Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Vicki Courtney's book, 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son, (B & H Publishing Group, 2011).

Your motherly guidance and encouragement is vital for your son as he grows from a boy into a man. If you tell him the truth about issues that the culture lies to him about, you can help him become the person God wants him to become.

Here are five important conversations that you should have with your son while he’s growing up:

1. “Don’t define manhood by the culture’s wimpy standards. It’s okay to be a man!” Explain to your son that God created men to be distinctly different from women, so it’s okay to be the male that God made him to be rather than trying to fit any cultural mold of unisex behavior. Whenever your son fails in some way (such as in school, socially, or in sports), express unconditional love for him, which will help him understand that his worth as a man isn’t tied to how well he does or doesn’t perform. Encourage your son to take appropriate risks, so he can learn the limits of his own power. Give your son plenty of opportunities to spend time in nature, such as playing outside. Urge your son to pursue healthy adventures whenever possible, through means such as family trips, competitive sports, and community service projects. Recognize that your son needs to break away from you at various stages of growing up, so he can develop a healthy masculinity. So don’t hover too closely around him or try to rescue him from the consequences of his mistakes. Instead, let your son practice making some of his own decisions, and let him learn from his mistakes.

2. “What you don’t learn to conquer may become your master.” Teach your son how to flee from temptation and practice self-control, so he doesn’t end up becoming mastered by sin. Set up boundaries and rules that make it difficult for your son to make foolish choices. Limit your son’s exposure to peers (and their parents) whose values don’t match your own after school, to cut down on opportunities for them to corrupt your son. Steer your son toward friendships with boys who have positive values and are good role models. Prepare your son to deal with encountering temptations such as porn and alcohol by teaching him to stop before reacting and take time to think and pray about possible actions and possible consequences, so he can respond wisely to each temptation that confronts him. Talk with your son proactively about the dangers of porn, since porn is unfortunately so prevalent that it’s inevitable that he will encounter porn somehow, somewhere while growing up. Help your son understand that his current decisions will impact the quality of his life in the future.

3. “Not everyone’s having sex!”Urge your son not to believe all the locker room boasting he may hear from other guys, saying that they’re having sex and that he should, too. Ask God to help you talk with your son about sex confidently, rather than timidly. Tell your son that sex is good because God created it, and that he can look forward to enjoying sex if he saves it for the context God created it for: marriage. But frankly and specifically explain the many physical, emotional, and spiritual dangers involved in having sex outside of marriage will understand the reasons why it’s important (and even cool) to wait until marriage to have sex. Encourage your son to talk with you openly and honestly about sex, and listen without judging him so he’ll face safe talking with you about sex in the future. Keep in mind that sexual purity won’t happen just because your son makes a one-time abstinence pledge; it’ll only happen if he develops a habit of constantly submitting his choices to God’s will. So teach your son how to take captive every thought of sexual temptation before it can grow into a destructive attitude or action. If your son slips up sexually, encourage him to confess, repent, and learn from his mistake so the mistake doesn’t derail his relationship with God.