How This Boy Mom Is Purposefully Raising A Healthy Man

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Taking kids to the doctor is a must for raising healthy kids. For boy moms, there is an added layer of important parenting tips that are under discussed.

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Taking Kids To The Doctor

Whether we are good schedulers or not, taking kids to the doctor is something that we just do. It is a routine part of keeping our kids healthy today. On VProud, there is an amazing conversation by Dr. Deborah Gilboa about this added component: taking kids to the doctor today is creating and teaching healthy habits for later. We want our kids to keep going to the doctor as they get older and we are, in essence, teaching them how to do so when they are young. Mother and writer Bonnie Jean Feldkamp reflects on this topic from the lens of being a boy mom. She insightfully notes that boys are rarely taken to the doctor by men, giving them the nonverbal, and dangerous, cue that adult men don't go to the doctor. We love Bonnie's insights and advice on how to purposefully raise healthy boys who will become healthy men and think that you will, too.

—The VProud Team

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Boys Need Doctors Too

By Bonnie Jean Feldkamp for VProud

Women are 100% more likely to visit the Doctor for annual preventative care according to As we wind down on this year’s “Movember,” a hairy month designated to boost men’s health awareness, let’s talk about how to help our men, and our little men, be wise about their health. Keeping our dads and sons healthy, is important to us.

Tough Guy

Men are tough. That’s the stereotype. Yes, we live in a different era and we understand gender equality, but we are also still aware that a man has a very specific vision of his masculinity. The humbling experience of submitting to a physical exam can mean admitting that you’re vulnerable. According to two of the top five reasons men don’t go to the Doctor are: Denial, “I’m fine, it’s merely flesh wound. Where’s the superglue and duct tape?” and Invincibility, “I’ll tough it out, who needs a doctor for a little blurred vision? If I close one eye, I see just fine! I’m sure it’ll pass.”

Women’s Work

Medical issues are perceived as a woman’s issue. Women are the stereotypical nurturers of the family. This is a good thing for Dads because statistics also show that men who have female encouragement from a girlfriend, wife or mother are more likely to receive the preventative care recommended. The bad news is that for little men this reinforces the perception that health is a woman’s issue. The Los Angeles Times reported that mom or grandma almost always accompany boys when they go to the doctor, not Dad or Grandpa.

To further emphasize this impression, as they get older, boys see women reach puberty and go off to their "girlie doctor" for an annual exam. Boys don’t have an equivalent ‘right of passage’ for maturing. Then, we look at look at our grown-up men when they turn forty and say, “It’s time to start your annual prostate exam.” And through the booming laughter your mature man looks at you and says, “I don’t think so.”

Think about it. Girls learn at an early age that a pelvic exam and pap smear are necessary screenings to ensure good female health. Yes, there are fifteen million other things a woman would rather do with her day then visit the gynecologist. But a woman also understands it may save her life and that a few minutes of an uncomfortable exam is worth it. For our manly men the process of initiating their annual prostate exam is going to feel just as invasive as our first time at the OB/GYN. This is where a woman’s nurturing comes in handy. A woman can empathize with her grown-up man and tell him that it’s a little worse than the typical, “Turn your head and cough” routine but the whole thing is over in a few minutes and it will help keep him home safe with his loved ones for many more years.

Help Your Sons 

Now, what about the little men who go off to the doctor’s with mommy all the time? How do we help him now and create the lasting impression that men’s health is important too? Try to mix it up. Ask a grown-up man in your little guy’s life to take him for his annual check up, or even to the dentist for their regular cleaning appointment. These little impressions go a long way. Call it a healthy boy’s day or an uncle John manly day, whatever works. Start paving the road to better health for all of the men in your life. Who knows? Maybe they can serve as good examples for each other. Little man may even inspire the grown-up man to go for his important check-up too.

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About the author: Bonnie Jean Feldkamp has worked as a freelance writer for parenting publications since 2001, publishing service journalism as well as personal essays. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Motherlode column and Brain, Child Magazine. She writes a weekly blog for new and expectant moms on the retail site She's also a frequent features contributor to Cincinnati Family Magazine. Other publications that have published her work include: Staten Island Parent, Vancouver Family Magazine, Space City Parent, Orlando Family, and more. She is also a wife and mother of three children. Join Bonnie's honest conversations on VProud.

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Parents not needed: Can kids learn to take themselves to the doctor?

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