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Five things parents should know about raising ten-year-old boys

How lucky we are, those who are mums to ten-year-old boys. Blessed be their stench and their beautiful, pure hearts as they start to pull away from their mother’s apron strings, and their heartstrings, stretching them and preparing us for the day those strings snap, and they leave.

Head and shoulders, front on portrait of a blonde-haired ten year old boy.
Life according to ten-year-olds

A bit dramatic? Yes. And thankfully, that day, my friends, is still a gloriously long way away. So while our boys ramp up the attitude and try different personalities on for size, the sweet, sweet boys we know and love are still their dominant personalities. But there are just a few things you need to know about ten-year-old boys:

1) Penis, penis, penis

I say sorry in advance, but…yes, you will need to be prepared to talk a lot about penises…or doodles, willies, pee-pees, or any other name by which you know that appendage. It’s true, little boys remain fascinated by them. The fascination never wanes.

Young teenage boy isolated on white laughing behind his hand
He said, ‘doodle’!

And the moment you think you’ve covered every possible conversation regarding the subject along comes the emergence of the first ‘pee-pee hair’! Then it becomes a weekly rolling coverage scenario. Be prepared, I say, and you can start by reading up on the things mums need to know about penises.

2) Always know who your favourites are

Favourite what, you ask? Exactly! Favourite EVERYTHING! You need to be aware that your ten-year-old boy will need to know your favourite Marvel superhero, favourite car, favourite ice cream, favourite movie, favourite dog, or favourite food.

They will ask this of you and give you no more than three seconds to analyse and decide. So have your answers ready to go.

Child in a super hero outfit
I can fly!

You will also need to know which three superpowers you wish to have should the opportunity ever arise. Please note that strength is always a contender, as is laser eyes to blow stuff up.

Never pass up the power of invisibility, although in some situations, the ability to fly will trump invisibility. These situations need to be discussed with some seriousness. Do not take this lightly.

Turn discussing some of your favourite things into a fun afternoon activity using this printable list.

3) They have the memory of an elephant

Believe them when they say they do not have number nineteen in a series of forty-eight books. They know every book, every chapter, every page. I know they all look the same but trust me, they know.

The little blighters have memories like elephants, which can be really annoying when you’re in the mall and walk past Donut King, and they remind you about that time you promised them a donut if they cleaned their room.

Like, I’m sure I did actually say that, but it was for blackmail purposes, not actual purposes. And be careful about how many times you use the blackmail method. They will catch on and start using it against you.

African American teen boy eating colourful donuts
Mmmm, donuts!

Getting back to books…for ideas on books your kiddo doesn’t already have, check out this list of the fifty best book series for kids aged 8-12.

4) Gamesplaining, a stepping stone to mansplaining

You’ve heard of ‘mansplaining’, yes? You are in a ten-year-old boy world now…welcome to ‘gamesplaining’. Saying you’re not into gaming won’t matter. If you are in the car together, stuck at the traffic lights, he has you hostage, and he knows it.

He will commence a mind-numbing exposè into the ‘5Ws’ of whatever game he is into that week.

Back view of a little boy playing video game in the dark room
I can’t wait to tell mum about this game!

Like I said, saying you’re not into gaming won’t matter. Just grin and bear it and fill the far too infrequent pauses with an ‘uhuh’ as though you care, when in fact, all you are thinking about is when in God’s name this light will turn green.

If you want to impress your little gamer, brush up on your gaming knowledge by listening to Gamesplaining! on Apple Podcasts.

5) He loves you and needs you

But here is the most important thing you need to know. Despite your son’s best efforts at being strong and brave when life is not so kind, inside, they are still a ten-year-old boy who loves you and needs you. The Mother-son relationship is oh so important and it evolves over the years.

Head and shoulders shot of mother and son with grapevines in the background
I am one lucky mum.

Enjoy these short days where his head fits neatly under your chin and his arms only just stretch around your waist. It won’t be long before the tables are turned, and he is resting his chin on your head as you wrap your arms around his skinny-arse waist and try once again to re-tie those darn apron strings that keep coming undone.

Original photos by Sarah Cathie