Loving our children comes easy for most of us, but is how we show our kids love translating to their love language? In other words, is their understanding of your love, what you’re intending it to be?
Most moms, when it comes to their boys, have a special bond - I know I do with my sons. There is a reason the problematic mother-in-law has become reality for a lot of women who have married men that have a “good” relationship with their moms. Mom’s are protective over their sons, just like a father to his daughter. But there is an unhealthy “bond” that we need to be aware of, and it can begin to form when they’re young.
Loving our son’s doesn’t mean smothering them, doing everything for them, or always and forever being the apple of their eye. Sure, some of you may want to hold them close and NEVER let them go from the moment they are born. We want to give, do, and be everything they need. But just remember, that is NOT what they need, and frankly put, you will, in the long run, be hindering them in many ways.
Our maturity in this will make all the difference in their life. If there is one thing you take from this - as a mom, you have a lot of power in how your son see’s himself.
Being a parent holds a lot of responsibility. You will, on some days, fail miserably. But that’s okay, because one of the first things your son needs from you, is for you to admit when you’re wrong.
He needs you to admit it when you’re wrong.
If there is one thing I have learned from parenting, it’s that I am not perfect. I screw up…probably on a daily basis. But if I want for my son to recognize and realize he doesn’t always need to be perfect, then I need to show him that I am most definitely NOT.
I don’t remember at what age I started implementing this into our parenting, but I think it was around when he began to learn how to take responsibility for his own actions. By modeling an apology and showing him what it means to be sorry, then he can for himself, learn this. Not only does an apology teach them to take responsibility, if we teach them correctly, they can, from this, learn that it’s okay to fail.
Why does he need this from you?
If you can start thinking into your sons future, think of how the things you teach him, will someday benefit his life. In this instance, teaching him humility and acceptance in the fact that he won’t always be perfect, will enable him to have humility in his friendships, employment, marriage, and fatherhood. Why is humility good? Well, simply put, if he has humility, many good characteristics will follow suit .
Selflessness, courage, kindness, respect, honesty, and many other qualities all stem from humility.
In 1 Peter form the bible, we are reminded…”All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. “
Your son will be able to accept that he isn’t perfect, as well as take responsibility for his actions, from us as his mother, admitting when you are wrong.
Humility isn’t hating yourself or feeling guilty for every mistake you make. Guilt should never be a motivation to get your child to do something you want them to. Rather, humility is learning that in this life, we will experience more joy when we put others before ourselves. It is freedom from pride or arrogance. It is accepting your circumstances, no-matter what. It’s admitting that you don’t always have the answers, and that’s okay.
2. He needs you to let him go.
One of the hardest things about being a parent, is knowing that you ultimately aren’t in control of your child’s well being, or life. Because of the strong love that we are equipped with to love our children how they need, we are also faced with a struggle alongside that beckons a very real fear that they could be taken away at any moment.
The very thought of my child being taken away, hurt, or killed, burns a fire inside of me so hot that if I let it linger, I might just explode in agony. If you are a mom, you know this feeling. Many days, I struggle to say, ‘God, yes, you are in control, and that’s okay,' because I know that God could allow for my son to die, or get sick, at any moment. It’s terrifying. And to say that I succeed in this everyday, would be a lie.
In my selfishness, I want always and forever for my children to never suffer. But ultimately, that’s not up to me.
This also ties into a less heavier aspect, and that’s letting go of him when it comes to everyday things. A boy needs to experience adventure, and when we continually want to keep him safe, he won’t be able to. Within reason, it’s important for our sons to fall down, get a scrape, venture out on his own, etc. Helicopter parenting is a very real problem. If we surrender our children to the fact that we are not in control of everything that happens to them, we will experience a lot of freedom, as well as help them to make choices for themselves, and learn the consequences of those choices.
3. He needs you to affirm him in what he wants to do, not what you want him to do.
Whether your son loves sports and is more athletic, or they enjoy art and are creative, it’s very important that we nurture what they love to do, and not try and mold them into what we want them to be. There is some weird stigma in culture, especially Christian culture, that says that boys shouldn’t be creative minded, or cook, or become a dancer because it’s too feminine.
Nurture what he loves to do. Take masculine or feminine out of the picture when it comes to what they want to do, but at the same time, don’t disregard their DNA. In a genderless era, we also, as mothers, have to nurture their natural born gender. But in my opinion, that has nothing to do with whether they become a firefighter or singer.
4. He needs you to model your faith, not force it.
I came up with a quote, and it goes like this.
A lot of mothers are seeing the effects of our decomposing world and freaking out. I know, because I do it, too. But what will your son gain from your fear of what’s changing in the world? Instead of reacting to society and culture heading in a downward spiral with hate and anger, we need to rise above, and take action tactfully.
Calm down, because the things that are happening are nothing new under the sun. There is still hope. Also, we need to make their environment of faith and spirituality in the home, a safe place for them.
Too many in my generation have fallen away from God for many reasons, one of them being legalism in the home and the church. When we make their faith about rules and must-do’s, instead of a very conscious choice for themselves, we are robbing them of the very beautiful gift of free will that Jesus himself died for.
The action of living out their faith, is an adult event. The decision of salvation is a monumental decision in their life, and whether they do that when they are 5, or 10, they will not be able to comprehend the extent and depth of their faith until they are older.
This is why nurturing their faith at an appropriate age, with appropriate measures, will make all the difference for their future choice to follow Jesus.
Whatever this looks like for you, make sure that fostering their spiritual life is not forceful, but nurturing. One way we can do this is by modeling our faith. Our children watch us with open eyes.
Here are a few ways you can implement spiritual direction for their life, without forcing it.
family devotional where it’s an open table to share your heart, struggles, and gratitude.
praying together - encouraging them to pray, yet not forcing.
bedtime prayer and story time
One thing that we are trying to implement in our bedtime routine for our 8-year-old, is talking about the good and hard things that happened that day, as well as what we are thankful for. This puts their mind towards positive thinking, and then prayer follows with gratitude towards God for the good, and acceptance for the hard.
5. He needs you to model what healthy woman looks like
Oh brother, I have failed at this one miserably on many occasions. My depression has been an up and down battle for me, and unfortunately my older son was aware of it when it happened. There are certain things you can’t change or take back, but you can always begin to implement the healthy back in, at any point.
Your son might marry someone who is similar to you. It’s just how things work, which is why for you to be healthy, makes it all the more important.
A healthy woman emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. Whatever that means for you to do that, do it. Being a healthy person is not only for your own good, but also your family. You cannot pour from an empty cup, nor can you model what a healthy woman is to your son, if you aren’t one yourself.
Being a mother is a selfless act, in and of itself. You will, on most days, come last, and that’s okay. It comes with the job. And the sooner you realize that, the better you can experience joy in it, and not frustration. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t nurture or take care of yourself, but rather, from you being healthy, you can better serve and protect your family the way they need.
Your son needs you, and will need you until the day you die. He doesn’t need you to keep him from everything hard, or coddle his every step, but rather he needs you to be healthy for yourself, and also for him.
A mom and her son is a bond that no one can break. Be very careful with this privilege, as it is indeed a privilege. We have so much power in how our son will see himself, decide who his future bride is, and make his decision to follow Jesus. Empower him, but don’t coddle him. Protect him, but don’t do everything for him. Point him in the direction he should go, but don’t take him there. That’s God’s job.