What exactly DO boys need from Mom? I know how crucial a dad (or other father figure) in a boy’s life is, but what about Mom? I have four boys, and it was a steep learning curve for me to figure out what my boys needed most from me as their mom.
I am always trying to find ways to connect with my four boys. I took them out for special treats. A coffee/pop date. I would sit across from them at the table while they were doing school and would try to engage them in conversation. After months of this and not getting anywhere close to connecting to their hearts, I realized something so profound.
Boys/girls and men/women are different! Shocking, I know! But true!
As a woman, I enjoy sitting across from someone having a conversation, whether we are having coffee at a local Starbucks, eating a bagel at Panera or devouring an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen. I could sit there for hours just talking about everything and anything. Boys/young men are not wired the same way. Duh!
What has worked for me and my boys to connect heart to heart with me is to come in through the back door. The following are some ways I used the back door method to get them to open up to me and to encourage them.
Boys Need Side-by-Side Activity
Do an activity WITH them. Don’t just sit across a table and expect them to pour out their hearts like we can. Maybe it’s the intensity of looking at each other that inhibits the male species to open up. Most females are more in tune with how they are feeling at any given moment. Males? Not so much! If I was doing dishes WITH one of my boys, it seemed to prime the pump, and we could talk and talk — at least until the chore was done. We had some of the best conversations while we were doing dishes together.
Nature hikes are another fabulous way to connect with your boys. I was hiking with my youngest one day when he really opened up his heart about school. He was in kindergarten at the time. We found a nice boulder to climb and sit on when he opened up and confessed, “Mom, I really don’t want to go to college or first grade!” LOL! He had a heavy heart about college — probably because his older brother would be leaving for college within a matter of months at that point. I always said, “Give a boy a stick, a trail and a wandering stream and they’ll bare their souls to you.”
Boys Need Room to Make Mistakes and to Grow
Be that soft place for them to land if they make a mistake. Allow them to process things out loud. As boys get into their teenage years, your role as mom is more of an influencer and a sounding board. Unlike when they were infants and even in elementary school, we no longer make every decision for them. Our sons need to know that we are still their biggest fans and cheerleaders even if they make mistakes.
Toward the end of his junior year in high school, one of my boys told me a couple of his friends asked if he wanted to get an apartment during their senior year. I about came unglued, but the Holy Spirit gave me the immediate insight to shut my mouth. I simply asked, “What do you think about that?” My normal reaction would have been to raise my voice and give him 21 reasons why living in an apartment his senior year was stupid and would not work. Instead, I let him process that out loud with me. He came to his own conclusion that it really would not be that great of an idea after all. If I would have said what I wanted to say, I would have shut him down, and he wouldn’t want to talk anymore. That one conversation would have stifled any further ones about his hopes, dreams and ideas.
Boys Need An Example of a Godly Woman/Wife
Whether we like it or not, our children are constantly watching us. They are watching us to see how to do life. As moms, we are our boys’ first and most important examples of what a godly woman/wife should look like.
Regretfully, one day, I must have been a little snippy with my husband, and one of my boys must have witnessed it. Later he said, “Mom, did you know that in Colonial Days if you were to talk like that to Dad, you would have been tarred and feathered?”
I felt an immediate pain in my heart that I disrespected their dad in front of them. I didn’t know he was even paying attention, but he was. And that five-minute conversation with my husband spoke volumes to his little heart. God will teach our boys what a godly woman/wife is like. That is not the question. The question is: How will God use us? Will He use us as an example of how NOT to be? Or will He use us as an example in how to be a godly woman/wife?
Our boys hear what we are saying, but more importantly, they watch how we live life. Serve your husband with a smile. Be respectful in your tone toward him. Praise your husband in front of your boys.
These are just a few ways a mom can be there for their boys! There are others, too, but these are the ones I’ve experienced firsthand. Being a Boy Mom has been one of my greatest privileges in life. I love it! I’m not saying I’ve done everything perfectly, but I’ve loved the process of seeing them grow into manhood.
You were handpicked to be your boys’ mom! Never doubt that!
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