What I Have Learned About Mothering Boys

Frequently as a mom, I soar up into the stratosphere of thinking that I know it all and then I plummet into the realization that I might know nothing at all about parenting boys.

Recently, I was telling a friend that my twenty year old has gone off and made many decisions over the past year or two that I didn’t see coming, my eighteen year old is experimenting with sapphire blue hair, and my sixteen year old is trying to be the best version of himself that he can be. I explained to my friend that some of the choices that the older boys are making were not how I raised them to be.

Her response was, “didn’t you?’

“Umm no. I raised them to make other choices, more straight laced looking choices.”

She still disagreed. She explained that I have raised my boys to be who they want to be. She told me that I raised them with the courage to be different. She informed me that I praised their artistic gifts and I allowed them to branch out and explore their creativity.

I believe that hair is just hair. I have always preferred to cut my boys hair in a classic boy cut, a style that looks good on them. When my oldest was in the last week of 7th grade, he really wanted a faux hawk and I let him get one. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was the last week of school and it was just hair. Hair grows back. My middle son loves his long blue hair. I personally think it looks a little like a My Little Pony mane and I want to braid it.  I know eventually it will fade, turn green, and we can have it changed back to blonde.

My youngest son is a level 10 gymnast. Some of the boys on his team quit a few years ago because they were teased for being gymnasts. This has never bothered my son. He is strong and talented. He has the courage to be himself and chase his dreams.

Isn’t this one of the most important things we can teach our boys? To be true to themselves. In a world that wants to change the way they act with drugs, shaming, and fear. Hug your boys and let them spread their wings. There isn’t a one mold fits all in life. We need the doctors, soldiers, artists, dentists, and garbage men. We need all of them.

So love your boys! I wish that I could go back and love mine more. I don’t remember teaching them to express themselves with tattoos, earrings, or blue hair. Honestly, I still hope some of that is temporary expressions of self, but I love them and I’m proud of them. Just as they are.


Bonnie Parnell is a mom of 3 amazing, difficult, active, (every verb you can think of), growing boys. They have lived in California and now are in Georgia. Bonnie blogs about her boys and journey as a mom on her blog https://burntbridgesandscorchedgumbo.wordpress.com and on her Facebook page Mom of boys. Some days a meme is all it takes to take the edge off! Bonnie works as a prop assistant and actor in the film business. This is partly to pursue her passion, partly as an escape, and partly for the pay check. Bonnie has noticed since her boys were young that they were like a pack of wolves, either hunting each other for trouble or hunting her as a pack. Bonnie is a big believer in taking pictures of the time they paint the kitchen in flour, supporting their dream of building a half pipe in the back yard, and may have allowed one to dye his hair blue once, but that’s a long funny story.

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