One of my fears of being a “boy mom” was not being able to relate or have a good bond with my kids.
I taught 5th grade for many years and I was worried my kids would be like many of my students—they were too cool to hang out with their parents and craved independence from them. My oldest son is in middle school now. I’m excited to say that so far, we’re maintaining our good bond. I’m not sure if it is luck or because I’m trying to be intentional, but here’s some things I credit it to:
How I Bond with My Pre-Teen Son
We Have Car Conversations
We have regular car check-ins about the day. Sometimes we talk about band lessons or what’s for dinner, while other times we talk about tough things like hurt feelings. They key for us is to talk without distractions. Since we don’t have screens in the car, this is a good time for us. Something I heard a while ago was that if you want your older child to share the tough stuff with you, you have to start listening to them when they are little.
I Play Video Games with Him
I’ve become a pretty decent MarioKart player! Playing video games together allows us to have fun and for him to teach me about something he likes. We do a little bit of “trash talking,” and I think I put up a decent fight! When we’re not doing video games, we enjoy playing board games like Battleship and Stratego.
We Go On Dates
My oldest son and I have found that we love trying new Asian restaurants together. Dad and younger brother don’t like this as much as we do, so this has become our thing. We also like to get Iced Teas at Starbucks and read books at Barnes & Noble. I try to do this once every few months. Sometimes we talk about funny things on the menu while other times we talk about in-depth things too.
I Cheer Him On
Whether it’s a band solo or basketball game, I try my best to show up and cheer him on! I try to let the critiques to be from his teachers/coaches and focus on what he did well or was improving on. My goal is for him to know I’m proud of his work!
I Fill His “Love Tank”
Have you heard of the 5 Love Languages? I like knowing what my kids’ love language is and finding little ways to fill their love tank. Here’s the link if you’d like more info: 5 Love Languages for Kids.
I’m not perfect at all of these things. Sometimes I’m distracted or put off those talks/video games/etc. However, I’ve noticed that our home is happier when we try to incorporate many of these ideas!