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4 Moms Discuss Teen Boys and Girls Growing Up Too Soon

The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids are answering questions again.

Are any of you struggling or have struggled with the changes in personality of teenage boys? Specifically having a compassionate, obedient child taking on a confident, self-focused personality/behavior?

One of my most challenging parenting tasks has been to allow my little boy to turn into a man. This is a delicate transition because the child who may have once been a clingy, unsure little fella suddenly wants to become a confident, capable, decision maker.

Of course, as a parent, you want the boy to become these things, but the tricky part is, when left unattended, the boy, instead of confident, becomes cocky, and instead of capable, becomes arrogant.

And then there’s the whole issue of a the boy wanting to be a man, which in his mind equals “leader”. No man wants to be under the authority of his mommy.

It’s not easy for a teen boy to become a man, mostly because he wants to already be a man.

A mother’s job is to show the boy how he can discipline himself and practice making important decisions and leading others while still being under authority.

I try to give my son plenty of chances to make important decisions. I ask his advice on tough problems. I remind him that his strength and courage are invaluable. I give him more freedom each passing week to make his own choices.

At the same time, I make it clear that until he is self-sufficient and of legal age, he will continue to be under my authority. (And my husband’s, but that seems to come more easily for him.)

This process would be a lot easier if boys woke up one day and had overnight become a complete man. As it is, this is a constant balancing act, because each day the boy is becoming closer to being a man, and sometimes it is a two steps forward, one step back event.

Keep affirming the boy’s growing competence and independence, while reminding him that submitting to the proper authority is the right thing to do.

How do you handle things like make-up, heels, etc with your littler girls?

I have found that having older sisters makes my little girls want to wear and do grown up things earlier than my first daughter did.

Unfortunately for them, I am unswayed by entreaties such as, “It’s not fairrrrrrrr! She gets to do it. Why can’t IIIiiiii?” I remind them that with age comes privilege. This is universally true. 16 year olds can drive. 18 year olds can vote. 21 year olds can rent cars. No matter how much a 13 year old begs the lady at the DMV, he will not be issued a driver’s license.

I have set certain age limits on certain activities, such as

  • When you are 9, you can stay up until 9:00.
  • When you are 13, you can begin to wear (light) make-up.

My age limits may be different from yours, but if your children are aware of your  limits, and you are consistent with your enforcement of them, your children will know when to expect their new privileges.

Now, be sure to see what questions the rest of my 4 Moms team are answering today.

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4 Moms Q & A

Buy The 4 Moms eBook here.

I missed your free offer of “How to Manage Your Mouth – A 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge“. Can I still get it free?

I will be offering this Kindle eBook free again soon. Check here, because that’s where I’ll be announcing when you can get it free.

I am working on a children’s version of The 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge, and when that is ready to be published, you’ll be able to snag the original version free.

Amazon only allows 3 days of giving away the book for free, so when you see it’s free, be sure to act fast before it goes back to full price.

How do you stay fit?

I am almost 47 years old and have never in my life liked exercise. Honestly, with all the shoveling out hen houses, jumping on the trampoline with the kids, and cleaning out from under beds, I feel like I am doing fine in the physical activity department.

When we got new insurance a couple of years ago, I had a complete blood work analysis done, and all my “levels” came back in the healthy range.

I try to eat foods still in their original forms. Vegetables, fruits, and meat. But you know I love gravy!

I stay a healthy weight (according to doctor’s charts) by only eating when I am truly hungry. This means if there is a pan of brownies on the counter, and I ate lunch 2 hours ago, I force myself to not eat the brownies. I may wrap one up and squirrel it away for later when my stomach growls, and I may eat it before I eat my dinner, but I try to trust my body to know when it needs food.

This is easier said than done, but I remind myself that the food will be there when I really am hungry. This is the way God designed our bodies. A feeling of hunger means it’s time to eat. A satisfied feeling means it’s time to stop. It takes discipline to eat this way, and it means sometimes not eating when everyone else is, but it has worked for me.

 I am just beginning to homeschool. What advice can you give me?

Here is every homeschooling post I have written on the blog since 2007. And here is “Homeschool Tips From a Homeschool Veteran“, an eBook in which I compiled my most helpful homeschooling tips.

In a nutshell, here’s my advice.

  • Rely on God. You won’t be able to do it on your own power.
  • Find a mentor or support group. You will need encouragement.
  • Keep plugging away. There will be days you want to quit. Don’t.

Now, be sure to see what questions the rest of my 4 Moms team are answering.

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4 Moms of 35+ Kids Discuss Tattling

You know when there are 35+ kids involved, there is going to be tattling.

I think I speak for the crowd when I say that nobody likes to hear, “MOMMY! She (__fill in the blank__)!!!” every few minutes. And if you have a house full of kids who are not taught what to do when “a brother sins” you will be hearing it all. Day. Long.

My children know the scripture in Matthew 18:15 which addresses what to do when you encounter someone doing something they shouldn’t.

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”

These are instructions to Christians for how they should handle sin in the church, but I think it works well in a family, too. Of course, if the sinner cannot be brought to repentance with confrontation, then Mama needs to be told.

Many times, the little, nit-picky things kids tattle about can be taken care of between themselves if they are taught how to resolve it.

You can see more of my ideas on what to do about tattling, and don’t forget to check out what the rest of my 4 Moms team has to say about it.

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4 Moms Answer Questions About Road Trips, Bedtimes, and Cool Meals

Time for The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids to answer questions again! If you would like to submit questions for our weekly Q&A, visit our 4 Moms Facebook page.

Here are the questions I am tackling this week.

How do you keep kids entertained on road trips, or when you’re just in the car in general for an extended period of time?

You can see in this vacation post what I like to place in each child’s seat before a long trip. I usually also fill a small paper lunch sack with surprises from the Dollar Store, like crayons, word searches, and drawing pads. Be sure to read this caution about why you should never include Silly Putty in the bag! I still suffering from involuntary eye twitches when remembering that!

We like to listen to books on CD while traveling, and sometimes we use the DVD player to let the kids watch a movie. The game Rubberneckersis also great fun!

What are your favorite go-to quick summer lunches/snacks/foods you like to keep on hand for the days you’re just too hot to cook a proper meal?

When it’s hot, and I don’t want to heat up the kitchen, I like to use my CrockPot. Here are over 100 CrockPot recipes that you can assemble in the morning and forget until dinner time. No heating up the kitchen by turning on the oven!

These easy cucumber stackers are a lunchtime favorite. Cool and delicious!

When is bedtime? Do the older kids stay up later than the younger kids? And when does everyone wake up?

All little kids go to bed at 8:30. When you turn nine, it is a glorious occasion, because you get to stay up until 9:00! Upon turning 13, your bedtime is moved to 10:00.

As for waking up, at one time I was a firm advocate of everyone waking up at a respectable hour, like 7:00, and starting on breakfast and chores together.

Then my teenagers underhandedly researched brain development and sleep needs of young adults and actually made an oral presentation as to why I should let them sleep later. In their presentation, they brought up the difficulty of everyone doing chores at once. “Who’s turn is it to use the vacuum first? I’m waiting for her to get through with the broom.”

So, I relented and now they do not wake up at a respectable hour, but still manage to get their chores and academic work completed.

I’m still trying to decide if I have been played on that one…

Now, be sure to see what questions the other moms are answering today!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Have you bought the book?


The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids are answering frequently asked questions this week. Here are some questions I have been asked many times.

Now, be sure to see what frequently asked questions Life in a Shoe and The Common Room are answering today.

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4 Moms on Bedtime, Home Construction, Forced Association, and Favorite Read-Alouds

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For kids that share rooms at night, do you let them talk quietly? Do you have a point where they have to be silent? How do you enforce not talking? I have one child that will talk for hours and keeps her sister awake.

I am all for letting children talk, laugh, or sing quietly at bedtime as long as no one is being disturbed. As soon as one child asks another to please be quiet, that needs to be honored.

If the talkative child cannot bring herself to honor that request without parental intervention, I would have a “no talking” rule for a period of time in order to impress upon the child the importance of honoring the wishes of roommates.

Any suggestions on living in the middle of home construction?

My only suggestion for living, parenting, and homeschooling in the midst of construction is to do the best you can. This is the same way I operate even when I’m not living in the midst of construction.

Life has a way of throwing kinks in our best laid plans, and we just have to learn to roll with it. Even if there’s no construction, there are weeks when all 8 children have the vomit virus, or the van gets stuck in the mud, or the husband gets laid off.

If we keep the mindset that we just keep chugging along, no matter what gets thrown at us, we develop the attitude that life keeps going and so do we.

There were days during our construction project that we picked up our school books and headed to the library, but mostly we hunkered down and tried to ignore the sawing, hammering, and drilling to get as much work done as we could.

I have a 6yr girl and an almost 5yr boy. They play together and squabble together in typical sibling fashion. When we get together with other homeschool families to play, everything is fine. My daughter is getting older and is now playing with friends in the neighborhood. I’ve been noticing that when she has friends over in the yard (boys or girls) that her and her friend(s) tend to leave John out or run away from him which makes him upset and then he chases them of course. You get the picture.

I’ve explained that a sibling is a friend for life while other friends will come and go. What I’m wondering is if they are all in the back yard playing, should I be expecting that they play nice with my son or should I be teaching my son that when she has friends over, to leave them alone and play by himself?

Obviously if she has a girlfriend over and they are playing barbies, I would expect him to leave them alone but if she has boys/girl friends in the yard and they are playing tag, Frisbee, swinging I think they should be able to play as a group.

This is another area where I’m pretty sure I have an unpopular opinion about how to work this out.

I usually don’t force my children to play with someone if they don’t want to. I talk to them plenty about how everyone likes to interact with pleasant companions, and no one likes to play with annoying whiners. Everyone likes someone who is friendly and considerate. No one likes a person who is rude and selfish.

They soon figure out that if they would like to be included in play, they should be pleasant to be around. (It is not pleasant to cry when someone doesn’t want to play with you right now.)

There are also times when playmates or siblings would like to have a turn playing with someone else. That is perfectly okay. My children know this does not mean the friendship is over or the playmate doesn’t like them anymore.

Of course, I am not talking about bullying or purposely ostracizing a child specifically to hurt his feelings. I also limit relationships that I feel encourage bad behavior, and I do not allow a single person to be left out of a group game.

But in general, I allow my children to freely associate with siblings and playmates. I think this teaches them a very valuable lesson in developing positive personality traits, as well as what it means to reap natural consequences for negative behavior.

What have been your all time favorite family read-alouds?

Oooh! We love read-aloud time! Here are some of our very favorite family read-alouds. And here are some more read-alouds that are favorites of the preschool set.

Now, be sure to see what questions The Common Room and Life in a Shoe are answering today.

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