Ask Mama Dina: Raising Boys (Part I)

My first child was a girl, and for almost three years I truly believed that time outs, positive reinforcement, and a set of house rules were all that I needed to maintain a well-behaved child, and a “parent that has it all figured out” status.

And then I had a boy. And while I completely disagree with the negative connotations that tend to coincide with the naming of this gender (from the old nursery rhyme that boys are “made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails”, to the comments I often hear today from parents who insist that boys are wild, destructible and out of control), I truly believe that boys are just made differently, and as a result, they learn differently as well.

Equipped with this thought, I went to an expert – my very own Mama Dina. I asked her: “Is it true that boys need to be parented differently, and if so, why and how can I do this effectively?”

She responded with these quick tips:

1) Boys tend to require more physical activity
2) When it comes to parenting, boys need less words & more showing
3) Despite what we may think, boys need to be given more slack & less rigid type parenting
4) Boys tend to show their feelings through actions as opposed to words; parents need to read their feelings through their actions
5) Boys learn most effectively when moving around (associating lessons with actions)
6) Most of all, boys need to be loved & accepted for who they are


She then handed me this book: Raising Boys: Why Boys Are Different – and How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-Balanced Men by Steve Biddulph. She said the book includes some great points on how boys learn and how to parent them effectively based on the knowledge that they learn differently.

I’m going to read the book and write a follow up post on my findings – stay tuned for a Part 2 post!


Mama Dina is a consummate mother, adoptive mother, stepmother, foster mother and grandmother. For over 30 years, she worked as an early childhood educator, and is fully trained and experienced in the Montessori educational approach. She has over 15 years of experience as a foster parent to children from all walks of life, many of whom have special needs. She provides emergency respite care for the foster care system, and acts as a ‘baby whisperer’ for preemie twins on a part-time basis. Her educational background includes training in child psychology, ECE, infant-toddler development, and various areas of special needs (ARBD, FASD, ADHD). Mama Dina’s lifelong passion has been children. She understands typical and atypical child development and behaviour, and combines her magic formula of unconditional love and consistency to enhance each child’s potential. She is also my beloved mama, and I am so blessed that she chose me to be her daughter.

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  1. Love this post, Bianca (and Mama Dina). Another great book is “Boy Smarts” by Barry Macdonald 🙂

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