Rosalind Wiseman on How to Talk with Boys

Rosalind Wiseman’s work is based on the belief that young people’s experiences are important, but often discounted.

Adults, she says, frequently give young people advice without listening to them first.

Boys often tune out adult’s well-meaning messages because we fail to recognize that they are the subject matter experts of their own lives. However, if you respect their experiences and listen to their concerns, boys will work with you.

Wiseman says that parents and teachers who want to communicate more effectively with boys should:

  1. Stop freaking out. Don’t let anxiety drive your interactions with boys.
  2. Stop making assumptions about boys. Ask, don’t lecture.

In this episode, Wiseman answers some tough questions from parents, and drops wisdom that’s sure to change your approach to (and relationship with) the boys in your life.

In this episode,  Janet & Rosalind discuss:
  • Why most social-emotional learning experiences alienate boys — and why it’s so important to consider boys’ needs as we create programs to teach them character development, empathy & kindness
  • How parents can more effectively listen to boys
  • Why overwhelming boys with questions is exactly the wrong thing to do
  • The importance of simply showing affection to your boys (vs. showering them with questions)
  • How moms’ intensity can cause boys to shut up or lash out
  • The hypocrisy of adults (Boys aren’t wrong when they call out adults as hypocritical and unfair!)
  • The tightrope boys walk: On some level and in some instances, males have privilege and power that amplifies their voices. But in other cases, boys’ voices aren’t respected.
  • Why there are no clear-cut answers to parenting dilemmas
  • The importance of acknowledging the fact that adults sometimes make things worse
  • How parents and teachers can partner with boys to help them solve tough problems
  • Why it’s so important to listen to and honor teen boys’ fear of being falsely accused of sexual assault
  • How to role-model apologies and healthy conflict resolution
  • How to cope with boys’ anger (Pro tip: Ask him what he needs, and let him walk away)
Links we mentioned (or should have) in Episode 151: – organization founded by Rosalind Wiseman. Works with communities to shift the way we think about young people’s physical and emotional well-being

Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World, by Rosalind Wiseman

Masterminds & Wingmen — BuildingBoys’ review of Wiseman’s book

Q & A w Rosalind Wiseman, Author of Masterminds & Wingmen — 2013 BuildingBoys post

Owning Up curriculum — Wiseman-developed curriculum created in collaboration with children and teens. Designed to help kids deal with bullying, harassment, racism, gossip, media and self-image

Creating Culture’s of Dignity – Wiseman’s speech discussing adult & child/teen perceptions of “respect”