What a Boy Needs from His Father
Having a son changed my life. Parenthood causes people to deal with their innermost selfish desires. If you’re going to have a good and healthy relationship with your son, you can’t be selfish anymore. To most Dad’s, this comes naturally — some, not so much.
For me, there was an immediate trigger from the moment they were born that fired off — a feeling of wanting to protect, provide, and give my life for that tiny human. That shift in thinking does something to a man; something I will never forget.
It reminds me — how much must God love us as His children when the love for my child seems unbreakable; unrelenting and unconditional.
I heard something once. We sometimes don’t understand why God does what He does. Just as a child doesn’t understand why his father wouldn’t let him eat an unending supply of candy all at once, so does God not give us everything we want. The child in his immaturity doesn’t understand it. But the father does in his wisdom.
That analogy really hit home. Because of fatherhood, I can now understand why God allows things in my life that may seem difficult at the moment.
I have broken down what a son needs from his father into three different categories — emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The bond between a father and son is the second most important relationship a boy will have, the first being his relationship to his mother. Check out what a son needs from his mom.
The nurturing physical needs from a mother in the beginning years are the most vital to a boy or girl for healthy development. After that, the relationship will shift from always wanting mommy, to always wanting daddy. The point in time this happens is relative to the child.
Our son went through this stage at around five. I’m not negating the importance of the father in the beginning years as well — they are just as vital. But there is a certain time when the child’s needs shift from a nurturing mother to a more physical and emotional connection with the father.
These are the most important moments for a father to show up in his son’s life to meet every one of his needs — emotional, physical and spiritual.
One important note - If you had or still have a difficult relationship with your dad, the most important thing that you need to do as a father for your son, is to heal from that relationship so that you don’t continue the bad cycle in the family.
What a boy needs emotionally from his dad
All of these aspects have one thing in common — they need to be modeled in a healthy way by you.
For his entire life, your son is watching you with his big open eyes, soaking up every bit of information he can. He isn’t immediately aware of this until he reaches his later years, so while he is still moldable, be the mold — but make sure it’s a healthy one.
Affirmation in who he is
If you have had a healthy relationship with your dad, then doing this should come easy. If not, then it may be something you have to learn.
Using your words to affirm him in who he is can be as simple as, “You did an awesome job!’ or “I am so proud of you.”
But the most important affirmation you can give your son is that you love him no matter what, and you admire who he is.
Most men have a natural unconditional love for their child. But let’s delve a little deeper into what unconditional means. It means that no matter what your son does, is or who he becomes, you love him.
God loves us this way, and we are called to love others this way — especially our children.
Correction in love
Discipline is one of the least favorite aspects of being a parent. But it’s an important aspect that will shape a lot of who your son becomes. If you discipline our of anger, then you will accomplish nothing, aggravate your child, and make things worse.
If you discipline in love, then God will use that correction in his life to produce character and a healthy humility.
One of the most important things I learned as a father when it comes to discipline, is to look at the heart and not the behavior.
A child might behave a certain way based on a deeper issue — so correcting the behavior is only covering the wound with a bandaid. How this looks is pretty relative to the age and personality of your child. But whatever you’re doing, do it out of love and not anger. Address his heart and not his behavior.
What a boy needs physically from his dad
I heard somewhere that a father should wrestle with his son for at least 15 min a day as it causes vital brain development to take place.
Wresting with your son is usually something that comes naturally, but I bet you didn’t know it was just as important as breast feeding!
He also needs you to hug and hold him. The importance of physically touch is nothing new — so make sure that you’re giving your son all of the physical attention he needs. Again, it’s helping his brain develop!
Another physical aspect of being there for his needs, is show up for him physically. Do things with him! Take him camping, fishing — play with him and do what HE wants to do. Meet him where he is at while also showing him the world.
He needs someone to adventure with — why shouldn’t it be you!
What a boy needs from his dad spiritually
Model your faith, don’t force it. I am hopeful that this new generation is aware of the detriment caused by forcing faith instead of guiding it.
That means, while he grows up, implement daily practices of prayer or devotionals, bible reading at bed time — but don’t force it.
Ask them if they would like to pray, but don’t force them to. Be open for questions, and more times than not, let them come to you. If you’re continually preaching at them, yet not listening to their heart, you will create an environment of talking at them, instead of with them.
Again, it’s modeling your faith. Act in a way that you want them to act. Pursue Jesus like you want them to pursue Jesus. Live your life in a Godly way if you want them to, so on and so forth.
What your son needs YOU to do
He needs you to have a healthy relationship with mom
One things that strikes me as probably the most vital when it comes to modeling your faith, is to have a good relationship with your wife. Children who have healthy home lives are more likely to have a healthy life themselves.
So if you need to work on that, don’t only do it for yourself and your wife, do it for your kids.
He needs you to deal with failure in a healthy way
Failure is a part of life, and when dealt with healthily, will most likely evolve into success. When you fail, do you give up? Or do you press on, accept your failure, and learn from your mistakes?
If your son messes up or gets frustrated with a school project, encourage him to press on, in-spite of the difficulty.
If he hurts someone’s feelings, or did something wrong, guide him to take responsibility for his actions. This will teach humility and respect for others as well.
He needs you to admit it when you’re wrong
I fail with fatherhood, sometimes on a daily basis — which is why it’s so important to admit when I’m wrong and apologize. From this, he will know that perfection is not a part of life. We all make mistakes. When you can show transparency in your failure, he will also apply this to his life.
Again, with this, he will learn humility, knowing he doesn’t have to go through life pretending he is perfect.