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Goal Setting Toolkit for Boys

Goalkit

What Boys and Men Aren’t Saying About Suicide

men

From the time they can speak, boys have been conditioned to believe that it is abnormal for them to cry or share their pain.  Some internalize the anger, frustration, depression until they feel that the only escape is suicide. Boys and men aren’t always willing to talk about what’t hurting them emotionally or mentally and as a result doon’t often share thoughts of suicide.

On Thursday, Chris Lighty, a manager who changed the scope of hip hop and advertising died of an apparent suicide. Details are still coming in but it appears he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

I’m from the hip hop generation that remembers Lighty when he was grinding to make it big. It’s always nice to see when someone works hard and the efforts pay off. Those who are close to Lighty  are shocked that he would take his own life. The problem is we often don’t look deep enough to see what lies beneath a smiling face. We don’t question vague or general statements people make about “Life being hard.” Sometimes we miss the signs that someone is in distress or pain.

The signs are harder to detect in boys and men because they are not conditioned to share their thoughts or feelings. The thoughts of suicide can be recurring in a boy or man’s life. Unfortunately, sometimes when we realize that a loved one may need help, it’s too late.

Statistically:

Men are nearly 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women.

Suicides rate is surging among America’s troops, averaging nearly one a day in 2012

Boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide. Of the reported
suicides in the 10 to 24 age group, 81% of the deaths were males.

So what should we do as parents, spouses, partners, and friends?

We need to look closely at the signs. We need to pay attention to little details that indicate something is askew.  The American Association of Suicidology has a resource for identifying warning signs. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day.

Most importantly, we need to bring awareness to the mental health needs of boys and men.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

GapKids Shine On Event in NYC

This post is sponsored by GapKids. Check out all the fun Shine On activities at your nearest Gap store. For event dates and locations, visit Gap’s Facebook page and join the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #ShineOn.

Hey NYC parents, GapKids wants you to unleash your inner artist and show your creativity. This Saturday, August 25th, stop by GapKids on 17th Street and 5th Avenue between 10:00am and 1:00pm for series of special art projects by Merrilee Liddiard of Mer Mag.

These Shine On Saturday events will only take place in select gap stores, so make sure you check out the one tomorrow!

Just in time for back to school, you'll see beautiful geometric masterpieces on canvas using paint and tape to
colorful and custom journals to get kids ready for back-to-school.

I hope you can make it to this event and have some fun with your kids. This video shows you all the details of the great event. Please bring your kids and have some fun!

 


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

You Can’t Buy Quality Time

Time

Time oh give me time!

Our supply of time is a daily miracle. You wake up in the morning, and your life is filled with twenty-four hours. No one can take it from you. No one receives either more or less than you receive. You decide how to spend your time.

Our daily lives are inundated with a crammed to-do list. We are often rushing throughout our day trying to keep up with ourselves. Although technology has improved and simplified our lives, we are as pressed for time as past generations. We hurry through life, slowing down just to consume our free time with fillers such as television or social media. If you feel like you do not have the time to do the things that bring you joy, then you need to examine what is holding you back from managing your time better.

You can not get into debt of time, you can only waste the passing moment. No matter how you try to stretch it or change it, there will always be only 24 hours in a day. Time can not be hoarded. Before you can start to focus on how to get more out of your day, you need to be clear on how to use your time more efficiently. Your problem isn’t "not enough time". It can’t be, because all the time you experience is the time that you create. You create all the time that you experience.

When you feel that you do not have enough time, have a look at what is happening. Every second something big passes by: YOUR LIFE. Your happiness and fulfillment in life is determined by how quick you are to recognize the things you need to change, and how quick you are to act upon them. We worry more about how to make money instead of how to use our time wisely. Time is more valuable than money. Although money can buy you many things, it can not buy you more time.

Can We Stop Boys From Violent Play?

 

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Flickr

 

Give a boy a carrot and he'll find a way to stick you up with it. This article from Live Science.com Battling the Boys: Educators Grapple with Violent Play confronts a controversial issue amongst educators and parents. Does allowing boys to engage in violent play create more harm? I don't think it has to do with boys being exposed to violent images. Even though we did not buy our son any violent toys and he was not exposed to violent images, I could remember him holding his Teletubby as hostage.

I believe that boys by nature enjoy engaging in role playing games that may be construed as violent.  Even if you give a boy toddler a rubber duck or teddy bear, chances are you will see him playing rough with the toy.

As moms of boys, we start to get nervous when we see our sons engaging in any kind of play we deem to be violent. We run to intervene when roughhousing appears to get out of hand. Yes, we need to be cautious and pay attention, but we shouldn't assume that all boys play violent games or that playing violent games will make a boy violent later on in life.

If we start to discourage boys from playing games that make us uncomfortable, we start to stifle their imagination. I do agree with the author that some female teachers and mothers who did not grow up playing with boys may fear that violent play may lead to violent behavior later in life. We have to accept that all boys  are not the same. Some are more aggressive  than others. We can help direct their behavior in a more positive direction, but we can't force them to change.

Do you believe that allowing boys to engage in so called violent play leads to them being desensitized to violence as adults?

Stuff for Boys Product Review

As a mom of a toddler and a teen, I am always on the lookout for what’s cool, fun and exciting for boys. My teenage son and I are ready to review your awesome product/service for boys. If  you have a product for boys age 0-18, we are here to check out your product and let our moms of boys community know about it.

If you are interested in having your product/service reviewed, please complete the form below.

Please note: Do not send products that you would like returned.

 

Do You Trust Your Instincts?

When it comes to parenting, do you trust that inner voice that warns you when something is wrong?

 

When have you trusted or not trusted your instincts? What were the results?

Stop Attracting Drama into Your Life!

Do bad things seem to always happen to you? Do you attract unstable or difficult people and situations? Yes, we all face problems in life, but if this is consistent for you, maybe it’s time to look at what you are attracting to your life. If you don’t feel right unless there is some crisis or unforeseen circumstance in your life, maybe it’s time to shift your focus. You will always have these situations in your life if you are always thinking, worrying or talking about them.

You're setting yourself up for disappointment if you have unrealistic expectations of people. Be real about what people can and can not do. Don’t expect people to live up to your dreams. Don’t expect more than people can deliver. If you have idealized expectations on what your life should be like, you will be dissatisfied with the outcome.

Life wasn't meant to be lived in misery, contempt, anger and resentment, so let go of what's not working for you.

Free Get Bully SavvyWebinar -How to Empower and Protect Your Child From Bullying

 

We all know that bullying is something that can be traumatic for children.  Being bullied constantly affects your child’s grades, social, emotional and mental well-being.  The physical and emotional consequences of bullying results in devastating long-term effects that impacts your child’s self-esteem.

In honor of National Stop Bullying Month, on Thursday, 10/27 at 8:00pm EST, please join Raising Great Men.com and our guest Brenda High, writer of the successful “Bullycide in America: Moms Speak out About the Bullying/Suicide Connection” and Founder and Co-Director of Bully Police USA for a free webinar.

Please visit Get Bully Savvy for more info.

Is Your Relationship Hurting Your Son?

In order for boys to develop social and emotional skills, the adults in their lives need to demonstrate healthy relationships.  If your son is witnessing disrespect, emotional and verbal abuse, he is not learning how to effectively deal with conflicts. If you are exposing your son to an unhealthy relationship, you may be setting him up to continue the cycle. The following are steps you can take to strengthen your relationship.

Create Time To Share And Time On Your Own.

Establish time to spend together and time for yourself. Although you need the time together to nurture your relationship, it is important to have a good balance. Make sure your couple time is about quality, not quantity. Set up boundaries so the family and friends know that this is your sacred time. Now, it’s time to shift focus on you. Having shared perspectives and similar interests does not mean that you have to participate in all activities together. Creating personal time for yourself is important for your personal growth. However, don’t use personal space as an excuse to not make time for each other. It is imperative that you articulate to each other the need for this time, so that no one feels neglected.

Be Patient with Each Other

No one is perfect. It is important that you accept and love each other, quirks and all. Your relationship is a shared territory. It requires love, work and patience There is a learning curve in relationships and for some the learning never stop. There is a difference in how the two of you relate, interact and live. You come to realize each others’ strengths and weaknesses. View each other’s abilities and personality as a gift. Be more flexible in your viewpoints. Work on win/win methods, so that no one has to lose. It’s more important to understand and value each other’s viewpoint, rather than trying to agree or disagree with it.

Respect Each Other

Respect each other’s values. Respect each other’s time. Respect each other’s space. Respect each other’s privacy. Respect each other’s weaknesses. Respect each other’s point of view. Respect each other’s faith. Respect each other’s friends and family. Respect each other’s job or career. Respect each other’s culture. Respect each other’s sense of humor. Respect each other’s character. Respect each other’s choices.

Highlight What’s Right

Highlighting what’s right builds up, rather than tears down. Constant criticism diminishes self-esteem. This is why verbal and emotional abuse can be so damaging. No one wants to start or end their day with a laundry list of complaints. Take time to appreciate what’s going right in the relationship. Make it a habit of complimenting each other on something besides physical appearance. Build up each other’s confidence .Point out noteworthy or small tokens of appreciation. Take the time to show gratitude. When people feel good, they want to share that feeling with others.

Listen

If we spoke less and listened more, it would eliminate many of our communication problems. However, we are conditioned to listen with the intent to respond. When was the last time you listened attentively? Do you listen and then try to solve a problem? Do you listen and then offer advice? Do you listen and then criticize or belittle? Do you listen and then self-reference? When you listen, it builds trust. Your significant other feels understood and will share more with you over time.

Let Go Of Emotional Baggage

It’s time to unpack your emotional baggage. You can not undo the past. Bringing past pain into a present relationship is like mixing dirty clothes with laundered clothes. The old emotions need to be resolved before you can be yourself in your current relationship. Emotional baggage contributes to insecurities, poor judgment, cynicism and indecisiveness. Trying to protect your feelings will hinder your freedom and growth. Think about why you continue to allow yourself to suffer with this pain? Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you carrying around resentment and guilt? If the pain is too unbearable, seek professional help together or alone.

What other ways could you improve your relatiopnship?