Have you ever felt like you are not connecting with your little boy. Or maybe struggle with your little guys energy level.
This episode is for you!
Now, if you are not a boy Mom, this can definitely help you out too, with just communication with boys in general.
My guest today is Janet Allison. And she shares how we can better understand our boys and some practical tips to help with communication. So that we can one communicate with our boys better.
Kelly Smith is a globally renowned yoga and meditation teacher, E-RYT 500 /YACEP, founder of Yoga For You, and host of the chart-topping Mindful in Minutes podcast and its spin-off, Meditation Mama. Yoga for You, a location independent yoga and meditation school that has served thousands of students located all through the US, Canada, and the UK. Kelly specializes in the non physical limbs of yoga and is best known for her master trainings and workshops in meditation, restorative yoga, and yoga nidra, as well as her international yoga and mindfulness retreats.
Connect with Janet
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/boysalive
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/boysalive
Free Guide: Your Boy and His Big Emotions
Links Mentioned in this Episode
- Website: https://boysalive.com
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/boysalive
- Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/boysalive
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Transcript of this episode
Toni-Ann Mayembe 0:05
You are listening to the real happy mom podcast, a weekly podcast with inspiration and impactful tips for this journey. My name is Tony, and you are listening to Episode 174. Well, hey there, and welcome back to another episode of The Real happy mom Podcast. I’m super excited to have you here with me today, because I have a really, really great guest that is going to be helping us out with our little boys. Now, if you are not a boy Mom, this can definitely help you out too, with just communication with boys in general. And also, I think a lot of this kind of translates over to some of our little girls. But a lot of this is especially for our boys. And my guest today is Jana Allison, she’s going to be talking to us about how we can better understand our boys and some practical things that we can do. So that we can one communicate with our boys better. And also so that they can really express themselves. And we not get a little worried or think something’s going on. But before we jump into this week’s episode, I wanted to make sure that you knew about the real happy mom merch that is now available. If you head on over to Real happy mom.com/merch You will be able to see what I’m talking about. And there we have a couple of designs that I think you will love that you can sport on some T shirts and totes some phone cases, whatever the case is, we got some wrapping my merch so that you can show it off that you are a real happy mom. So head on over to Real happy mom.com/merch to check it out. And now that we have that out of the way, let’s go ahead and jump on into this week’s episode.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 2:00
All right, so today we have a very fantastic guest on the podcast. Super excited to have Miss Janet, today. Thank you for coming on. And welcome to the podcast.
Janet Allison 2:11
Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited for this conversation today with you.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 2:16
Yes, and I am even more excited because as a boy, Mom, I definitely have lots of questions. And I know that you will be answering a lot of those as far as understanding our boys better. So I want to just have you just give us a little bit about you and what you do before we jump into our topic for today.
Janet Allison 2:40
Well, first of all, this I want to just say up front, this is about understanding your boys understanding your men, it’s really about understanding an other person, you know, we just come from our, our, our viewpoint no matter what that is. So this is really opening up the conversation to understand how another person operates, how they communicate, how they how and why they respond the way they do. So I always have to say a front that I raised daughters, I didn’t raise boys. And yet I had a I was a teacher back in the mid 90s. And I had a classroom full of boys. And wow, I did not know what to do with them. I you know, I have my university training and no one was talking about boys at that time, it was all about girls and equality and sports and all of the things and no one knew about boys and I had no clue what to do with boys in that first grade class. So I had to get real busy and do do some research and really have been studying this this topic and talking to moms and dads and teachers and experts for 20 some years now.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 4:02
Nice nice and I can only imagine as a first grade teacher because I have a now kindergartner and a third grader so I know all about how they add I can only imagine what all you went through. But I was just wondering like what were some of the like the the resources or things that you were diving into when you’re trying to get more information about learning about boys?
Janet Allison 4:25
Well, the thing is, it was so long ago. We’re not many people talking about boys, but the person that has been my rock ever since and I’ve been lucky enough to interview him several times on on the envoys podcast which is my podcast is Steve bit off. He’s from Tasmania, but he has been studying boys for all of these years. So he’s written several books. I encourage your listeners to check him out and follow him. Steve that off.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 4:55
I was gonna say I’ll make sure to include that in the show notes for sure. I can’t get a link to him. So thank you for giving me that resource. Because I know it was probably interesting getting started with learning how to handle especially that, that energy that they have. So I was just wondering for moms that seem to struggle with their little boys level energy, like what do you suggest for them.
Janet Allison 5:23
So I always tell parents, everything for boys is physical first. If you you know, if you have to, they have to have movement, if you want them to sit still, they have to be moving their bodies if you want to have a conversation with them. So for a boy, if his body is in motion, his brain is in motion. And if think about school, when we tell our boys I was one of those teachers sit, still listen and learn. He actually can’t, he his brain is going into a rest state, he needs to move his body and that keeps his brain going. So when we can kind of look at it that way, it’s like, oh, okay, I want him to talk to me. So we’re gonna have to move our bodies together, go for a walk, toss a ball, wash dishes together, doodle, do some art, whatever, or something where you are in, move in motion together. And that’s going to help him find his words more easily than if he’s if you’re sitting still having to, you know, across the table conversation, and remember, this is great for men too. They’re way more comfortable walking and talking, or driving in the car.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 6:47
I like that. I definitely can see that too. And now that you got me thinking, because I always wondered, like, I was like, Why do I feel like they’re like fidgeting around so much like you didn’t. So I like that, like walk and talk or do a puzzle or something together while we’re
Janet Allison 7:05
out? Well, and it’s the thing where when we know this, then we can change our point of view. And we can get a little less irritated by it. I mean, it’s still hard, you have to adjust your kind of sensibility. And I talked with a lot of moms who their, their nervous system is just I mean, we’re all of our nervous systems are a little in in overdrive right now. But so I tell moms, you know, once you know that, this that your boy needs to move his body, then it’s like you can maybe not take it so personally, or it doesn’t affect you so much. Because it’s good movement, it’s healthy movement. And the challenge then is to get him moving his body, especially before he has to sit still. So moving his body before school, your teacher will be forever grateful. If you do that. Moving his body before you go to grandma’s house for dinner. I had a family that I was working with over the holidays, and they took all the cousins to the park and let them play before it was time to sit down to Christmas dinner. And it made such a difference in the energy level. So just recognizing let him be physical. Before anything else.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 8:29
Yes, yes, I’m loving this one. I got that one written down for sure. Now I want to switch it up and talk about those big emotions, especially when they get angry. And that’s one thing that I know a lot of times we’re like, oh, like, I noticed that my son is a little like, you know, I guess the rage may look a little scary at times. So I was just wondering if you could talk to us about like, the their anger and when things are looking like it’s just like off the charts. Like what is going on with these guys?
Janet Allison 9:01
Yeah, well, it goes back to what we were just talking about. It’s it’s their expression of their feelings is physical. And when they’re angry, that can look pretty scary, especially as your boys growing getting bigger than you. But the thing is, and more cultural societal level is we boys get the message that it’s okay to be angry. It’s not okay to feel sad or embarrassed or afraid. Aid all of these emotions that we want our boys to connect with. And and understand and be able to express a lot of that they’re still getting the message that it’s not okay. Not okay to cry, not okay to be afraid of the dark. And so often it will come out as anger. So it’s really important to remember I mean, of course, we want to focus on the anger and handle that, you know, it’s and, and my rules of anger are you cannot hurt yourself, you may not hurt others and you may not hurt things. So that’s just the standard rules, we have to help them channel that. That’s one part. The other part is looking underneath what’s really going on? Is there some Is there something he’s embarrassed about, and he doesn’t know, the words to put to that, is he nervous about you know, maybe starting a new school in the next week or so. So really looking underneath the anger to what else might be going on, then go for a walk and talk and, and you might have to give him some ideas about Oh, I wonder if you’re feeling like this. Or I wonder if you’re feeling like that, to help him gain that emotional vocabulary, we really have to help our boys find the words to how they feel. So the other part about anger, then is helping him channel it. And knowing what your boy needs, every boy is different. So having a conversation with him. And you can do this even with little ones, you know what feels good when you want when you have those feelings in your body? And how do we get those feelings out of your body? For some children, it might be, they just want to be alone. So a quiet corner and you create this together, you’re collaborating, figuring out, what are the things he likes to do, I think a cardboard box is amazing thing. And you know, maybe you want to go, maybe he’s the kid that needs to go run around the block a couple times, or run up and down the stairs to get those feelings out of his body. So in a quiet time, helping him figure out what he wants to try when he’s angry. And then it’s good to have it posted visually have him write it or draw a picture. And then you can kind of guide him to that. The other part of that for, for parents to remember is you cannot reason with an angry child. You all have your you know, he cannot actually listen when he’s in that in that red zone. So, so saying less, especially at that time is going to be helpful.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 12:30
Yes, and amen to that last one, because I learned my lesson, trying to talk to my son when he is angry, like, you might as well talk to the wall, that that never goes well.
Janet Allison 12:43
Well, he can’t actually listen, like that part of his brain is off. So it’s about channeling and keeping him safe and keeping others around him safe. If you make a plan ahead of time, then you’ve got a way to direct him in that time. And then there’s also the reassurance and acknowledgement of Yeah, you’ve got big feelings in your body right now. I’m here, I’m not going anywhere. I’m here. So he needs that reassurance to you can imagine how scary it is for kids to feel this much anger. It’s it’s powerful. And kids so much live in the present that I think that they, they need to hear that this isn’t going to last. We don’t want to stop it. We want to let it carry through its emotional arc and have the anger we don’t want to cut off the anger. But we want to keep him safe and help him channel that. And eventually he will mature enough to be able to navigate that in a more acceptable
Toni-Ann Mayembe 13:52
way. Yeah. And you brought up something Janet that just had me thinking because I know, I remember one time my husband was like, oh, no, it’s not good for you to be angry. And I’m like, No, he can be angry. I just don’t want him hurting his brother, or, or help. But I think a lot of times too, like, I noticed like with my artists in particular, like he can get easily triggered by things, especially his little brother, you know, siblings, they get on each other’s nerves like they’re made to do. The little brother will, you know, do things that are annoying to his older brother and he doesn’t know how to like either ignore it or walk away. So he gets so angry. And so I’m like, dude, like, you’re fine. Like two seconds go now you’re like blowing up like what is going on? So I’m learning now to one just take a step back and let him have a moment. Like you said, like he’s not listening. But I was just wondering to like, are there like certain questions or things that you can help with uncovering some of those things that are underlying that we don’t necessarily see all I see is you know, his little brother said something to him. And he’s like, you know, going from zero to 100, like really fast, like, it says something that could act or say, like to help uncover what the real issue is. Yeah,
Janet Allison 15:11
so it’s number one, figuring out the time to have that conversation, which might be at that time might be when you’re out for a drive, or when you’re out for a walk, you know, hey, what, what happened this morning with your brother, what was that about? And he may not be able to, you know, depending on their age, they may or may not be able to tell you. And, you know, it might be, oh, he took my Lego or whatever. I know, that must feel really frustrating, you know, when you were building that thing, and you needed that leg go. And it’s also. So it might be as simple as that, it might be something deeper than that. It might be as simple as you know, you just didn’t get a good night’s sleep last night, think about our own adult patience level. You know, if we haven’t had good food or good sleep, we’re going to be a little crankier and a little a little less patient than we’d like to be. So it’s also just looking at, oh, you know, our kids are allowed to have a bad day, are allowed to be grumpy for maybe no reason. I mean, you know, there usually is a reason, but there. So I think that, what I’m saying is sometimes we hold our kids to a little higher standard, greater expectation. And sometimes we can just allow them to have a bad day.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 16:45
Yeah, no, I totally, totally agree. Because I had to remind my son just this morning, because he was upset because he couldn’t remember how to spell a word for his spelling test. And he was reviewing it, and he kept getting it wrong. And I was like, listen, like, it’s okay. Like, I know, it’s frustrating. But, you know, like, I just need you to calm down. Because when you’re setting crying and doing all those things, like you’re not listening, and you can’t, I can’t help you when you’re like that. I was like, But Mommy is like getting frustrated too. Because I’m actually taking a class right now that’s kicking my butt. And I was like, I was like, sometimes I want to cry. throw a tantrum. But Mommy can do that. Really? Yeah. Like, I really like, have a hard time. But I know that I have to calm down and think clearly. So that can get the answers right. Yeah. And so he was able to understand that a little bit better once I broke it down there. But I like how you said to find the right time to have those conversations. Because, yes, timing is is everything?
Janet Allison 17:46
Well, there’s three things in that, Tony. And I want to say, first of all, it’s so important for our kids to see us also learning and struggling and making mistakes, so important. And they because they look at adults, and they think we do everything right. And we don’t, we really don’t. So there’s that place of great to tell to share with him that, you know, it doesn’t always come easy to you, either. And then in that moment, when he was struggling and frustrated with that word, maybe before it gets to the extreme place, you could say, hey, why don’t you take them Take, take a minute, and go run up and down the stairs five times, get a drink of water, and come back? And I bet you’re gonna be able to spell that word. Yeah. So he’s had movement. He’s had a little break, like a little breath from that frustration, frustrated place he’s in. And then water dilutes stress hormones. This is for all of us. So we have adrenaline and cortisol. And when we drink water, it dilutes those stress hormones in our body. And that’s good for all of us.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 19:04
Yes, I like that one. That is a really good tip here. I’m definitely gonna have to take that and put that in my back pocket about the water because, yes, I could definitely see how that could help out a whole bunch there well,
Janet Allison 19:19
and to encourage your kids to have the habit of drinking water. A lot of schools now are allowing water bottles at desks, which is super important, so that they can stay hydrated all day.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 19:33
Yes, yes. And while we’re talking about school, let me just bring this up. You know, there’s many kids that either I feel like either love school or hate schools, like hard to find something in the middle because even at work, I’ll always ask kids like, Hey, how’s school going? Never. Yeah, like it’s terrible or Oh, it’s great. Like I don’t hear kind of in the middle, but I’m just wondering about the boys in particular that are saying that they’re hate school. Like, they’re just not liking it, like, what are some of the things that we can do to help with that?
Janet Allison 20:06
Well, and it’s always interesting if you ask a boy, what they like about school, what do they say? recess? Oh, yes, recess. And PE, because that’s where they get to move their bodies. So for many boys, and I will say many teachers do not understand boys and what boys need to facilitate their learning. Girls can adjust, adjust, and they’re very relationship oriented. So they want to please the teachers, boys could care less and in general. And so we have to first of all know how much movement is your son getting at school? What is the teachers policy around? Alternate seating? Can he sit on the floor and do his work? Can he stand up and do his work? Or does he have to sit in his seat? Because that is so hard for active voice? It’s torture. So then, of course, there’s going to find other things to do mess around with stuff in their desk, mess around with their neighbor. So is there opportunities for alternate seating? How, how do movement breaks go does the teacher allow, you know, a lot of classes will stand up and do a little dance party or something to every 20 minutes, your son should be able to get up and move his body. Get up in you know, if he’s really active, there’s, oftentimes teachers will make an agreement with the Office of oh, here, son here, boy, take this to the office. And it’s really just an envelope. But he needed that lock, he needed that break. And so that’s really important that you know how much movement Your son is able to have in the school day, having that movement before he gets to school is going to help him be able to settle into school. The other thing I want to say about school and and home is that our boys are easily overwhelmed with too many words. And all mamas we love to talk, right? We love to ask questions. And school is very auditory, he is being bombarded by new material and being told what to do. And it’s by the end of the day, his brain is overwhelmed with too many words. It’s just flooded. And then you pick him up from school? And what’s the first question? How was your day, and it’s it, it’s really great. I encourage you, if you pick your child up from school, give them a snack, say hello, and then be okay with our conversation in the car on the way home. And then likely by the time he gets home, he is ready to tell you about his day. But he may be that kid that needs that time to just pause and reset his very tired brain.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 23:15
Yeah, I will I like all of these things that you’re saying here. Because I didn’t even think about having some movement in school. Now you got me thinking I probably need to ask teachers for the questions.
Janet Allison 23:26
In there. Yeah. Because teachers don’t always know this. I’ve worked with tons of teachers. And they, you know, they’re they don’t teach this in school. And so then they end up having these expectations for boys, especially younger boys who haven’t figured out how to manage their bodies yet. And then they’re the ones that are getting sent out in the hall or the ones that are sent to the principal’s office. And they’re really not doing anything other than what they’re designed to do.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 23:59
Yeah. Now, you touched on something here, when you talk about the boys or they can easily get overwhelmed with too many words. And I’ve noticed that too, when I try to give direction I try to make sure that is very, very concise and very, you know, direct, like exactly what I need them to do. Not doing too much there. But I was just wondering if there was anything else as far as like, I know, you said what conversations in the car. But how can we make sure that we’re not doing too much as far as given too many words? Because I think a lot of times we don’t even realize that we’re doing it sometimes Oh no,
Janet Allison 24:36
cuz we love to talk, because we process and come up with answers when we talk and I think it’s a really good opportunity to check in with the grown men that you know, and ask them, ask them. Do I talk too much? I’m gonna guess they’re probably the answer is yes. For all of us, and because we include all the details And the male brain doesn’t need that detail, they just want to know, tell me the one thing you want me to know. So women, we can think about talking in bullet points. And it feels so weird to do that. So in the morning, getting ready for school, you can say, shoes. backpack, and your boy is going to love you because they can process what you’re saying. And they don’t have to kind of filter it all out or tune you out. So think about that talking in bullet points, and pausing. So just let you know, say something and then wait, because his brain is working, his brain is processing, he’s coming up with an answer. Give him time, often will ask a question. And then we just keep talking. So So pause, silence, be in silence with your boy, it is amazing. And then the other thing I wanted to put in here, because I’m guilty of this, I don’t know if you are Toni-Ann. But we ask a lot of questions. And sometimes we’ll ask a question, and we don’t get the answer that we want. So we think we’re being tricky. It’s like, Oh, I’m gonna ask that question a little differently. Because I don’t I didn’t get enough information from him. And that makes the the grown men that I’ve talked to Ooh, that makes them really mad. So so just notice Am I asked, am I over asking questions of my boy of the men in my life?
Toni-Ann Mayembe 26:40
And that is good. So, so good. And I like the talking in bullet points, because I am a firm believer in that because even when I talk to my husband, I have to be very strict to the point even get to the facts. Like I don’t give him a lot of fluff. If I want to get on his nerves, then yeah, I’ll give them stuff just to bother him. But yeah, bullet points are I like that one. Yeah. And
Janet Allison 27:03
the other thing too, for her boys is give them a heads up about this is more like tween teen, but give him a heads up. Hey, I want to talk. Let’s talk about how you’re going to what your plan is for homework. After what after dinner tonight be a good time. So give them some lead time. So he can spend some time thinking about it, instead of just springing it on him.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 27:28
Yeah, boo. I like that one, too. That was great for husbands
Janet Allison 27:31
Toni-Ann Mayembe 27:36
Janet, this is all been so so good. You given a lot of really practical and tangible things that we can take away and start to implement to have better conversations and ultimately a better relationship with our boys. But I’m just wondering if there was anything else that we didn’t touch on that you wanted to talk about? Because I wanted to make sure that we got all the things in there. But you gave us so much good stuff. I didn’t know there was anything else.
Janet Allison 28:01
Got one more? Yeah, I got one more. This is so of the iceberg. These are easy things that you can start to change immediately. And part of it is just changing your perspective. One of the places that we get ourselves into trouble is that we will often say to our children, look at me when I’m talking to you. I think every parent on the planet has said that because we think they’re going to be able to hear us when US, which doesn’t actually make sense. And I had a dad, he said it so well. And I’ve used it ever since because it was perfect explanation. He said if my I tell my wife, if she wants me to look at her when she’s talking, I can’t hear what she’s saying. If she wants me to hear what she’s saying. Her, so I tend to choose one channel. So for boys, eye contact can be a little feel a little threatening, feel a little trouble. So if you want to have a conversation with your boy or your man, be okay without eye contact. So again, that goes back to how we started this conversation of go for a walk. Because you don’t have to look at each other. Do a puzzle together. You don’t have to look at each other. So take the emphasis off of eye contact. We often sometimes take that personally, that he’s not looking at me what’s wrong, but actually he can hear you better. If he isn’t looking at you. seems crazy to us because we love eye contact women love eye contact. Feels good, but it doesn’t feel so good for our boys and men.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 29:58
Got it. Got it. I like that that one. Yeah, like I like it. So yes. Got all of these notes written down. I’m ready. My kids are at school right now I’m ready to pick them up. Wait till wait till they see their mama today. Yeah. Thank you so, so much for coming on and sharing all this with us now, if someone is listening and wants to learn more about you or get in touch with you online, how can we find you
Janet Allison 30:26
go to boys alive.com. And you can opt in there for a free report. That is called boys and big emotions, common parenting mistakes and what to do instead. That is a great place to start. You can always reach out to me directly to Janet at Boys alive.com. I am here to help you understand your boys because they need you to understand them in a boyfriend Lee way.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 30:55
Yes, yes, I love it. And I will make sure to include all of those links in the show notes. This was so so good. Janet, thank you so much again for coming on.
Janet Allison 31:05
So happy to be here.
Toni-Ann Mayembe 31:08
Now that does it for this episode of The Real happy mom podcast. I hope you have enjoyed this and learned as much as I have. I really really enjoyed talking to Jana, and getting more information on how I can do better on showing up for my little guys. Now, she didn’t mention this, but there is a Facebook group that you can join as well where you can get some more wonderful information for your little guy. You can find all of those links that I mentioned, as well as the link for the Facebook group in the show notes. Head on over to raw happy mom.com/ 174 And you’ll get that there. And if you know a mom that could benefit from this particular episode, please do me a favor and share this with your mom friend because sharing is caring. And plus we are getting close to reaching that goal of 100,000 downloads and I could really use your help with sharing this episode with other moms. All right now that is it for this episode.