Words of affirmation that will help your son know his worth
We all love to hear affirming and encouraging words, no matter who it comes from, no matter what our age. But parents, in particular, have an extraordinary impact on their children, so hearing those words from you will be the most influential.
On an ordinary day, I get lost in the shuffle of life and forget to tell my son a few things he needs to hear from me. I'm not talking about I love you, or you did a good job, which are naturally inclined phrases we tell our children.
I'm referring to words of affirmation that go a bit deeper. Words that if your son heard daily, would influence him in a way that uplifted his soul, encouraged his bravery and would adhere to his heart.
Words that allow him to know you admire and believe in him; that you truly love who he is, no matter what—in return, he can admire and love himself for who God created him to be.
The reasons our children need to hear encouraging words from us are endless.
Often, when we are talking to our children, we direct, discipline, teach, but neglect to speak to their identity and remind them of the wonderful little people they are.
Children aren't quite aware of who they are. They need direction from you as their parent, to guide them to understand themselves from a healthy perspective.
If you are constantly reminding them of their shortcomings with your words, their perspective of themselves will be askew. I'm not saying you shouldn't correct or discipline them in love, but there should always be balance of correction and encouragement.
I am personally coming from a faith-based perspective, but don’t dismiss what you can learn from this if you are of a different religion.
As Christians, we want to point our children to the fact that their identity is in Christ. It's hard to teach a child the depth and weight of what that means, so to simplify it, I came up with a way to help them in that, which is what these phrases will do.
Again, that's our own personal parenting guidance, dependant on our faith. Yours might look different, but that doesn't mean these phrases won't benefit your child.
As believers, we want to make sure our son knows that he is not his temptations, sin, or failures. We want him to find peace and assurance in the fact that he belongs to God, and is loved by Him, no matter what.
With my son at 8-years old, it doesn't get much deeper than that and doesn't have to.
It's also essential that you aren't forcing your faith on him. He has to come to that place of belief and faith for himself; otherwise, he will be performing something he thinks you want, which isn't a personal choice at all.
With that, you only have control over your own actions as parents, which is where this list comes in handy.
If you are daily influencing your son in a way that enables him to see himself from a positive perspective, then you can foster how he views himself in general. And how he views himself is EVERYTHING.
5 Things You Should Tell Your Son Every Day
1. Tell him you're proud of him
You can get pretty specific with this one. Tell him you're proud of something specific he did. You can also show him you're proud of him by offering a reward for his bravery or kindness.
Just be careful with the rewards thing—when you give them rewards every time they did something you are proud of, they might begin expecting rewards.
It's important your son understands he shouldn't do something kind or good just to get something in return. They should know that we expect them to act kind and be grateful, but we can surprise them every once in a while with a reward.
2. Affirm him in his manhood/masculinity
At the moment, I feel as though our culture encourages girls to be empowered by their strength, beauty, femininity, yet we discourage boys in their strength, masculinity, and bravery.
Somehow, things have gone awry in the way we are raising our boys.
On the one hand, people are keeping their boys from anything overtly "masculine," thinking they will be too wild or have an emotional detachment from their feelings.
On the other hand, some people are encouraging masculinity in a way that is unhealthy, misogynistic, and domineering. Boys might learn that they are the better species, that they can get away with anything, and that sharing their feelings is shown as a weakness.
It teaches lack of disrespect, especially to women.
As I see dysfunction in both perspectives, I'm always inclined to point people to balance.
Teach them the equality of gender, but at the same time, the beautiful differences of male and female.
From a biblical perspective, we can look at the life of King David as a beautiful example that shows our boys a man who embodies masculinity and bravery, wasn't perfect but considered a Godly man, and who on MANY occasions shared his heart and feelings.
Affirm your son in his masculinity, but make sure he's aware of what healthy masculinity is. The best way for him to understand that is to be modeled by the father. Check out What A Boy Needs From His Dad.
3. Acknowledge his feelings
When we tell our son just to suck it up and get over it, we are not only disregarding their hearts; we are forcing them to think that being brave means suppressing their feelings.
I believe quite the opposite. When my husband opens up to me and shares his heart, I see him as brave and trusting, not vulnerable and weak.
Feelings or the sharing of feelings should never be disregarded or discouraged, even among boys. When we can learn what their feelings are and why they have them, we will learn SO much about our child.
Why would we ever want to miss out on that?
4. Show him what God thinks of him
His entire life, your son will get bombarded with all kinds of outside sources that will try and influence him and tell him who he is. But it's our job to make sure he knows which opinions matter most.
What God thinks of Him is forever written in the pages of His diary—show your son those verses.
When your son makes a mistake, have him confront his part and confess it to God, but make sure he knows he's forgiven, loved, and that who he is, is not what he did wrong.
So many times, we have our children own up to what they did and repent, but neglect to remind them of God's love and forgiveness—that they shouldn't feel guilt or shame from what they did, but rather walk in the truth that they are forgiven.
5. Encourage him in what he's good at
Parents sometimes try and mold their children into what they want them to be when they grow up. I know I do when my son tells me he wants to be a soldier.
Um, no thanks. That's any mom's worst nightmare. Or at least mine. But I have to let that go. If that's what he wants to do someday, I can trust that he is in God's hands.
That's a challenging thing to do, especially as a mother. But it's crucial that our children know that we back them up and support them no matter what.
Imagine the incredible things your child will do when they are adults if they know you are always supportive of them, praying for them, and encouraging them to find their identity in Christ, not in the world.