Thank you to all my Followers! And Happy Valentine’s Day.

The Years Are ShortYou are all super special to me!!! And I really appreciate your interest in my Blog! It also means your boys are super special to you, which warms my heart!

That is why I am taking the time to take it to the next level. And I would like to ask for your patience while I do so, please.

I need to migrate this blog over to WordPress.org, (it’s currently on WordPress.com) so that I can add even more amazing plugins and widgets etc. And I am taking some super cool classes to ensure I am up to date and on-the-money, in terms of online relationships and social media, so that I can grow and develop our relationship in the best possible way.

Please don’t go away! I realise I do not post very often, but it is my intention to change that this year and for us to get to know each other better.

In the meantime, I am posting interesting research and news that I come across on Twitter, so please follow me there if you can – @kimanderssen.

And, if you are looking for an outstanding book on boys to read at the moment, I cannot recommend Rosalind Wiseman’s book “Masterminds and Wingmen” (USA version) or “Ringleaders and Sidekicks” (UK version) enough. Full of brilliant advice!

In the meantime, I’d love to get to know you better.

So, could I ask you a question, please? When you are struggling with your boys, where do you go to solve the problem?

And if that doesn’t work, where do you go?

And finally, if you that didn’t work, where would you go?

I’d appreciate your thoughts!

Wishing you a warm and loving Valentine’s day with the men in your life!

With love and thanks

Kim xx

Bringing Up Boys in Nature’s Valley

The Point at Nature's Valley

The Point at Nature’s Valley

We’re coming to the end of an outstanding summer Christmas holiday, which I know is quite hard for those of you in the colder Northern hemisphere, to understand. Its been hot, the rain has stayed away, the wind has been moderate, and we could not have asked for a more perfect holiday on the coast. Golden sunshine for the best part of five glorious weeks together as a family.

We spend our summers in a place called Nature’s Valley. It is on the coast of the Western Cape province of South Africa, along the Garden Route coastline. It has only 400 houses, no shops and is down a mountain pass from the main roads, tucked next to a lagoon and the sea.

Walking back from the gully at sunset

Walking back from the gully at sunset

On the other side of the lagoon is a the Tsitsikamma National Park – miles and miles of forest along the shoreline (there is a gorgeous pic of the lagoon, forest and mountains on the Home page on their website.) Our boys are basically growing up in heaven. They are able to: walk or cycle to their friends houses. swim in the lagoon or sea. boogie board, skim board, surf, paddle, snorkel, go on endless adventures hikes  and walks, play cricket, soccer, touch rugby in the cooler hours, read, nap, swim with gully sharks. fish etc. We are also able to hang out and have long, laughter-filled meals with friends and our boys get to spend unhurried quality time with us. Memories like these cannot be bought. They are priceless. We are exceptionally lucky.

The Boys on the Beach

The Boys on the Beach

Thankfully the boys know they are lucky too. We constantly try to instill in them their values,  as well as the need to look after our environments, to honour them, to conserve them and to appreciate them. Some days its good, others days are horrid. You win some, you lose some, especially on the manners and the values front. But that’s what we as parents are there for. They cannot be expected to be faultless at 7 & 8, or even at 15 & 17. Our sons (and daughters) need us as their rudders, to put them back on track, as kindly as possible, even though we feel like we’ve done it too many times already sometimes.

Day Camp

Day Camp

Happily, the Nature’s Valley Trust runs an extremely popular Christmas programme. As part of this they host a very successful Day Camp for children from 4-12 years. A huge part of this day is spent teaching the kids about conservation:  animals and the environment. Other activities include a morning at low tide on the rocky shores examining and learning about the sea creatures found there, bird ringing demonstrations and bird & tree walks through the forests. The kids learn so much they begin to teach (and reprimand) us if we step out of line.

Wave smack

Wave smack

After weeks of sunshine, sea, surf, exercising in the great outdoors and overindulging our diets, it’s almost time to head home to Johannesburg and back to school. As much as I love Jo’burg, as its affectionately known, what happens in Nature’s Valley can’t be replicated there. And I hope the effects of the family bonding are enough to last a while. While we still focus hard on being together wherever we are, the pace of a big city is a bit different.  And I really hope school wise, 2014 is a much better year for our family. (We were only too happy to see the back of 2013!)

I hope wherever your Festive Season took you, you have some great memories of family and your boys to carry with you into 2014.  Or maybe you have the excitement of some family plans for the coming year? I’d love to hear about them.  Much love, Kim x

Happy 2014 to You and Your Families

Out with the old, in with the new...

Out with the old, in with the new…

Happy New Year! I wish you and your families an exceptionally good 2014.

I don’t know about you, but I am delighted to see the back of 2013! I love clean slates and we had a not-so-great 2013 in our family last year. How was yours? Better I hope! How are your boys doing?

Being a warm, loving and present parent is a full-time job and I acknowledge you fully for putting your heart and soul into it for another year. I love Mary Ann Radmacher’s quote:

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I’ll try again tomorrow”

You are courageous human beings. As parents, we all make mistakes. Other people can also positively or negatively affect your son’s life. Some days are utterly horrid, while others are not so great. Thankfully other days are exceptional. Thank you for having the courage to get up each day, yet again, and give your kids the love and attention they need from you, and for treating each day with a fresh point of view.

Raising boys is not always easy. They are demanding, energetic live wires, whose genders do not have the best reputations. But they are also wonderfully, loving, creative and utterly amazing if we treat them with the kindness, respect and gender awareness that they deserve.

I am a family coach and a mom. And what this means is that when other parent’s boys are having challenges I can be measured and objective and think things through clearly. When it does not concern one of mine I am a lot less emotional.

However, as soon as one of mine is involved the mom in me takes over. I become fierce, protective, teary, far less objective and much more sensitive.

A large part of our not-so-great year was due to the unhappiness of our oldest son in his Grade 2 year. So, my apologies for not blogging too much last year. He was struggling at school. Continue reading

My Family Screen Time Contract

First it was just TV, now its gaming consoles and iPads. It seems as if screens are everywhere in modern day parenting and as a parent its a constant battle to monitor the time they spend on them. Then I just need to write off any kind of constructive attention when they have a screen in front of them, cos like my hubby with sport on the TV, they can’t seem to hear a word I say. Grrr!

I was inspired by a contract I found by Rosalind Wiseman, author of the newly released and must-read book on boys, Ringleaders & Sidekicks and the bestselling, Queen Bees and Wannabes on girls. I have made few adjustments to our family and thought I’d share it:

My Family Screen & Gaming Rules

The following is understood to be true:

When I play/watch etc., I have no ability to accurately tell how long I have been doing so. Therefore I will not say, “What?!!? I’ve only been on for a few minutes!” when a parent tells me my screen time is done.

I won’t constantly ask if I can have screen time if my mom or dad has said “No”.

Nor will I reply with “Why?” Continue reading

Why God Made Little Boys

God made a world out of his dreams,
Of magic mountains, oceans and streams,
Prairies, plains and wooded land,
Then paused and thought, “I need someone to stand,
On top of the mountains, to conquer the seas,
Explore the plains and climb the trees,
Someone to start off small and grow,
Sturdy and strong like a tree” and so
He created boys, full of spirit and fun,
To explore and conquer, to romp and run
With dirty faces, and banged up chins
With courageous hearts and boyish grins,
And when He had completed the task He’d begun,
He surely said, “That’s a job well done.”

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Surely boys must be some of the most magical creatures out there? I am constantly entranced by the way our boys find fun in everything, their energy levels never waning or sagging for a second; until at last night comes and their head hit their pillows and they lie there entranced in their latest bedtime story – currently the fantastic “Erik and The Vikings” by Terry Jones – where the adventures continue in their heads, before they fall fast asleep.

Any mom who lives with this boy energy has to find new ways to entertain and occupy this energy in healthy ways everyday, lest it fall into mischief. Each night, when you put your boys to bed, Moms, please acknowledge yourselves for “a job well done”! It’s not easy Raising our boys to be Good Men, but it’s definitely worth it.

Dirty Fun

The Gurian Summer Institute – Colorado Springs July ’12

Gurian Summer Institute Blog

I recently attended the Gurian Summer Institute in Colorado Springs.  What a treat! I am a serial academic. I love to learn! And that week was such a wonderful learning experience for me.

The Summer Institute is held every year and its aim is to share the latest gender based research with teachers, therapists and even parents, ensuring that we are up-to-date.  Experts in the field of learning and gender are invited to speak at the three day conference. This year’s star lineup was:

  • Michael Gurian – nature-based gender psychologist and author of “The Wonder of Boys, How Boys and Girls Learn Differently, Teaching Strategies for Boys and 20+ other titles,
  • Michael Thompson – a more nurture-based psychologist, focused on the emotional development of boys, and bestselling author of “Raising Cain”, “It’s a Boy!” and “Homesick & Happy”,
  • Jeffrey Wilhelm – teacher, bestselling author and riveting speaker on how we can best inspire our boys (and girls) to love learning and have a mind of inquiry. His bestselling books include “Reading Don’t Fix No Chevvys”, “Going With The Flow” and “Engaging Readers and Writers With Inquiry”.
  • Some of the Gurian Institute trainers also gave some very interesting and insightful talks on the last day and a half of the Institute. I attended Rob Kodama’s talk on “Becoming A Man” where he detailed a 9-week class he offered seniors at his school in California.

The speakers were incredible. I had not heard of Jeffrey Wilhelm before and I was blown away by his talk. He spoke with unbelievable passion about how it is our “implied social contract” as teachers (parents and coaches etc) to find a way to teach our boys the various set works and prescribed curriculum in a way that stimulates them and leaves them wanting to know more. Inspiring inquiring minds! Not simply plodding through the work and requiring it back in a rote-style fashion.

In my next few blogs I hope to convey some of my best learnings from the week there.

I am excited to share that I concluded my three-day conference with an additional two days certifying as a Gurian Institute Trainer. I am the first such trainer in South Africa and look forward to sharing the Institute’s latest research with you in workshops, conferences and speaking engagements. Please let me know if you have a group at your school or in your community who would be interested in hearing the latest research about boys, who they innately are, what they need and how you as parents, coaches, therapists and teachers can help them.

Boys need a revolution! Ke nako! (The time is now…)