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Multi-Tasking: Do we ask too much of boys?

Most boys are not multi-taskers. Their brains are simply not designed that way.

Yet, as they enter middle school and high school – before their brains are fully developed to handle a wide array of tasks – we’re asking them to juggle many different expectations every single day. We want them to be top-notch at multi-tasking.

Think about it.
boys taking a lap
By middle school, boys have:

  • Multiple classes – each with assignment priorities (Each teacher claiming their assignment is the most important!)
  • Multiple teachers – each with different rules and personalities, expectations and procedures
  • Multiple assignments – both short-term and long-term with quizzes and testing thrown in

He’s also thinking about other things:

  • Social life
  • Peer pressure
  • Girls
  • Sports
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Video games and screen time
  • Social media and texting

Add some family expectations:

  • Chores
  • Family time
  • Siblings
  • Study time

 

THEN, top it all off with a big, huge dose of:  PUBERTY!

His brain and body are experiencing a complete re-boot. He may be more disorganized, more clumsy, and more forgetful than ever before!

If you haven’t done it before, now is the time to help him implement workable systems.

You know your son best.

  • Is he visual? Get him a big wall calendar and help him map out his assignments, practices, etc.
  • Is he kinesthetic? Get a magnetic board, colorful tabs and post notes that he can move around.

Don’t expect that he will automatically understand how to track and follow-through with a new system. Give it time. Let him practice. Let him fail. Give him your guidance from “arm’s length.”

You are helping him to learn and instill habits that will help him in college and life. He didn’t learn to walk overnight, don’t expect him to learn this overnight, either.

Cut the Pressure

If you begin too early to talk about how essential his grades are for getting into college he will shut down.

We both know that he does need good grades but reminding him constantly will only cause him to withdraw and tune you out.

Rather, keep college as a family value from a young age. Keep it in your conversations and he will know that it is your end-goal for him. Hopefully, it will be for him, too.

At puberty, the brain and body are doing a complete re-boot, which means he will develop “unevenly.” He may be flying ahead in academics and be far behind in his social development. It may be years before his brain and body catch up to each other. For most males, that will be 25- to 30-years old.

So just because he looks capable from the outside (and indeed he may put up a good front) recognize that he needs help. Step in and guide him – but do not do for him what he can do for himself!

You’re not raising a boy, you’re raising a man –

and the world needs you to do that well! ~anon.


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