By Danny Huerta, PSYD, MSW, LCSW, LSSW
As a mother, you can provide advice, encouragement, and love to your son. Explore the 13 essential lessons moms can teach their sons to create positive and long-lasting momentum in their lives.
A mother’s influence has a unique and long-lasting ripple effect in the life of her son, good and bad. The engaged and active presence of a mom in a boy’s life can instill within him foundational security and courageous confidence. But the absence of a mom in a man’s life can leave him aimless, self-destructive, disconnected, and searching for comfort. However, there is hope to cultivate godly characteristics through these essential lessons to teach your sons.
“My son, keep your father’s command, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching. Always bind them to your heart, tie them around your neck” – Proverbs 6:20-21.
Proverbs 6:22-23 goes on to say, “when you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you. For a command is a lamp, a teaching is a light, and corrective discipline is the way to life.”
Notice that it says, “teaching is a light”. What are you teaching your son? What an amazing invitation to bring life to your son through your teaching and guiding along the way.
My mom has had a long-lasting impact on my life, and I have enjoyed watching my wife love and guide our son for the past 18 years. I have also had the privilege of working with hundreds of moms on strengthening and/or repairing their relationships with their sons.
There is a special dynamic between a mom and her son. I’ve learned most moms do their best to deeply love their sons. But unfortunately, many miss out on intentionally providing their sons with important everyday lessons along the way.
Essential Lessons to Teach Your Son
In today’s culture, your son experiences a variety of stress and difficulties. As a mother, you can provide comfort, support, and love to your son. Explore these 13 essential lessons moms can teach their sons.
1. Safety and Affection
A mother’s affection changes her child’s brain development. In fact, research out of Duke University Medical School found a mother’s affection leads to less stress and anxiety and more happiness and resilience in her children.
Keep in mind that affection comes through both touch and words; hugs and encouragement. You can provide your son with life-giving words in a world that wants to define him by his performance. Help him know his worth as your son through your unconditional affection.
2. How to be Sensitive
From applying band-aids to taking care of bugs and enjoying gardens, moms can bring warmth to the world around them and relief to difficult and cold moments.
Teach your son how to be sensitive to other people’s thoughts, ideas, and emotions. You can also teach him to notice and appreciate beauty in his surroundings.
Mom, you get to teach your son about the words “yes” and “no.” Help him learn how to have healthy boundaries toward himself and others. You get to model and teach him about respect through the world of boundaries.
4. Meaningful Conversations with Girls
Teach your son how to listen attentively and ask questions. As a mom, you can patiently model and teach what it means to have meaningful conversations with women.
Your son can learn from you what it means to have a conversational relationship with God. Interestingly, moms tend to be more consistent in prayer than men.
And boys need to learn they can trust and rely on God. They don’t have to carry the world on their shoulders. Prayer develops humility, vulnerability, empathy, and relational skills in men.
6. Reading God’s Word
As a mom, you play an essential role in your son’s spiritual development. Help him learn to love God’s word. Boys can learn to engage with certain pieces of scripture as they learn to trust and find strength in and through God’s word.
7. Gentleness and Strength
Teach your son the strength of gentleness, which is strength with self-control. Help him learn self-control from an early age. Boys are active and have plenty of opportunities to learn what it means to have self-control, and self-control has been proven to be a predictor of future relational and professional success.
Teach your son that wisdom is more precious than riches and that it is important to cultivate discernment in decision-making. learn how to reach for the better thought. Boys can learn about self-control and decision-making through their mom’s patient pursuit of the better thought or decision.
9. Competition and Comparison
Help your son learn to be confident in who he is and that he does not need to act tough or be the strongest, the most successful, and/or the most powerful to have worth and love.
Help him feel valued by who he is instead of by what he does or accomplishes. Encourage him to pursue excellence and victory for growth and excitement rather than worth and love.
10. Leadership and Humility
There are plenty of arrogant and self-serving people in the world today. Moms can teach their sons the attractiveness and strength of humility. Genuine humility is a key ingredient in a person’s healthy character development and tends to lead to success relationally and professionally.
In fact, it is a foundational trait. Teach him what it means to love out of a humble heart and how freeing it is to be teachable and able to laugh at yourself when it makes sense to do so.
11. How to Handle Weakness
Weakness gives opportunity for the growth of humility and the strengthening of a person’s outlook, grit, and character. Weakness truly has the capacity for someone to be made strong.
This is an essential lesson for boys as they move toward manhood in a culture that teaches them power and strength results in manhood. Give him reassurance of his manhood when he handles weakness well.
12. Emotions and Feelings
Teach your son to be comfortable having and talking about his and other’s emotions and feelings. Moms tend to have closer emotional bonds with their kids than fathers. They also tend to be more attuned to emotions and effective in communication their feelings.
13. Respect in Relationships
Your son learns what it means to have respect in a male-female relationship through his relationship with you. Teach him about listening, being patient, and responding instead of reacting in his relationships.
Next Steps for Moms and Sons
These are just a few lessons moms can bring as a gift to their sons and their sons’ future relationships. Use these lessons to teach your sons how to cultivate their character in God’s image. I’m sure you could add a few more lessons, but this will hopefully get you started on intentionally investing in and guiding your son toward growth and healthy relationships.
© 2021 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published at focusonthefamily.com.