Learning to better communicate with boys

In a gymnasium full of parents, Dr. Adam Cox spoke on how to best connect and communicate with boys. In an event hosted by the Toronto French School’s Mississauga campus on Thursday, May 20, 2010, Dr. Cox explained that even though boys and girls are more similar then they are different, those small differences can have a big impact in how boys behave and learn. In Dr. Cox’s research, boys are mostly kinaesthetic learners and need physical contact and interaction in order to learn. He gave an example about how best to teach boys about gravity: throw a brick out the window and see it fall to the ground.

Ideally, we want to raise boys who have empathy. They should be able to reach out and reveal themselves to other people. Boys need to learn to express their emotions, learn how to handle their anger and how to communicate. A young boy is playing, talking to himself out loud, is a good thing because he is practicing how to communicate.

Many boys have an apprehension to communicate and most parents, explained Cox, ask them “How was your day?” and try to communicate at the kitchen table. Instead parents need to eliminate the vulnerability boys feel to help them open up. You have to earn their trust and make them confident; focus on interesting topics or subjects where a child feels like an expert. Maintain a matter-of-fact tone so that the emotion from your voice is removed. And avoid eye contact and make conversation a background to another activity. Dr. Cox said that some of the best conversations with boys will happen while driving in the car or playing catch, creating a safe environment for boys to communicate.

Dr. Cox is the author of No Mind Left Behind and Boys of Few Words. He has a private practice based in Rhode Island and offers many articles about communicating with boys for free on his website www.dradamcox.com.

About David Field

David Field is a past editor of Our Kids, and has helped hundred of parents by providing advice about choosing and paying for private school. David is currently a financial advisor with WSC Insurance Group in Oakville, Ontario.

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