted from Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons

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