The Secret Language of Boys: Learning to Really Hear Them


Boy, (noun) noise with dirt on it

As a mom of boys I ask you, could there be a more accurate definition? The most spoken language in my household seems to be from a foreign country called Sound Effects. It feels as if there is a record on repeat of EVERY. SINGLE. SOUND EFFECT. From every action movie EVER made. Do I even need to mention the sounds of bodily functions that send them into hysterics? From the moment boys wake up until they close their eyes, noise and dirt seem to follow them wherever they may go.

secret language of boysHowever, there is also a hidden vulnerable secret boy language waiting to be heard. I’m not sure if it’s wired in their DNA or the pressures of the world, but boys aren’t as open with their feelings as girls. So how do we get our boys to open up to us?

  • Create a safe space for them to be their most authentic selves. Letting go of YOUR perception and expectations of who and what they should be frees you from disappointment and them from shame. Some boys will be athletic, or artistic and creative, while others may be academic. When we allow them to be curious and free to explore their own person, they will feel more apt to be vulnerable in sharing their deepest hurts and feelings.
  • Get excited and interested in what they like. From my own experience, this is key. Listen, I am not into action figures or Legos or sitting for hours in football practice; however, I knew from all of my former training in education that IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. If we can show genuine interest in what lights up our boys, they will know we are genuinely interested in the more difficult things for them as well.
  • Have fun. Seems simple enough, right? When is the last time you cannonballed into the pool without fear of your hair getting wet? Or jumped on a trampoline without fear of…ehhh… ummm..wetting your britches? Or wrestled with them? Boys want to know they matter more than hair, or slight embarrassment. The last thing they want is perfection; they just want you.

A wise BOY mom must become the pupil of her son. Boys are constantly giving us cues about how they feel loved and heard by you. Most of the time, they do not want to be fixed, just heard. How do we know?

Listen and observe. Listen and observe. You’ll hear that secret language of boys.

My older son has two phrases he always uses when I know he wants to tell me his heart. “Can we go for a drive?” and “Will you take me out to eat?” Usually the conversation in these settings is light and then all of a sudden the flood gates of his heart come pouring out.  My youngest has a different way of sharing. “Mom, will you snuggle me?” Different cues, same outcome. HEAR ME. SEE ME. KNOW ME.

Have you had a peek into that secret language of boys? What are some of the ways you have learned to see your boys?


  1. This article resonates with me so strongly! As a mom of three boys (currently 16, 8, and 2) this is solid advice that I’m watching play out in my relationship with my 16 year old especially!


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