My Experience Raising Boys

My wife is currently pregnant with our fourth child and we recently found out it is going to be a boy.  Given we already are blessed with an 8 year old, 5 year old, and 3 year old boy, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned about raising boys.  Keep in mind this is simply my perspective from a father’s point of view.  Here is what I have learned:

Once they become mobile boys rarely stop.

Boys mature later than girls, but then again we dads often mature later too.

It is not a good idea to own anything “nice” as it will likely be ruined within a short time period.

Boys like to be outdoors as climbing, building and exploring are natural characteristics of boys.

Before becoming verbal, biting, hitting and kicking can be a means of communicating.

Bathing and underwear are considered optional.

Wrestling is a sign of affection.

Bikes and scooters are meant to go off of curbs and down big hills whenever possible.

Every day is an enjoyable journey and adventure.

It is not easy raising children in today’s society.  Popular media glorifies promiscuity, alcohol and drug use, violence and crude behavior.  How are we as parents able to overcome these obstacles?  I recently read a fantastic book called Boys Should be Boys. 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons.”  It is written by Dr. Meg Meeker who is an adolescent medicine doctor.  The wisdom from this book has been very helpful for me as both a pediatrician and father.  While the contents of this book are helpful for fathers, it may not apply to all families, particularly single parent or same sex parent families.  I want to share with you some of that wisdom and I encourage fathers or mothers to consider reading it.  Here are some excerpts:

“Every boy wants to be loved, accepted and valued. The quickest way to get there is by seeing mom or dad happy with him.”

“We often try to make our children happier by buying them things.  The reality is kids don’t need more of anything except time from their parents.  The true way to make a child happy is to spend meaningful time with them.”

“Boys need healthy encouragement from their fathers more than they need it from anyone else.  In a boy’s eyes, his father’s words are sacred.  They hold enormous power. His words can crush a boy or piece him back together after a fall.”

“Encouragement from a father can change a boy’s life.  To a son, a dad’s words are the final truth.  If they are positive, a boy feels that he cannot be beaten; if they are negative, however, a son feels that he could never win.”

“Young boys and men need less time face-to-screen with electronic life and more time face-to-face with people.  Sons who have healthy relationships with parents fare much better in life.”

“Boys need and want boundaries.  A boy without rules becomes a man without direction.”

“Fathers need to be careful that they do not project their own shortcomings on their sons.  Our sons are not mini versions of ourselves.”

The wisdom goes on.  For more information visit   Dr. Meeker has also written two other excellent books:  “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters,” and “The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers.”


 ~ Daniel Dorrington, MD, Forest View Pediatrics

Daniel Dorrington, MD



My Experience Raising Boys — 5 Comments

  1. Thanks Dr. Dan for this wonderful article. We sure can relate to this one! Thanks for the book recommendation as well. Best wishes on baby boy #4!

  2. Wow – #4, Congratulations! Hopefully you can use many of the hand me downs.. Best of wishes with the pregnancy and delivery.
    As you know…it is another special time in your life.

    See you soon.

  3. As a Mom who gave birth to six boys and adopted two more, I can appreciate your post. I have enjoyed every single boy I have raised and continue to enjoy them. Now that they are grown and I’m getting older they are totally supportive, helpful and caring. Of course they still want to come to dinner every week to eat Mom’s cooking. I am looking forward to my first grandchild and everyone thinks it will be a boy. Okay by me. I am thrilled and my sons are thrilled also. Your sons are so lucky to have you for a Dad and your Dad for a Grandpa. What a nice family.

  4. Thanks for a fun article and congratulations on having another boy!! Things can’t get any better.
    Let me introduce myself. I joined Drs. Czajka and Altstadt in 1969 and left shortly after to practice in Hartford Wisconsin. I have always held both these doctors high on my list of great people.
    Your dad replaced me shortly after I left. He was also a wonderful, caring, brilliant man with a great moral compass. It looks like you have developed the same great character.
    I thank you for your short review of Dr Meeker’s books. She is a great doctor and i have had the privileged of knowing her. She is well worth you support.
    After leaving Hales Corners I wrote a couple of books which were well received in the community, “Germs Make Me Sick”, “Sports Doc”, and most recently I wrote about parenting lessons I learned from teenagers – “Messengers in Denim”. Look at the reviews on Amazon and if you like it, lwt me know and I will comp one to you.
    I am currently working on one on character development and might like to get in touch with you for some current input.
    Let me know if you will be will to talk with me.
    Thanks, Par

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