I was talking, on separate occasions, with a few different friends of mine, about tricks to raising sons in this day and age. I know it's not going to be easy, that there are going to be a lot of tides going against the way I want to raise my boys. These friends all have teenage sons that are strong, independent, respectful people. They communicate with their moms. The are polite when I run into them, and even are able to have a short conversation with me. Impressed with these boys, I begged for the secret.
What I learned was both unexpected, and exciting. All three moms (who don't know each other) independently cited the exact same method: A HOT TUB!
Okay, this is me jumping for joy, because I'm not sure I ever would have caved to the expense of this luxury item. But to learn that it is the secret to raising sons...well, now it's not a luxury, it's a necessity. Bring on the catalogues! Mama's going shopping!
You see, my friends told me that everyone in their families, including the sons, love the hot tub. There's nothing like a nice soak outside beneath the stars to relax and unwind from the stresses of the day. And it's hard to do much else while in the hot tub - there isn't the distraction of the phone or the television or the computer. It's just mom and son. And this atmosphere seems to be the perfect scenario to encourage the traditionally clammed up, private teen boys to open up and tell all to a quiet, listening, and understanding mom. My friends said they were amazed at just how much their sons were willing to talk about in the setting of a hot tub. It might start as silence, but before long they were divulging their worries, fears, goals, triumphs, experiences, stories, and anything else that was filling their minds. Something about the hot tub encouraged a steady stream of thoughts poured out into the night. What a contrast from the traditional monosyllabic grunting system of communication most teen boys use!
I'm sure it will work equally well with girls, although girls don't generally need as much encouragement to get talking. I'm glad I learned this secret while my boys are young - I'm sure this will take some extra finance planning to be ready to put in the hot tub by the time the boys are entering their teen years. But isn't this the best excuse ever for getting a hot tub in your own backyard?!