A mother represents the enitre female gender to her young son, according to Dr. Kevin Lehman in a Focus on the Family radio interview with Jim Daly. She determines how he sees and treats women and how he relates to the world. Her influence spans all of his life and helps determine the kind of man he becomes.
You model what a woman, wife and mother should be to your son, just by being there. You demonstrate appropriate behavior and set limits for behavior toward family, women and others in his life. You teach him to be generous, loving, well-mannered and cooperative in his early years. You must allow him to push back and find his way as he hits adolescence and moves toward adulthood, counsels Lehman.
Love and Acceptance
Modeling unconditional love and acceptance teaches your son that he is worthy, lovable, capable and can become a good friend and lover as he grows up, according to a study published in the August 2011 edition of Child Development. The more loving and warm you are, the less likely he is to be distant and cold, concluded the study leaders. If you are overly critical, he learns he can’t measure up and could set his standards very low, according to Lehman. Critical and conflicting relationships with you can also result in delinquency, according to the Child Development study authors. Affirm what he should become and ensure that he feels accepted and wanted. Your warmth and loving nature teach him to be a warm, responsive lover who will support home needs, according to a Reader’s Digest article titled “Why We Love Who We Love.”
Talking to your young son about anything and everything he wants to talk about ensures that you and your son can still talk freely during adolescence and beyond, according to Lehman. Lehman encourages you to pay attention to what is in his heart, as well as what he says. Carry on conversations that respect his age-appropriate comments, even when they seem wild to your adult sensibilities. Affirm his potential for success. Lehman also counsels moms to get quiet and state they are not happy when the son does something disappointing, rather than launching into a negative diatribe. The son will take the hint and figure out what’s not right and make it right without your wasted energy when the relationship is close.
Becoming a Man
Your young son imitates you, seeing you as his first love, reports the Reader’s Digest article. You set the standard for who he will find attractive as he looks for a mate. You also set the standard for a loving home. To encourage him to become a successful adult in all areas, hold him to a standard he can stretch to meet, encourage independence with a limited safety net and require respect for everyone, counsels Peggy Drexler, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at Cornell in a Psychology Today article titled “Mother’s Sons and Mysteries.” Let him know he doesn’t have to be perfect, but he can reach for the heights.
- Focus on the Family: A Mother's Influence on Her Son Pt 1
- Focus on the Family: A Mother's Influence on Her Son Pt 2
- Child Development: Antecedents and Outcomes of Joint Trajectories of Mother-Son Conflict and Warmth during Middle Childhood and Adolescence
- Wayne State University: Mother-Son Ties Change Over Time, Influence Teen Boys’ Behavior, Wayne State University Study Finds
- Reader’s Digest: Why We Love Who We Love
- Psychology Today: Mothers, Sons and Mysteries
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