Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In the trenches - communicating with boys

I recently read a post by the Blog Antagonist about being the mother of boys and the problems with communication. I read every word of what she had to say and couldn’t help but laugh because I understood exactly what she was saying.

Yesterday I had a gripe at hubby at the way he communicated something to me. It wasn’t what he said that irritated me but the choice of words and his timing. He fails to see why I was upset by it. Ringing me at work an hour before I was due to leave and venting his anger about something one of our boys had done was unnecessary. He could have waited until I got home and also phrased it better so I didn’t feel like it was my problem (which it wasn’t).

But here in lies the problem because males and females are different. I’m a total sap and emotion guides a lot of my communication (for good or for bad) whereas males tend to be more factual and logical and don’t often consider the way the message is received. They know what they mean after all.

This is the same with my boys, at night I want to talk to them about their day, what’s happening, how are things – gees it’s like pulling teeth. They’re getting better because I refuse to give in and will talk to them until I get the answers that satisfy me. It's not about forcing them or cornering them to get answers, but building trust with them so that they feel comfortable talking to me. Hubby often makes the remark ‘well, why did they tell you that and not me’. Ah hello, different communication styles.

Communication in our house can sometimes be difficult for that reason and has to be worked at. Often I have to ‘interpret’ hubby’s message for the boys. He always comments ‘but that’s what I meant’, yes that’s what you meant but that’s not the message that you gave. My hubby has a heart of gold and always means well but can be very frustrating when he doesn’t understand that it’s not only what you say but how you say it.

I've found the best conversations with my boys are when we are doing something else, for some reason I think it removes any threat or discomfort about talking openly. Driving in the car is the best and is quite often where we have some of our best conversations.

I do find it hard to deal with the boy way of communicating sometimes, my boys often communicate with a punch or a thump which is frustrating in itself but often that’s what boys do and five minutes later the issue is resolved. I listen to my hubby and his mates and they can get into rousing discussions and I wonder how they remain friends with some of the things that are said.

Having said that though, most of my close friends through high school were males because the one thing they were good at doing was saying it as it was. There’s no bitchiness or cat fighting in discussions with males, sure they may not necessarily say it in the right way but at least they come straight out and say it. You know where you stand and it’s to your face not behind your back.

Maybe I have the wrong take on it, but would love to hear your opinions on communicating with males. Is it easier when you have daughters?

Cheers, Fi

The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives ~ Anthony Robbins


  1. HAving had daughters -- one communicates openly -- the other best when doing other things -- like driving in the car.

    I agree -- there is a big difference, but our personality also affects how we communicate.

    I think what's important is how you are so persistent and caring in wanting to connect -- that makes a world of difference!

    Yeah for you Fi. your boys are blessed.

  2. Louise - I think you and I have a mutual admiration society going here.

    I love reading your blog and reading your comments because it reinforces my belief that what I'm doing is right (you help drown out that little voice that sometimes niggles and says maybe you're doing it wrong)

    Thank you for being you :-)

  3. Having had both of boys and girls...I would say my 12 yr old son will communicate with me more than my 18 yr old. My 18 yr old daugther dances to her own beat and we are so much alike sometimes we do not end up communicating very well at all. While the 12 yr old and I we talk all the time and he really listens most of the time. My husband is the same way with regard to he will say something and I will have to repeat what he said to see if that is really what he meant. Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus. LOL...

  4. ok, i'm the outsider here....

    as a male, i never sugar coated what i had to say, blowing my chances at any possible career in diplomacy...
    but people indeed know what i think. the reason perhaps men can tell each other off and still remain friends is perhaps a deeper sense of respect, accepting the flaws instead of focusing on them, and being compelled to fix those... like me, my friends, males and females, have their won flaws, just like me, and i love them for it. if they were SO perfect, it would be kind of intimidating. i have no illusion as to who they are, and they see me as i am also.

    am i making sense here, or do i need a translator?!?

    you are meant to be a nag, you're the mom. they'll thank you later for it.


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