As my mom recently reminded me, I “always wanted boys”. I’ve always had an intense dislike for “girl drama”, but who knew boys could be so emotional too? Spud has been on a roller coaster of quickly changing feelings ever since FB was about 3 months old, and now, 12 months later, I seem to be stuck in an impossible parenting rut. The general pattern goes something like this: get irritated with Spud’s behavior, snap/scold/yell, no response, repeat, grow even more frustrated, (repeat a few more times), lose my temper, no one’s happy. I’ve been looking for resources to help me deal with this stage of life, as well as something to give me a better understanding of what sons need from their mothers.
When I saw What a Difference a Mom Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Mom Leaves on Her Son’s Life, by Dr. Kevin Leman pop up on the NetGalley list of available titles, I requested it immediately. Having read a couple of other books by Leman (The Birth Order Book and Have a New Kid by Friday), I knew I could expect practical, common sense advice combined with humor and an engaging writing style.
The book addresses the mother/son connection in general and then explains what types of behavior and needs boys have at different ages. Questions at the end of each chapter encourage you to apply the chapter to your own experience and help moms see what different strategies for connecting with their sons might look like.
The section on birth order is interesting and might help you understand or predict your son’s behaviors more accurately, however, I felt like much of the content was recycled from Leman’s book on birth order. The same was true for the sections which discussed parenting types (what parenting book doesn’t have those?) and behavior in general, although I did find some helpful reminders.
I found several chapters helpful for my own experience. The information on boys and who they are resonated with me (although I was hoping for more!). And the chapters grouped by ages are also helpful.
Two main messages are still resonating with me from this book: 1.) As mothers we have the ability to “choose” our future daughter-in-laws based on how we act (ouch!). In other words, we should be modeling the type of wife we hope our son will marry in order for him to have a happy marriage. 2.) We need to begin with the end in mind—envision the qualities we hope our son has when he is an adult and build from there.
I was looking for more insight into boys and men when I chose to read this book. I’m sure I will read it again, but I will also be looking for more mother/son titles to add to my resource list.