Raising Sensitive Boys

Ty’s 7th birthday was this past weekend and I feel like I want to capture this age and remember the ups and downs of the last year with our amazing son. I feel like time is slipping away and that life is changing with him at a rapid pace. I’m not sure if it is just him, or whether the changes in boys at age 6-7 are always this drastic. The moment our first son was born, we were hooked. He had our heart, our time, our energy, (our sex life) and there wasn’t a thing that we wouldn’t do for him. Seven years later, those things haven’t changed, but the son we thought would be our “easy” one has shown us just how amazingly complex and emotional he is. Ty had our full attention for almost 4 years and I don’t know whether these things would be happening if our life was not quite as crazy as it is. I often wonder if Ty craves attention because of his personality or because he has two little twin brothers who demand the spotlight. Is he aware that is brother with special needs is the one who can pull away his mommy and daddy at the slightest sound. Does he feel competition for the littlest member of our family who gets cheers and excitement for putting a cheerio in his mouth? In the last few months, we’ve seen issues with Ty in school. He has a new teacher this year (after two years with his fave) and is struggling to be himself and find his fit in the new class dynamics. We met with his teacher last week after the initial report…we were so sad, but not shocked to see that the comments were not the Ty we knew. Why was he not participating in class when he has sooo much to share? Why was he cutting corners on assignments when our son was so incredibly bright? During the meeting with his teacher, I felt it was necessary to tell her about our precious Ty. That his sensitivity was wonderful but also cause for self-doubt. He loved the spotlight, but retreated into books when he wasn’t acknowledged. I felt that we left the meeting with a new plan to encourage our sweet son and to bring him into the classroom to be engaged rather than hidden. So far, we have seen some great results from his teacher and Ty is noticing the improvement as well. Boys are supposed to be care-free, less moody and have emotions that are at the surface…what do you do when you want to raise a sensitive boy into a confident man? Do we employ the same tactics that we use on girls? When do we let boys be boys and still address the need for emotional nurturing? I know this is the start of issues that will concern us, as there are issues with all kids. I just hope we have the ability to see them before they get out of hand, treat them with sensitivity, and most of all make Ty feel loved, listened to and valued through it all.

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