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.

4. “Boyhood is only for a season. It’s time to grow up!” Help your son launch out of your house and into an independent place to live as soon as possible once he becomes an adult. Encourage him to get a job that pays enough to cover all of his own living expenses. If your son is dating someone who he believes God wants him to marry someday, encourage him to marry her sooner rather than later, so they can avoid a prolonged time of sexual temptation. If you’re in a healthy marriage, work with your spouse to show how to be a healthy husband. If you’re in an unhealthy marriage or divorced, accept responsibility for the mistakes you’ve made in your marriage while still speaking positively about the institution of marriage itself – to give your son hope that he can enjoy a healthy marriage one day himself. Prepare your son to live independently by gradually increasing his responsibilities and decreasing his comforts as he gets older. Teach him independent living skills such as how to cook, do his laundry, and stick to a budget.

5. “Godly men are in short supply. Dare to become one!” Help your son connect with godly men as often as possible so he can learn from them what a faithful man’s lifestyle looks like. If your son’s father is a strong Christian, encourage your son to learn from him, as well as other godly men in your family’s life. If your son’s father isn’t a good role model, make a special effort to help your son develop relationships with godly men you know, such as those from your church, sports team, or scout group. Teach your son how to be a gentleman who treats other people the way he wants to be treated. Encourage your son to serve others, be humble, and respect the women that he dates. Help your son develop the habit of engaging in spiritual disciplines (such as silent reflection, prayer, and Bible reading) that will draw him closer to God and help him mature into the kind of man that God wants him to become.

Adapted from 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Son,copyright 2011 by Vicki Courtney. Published by B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tn., http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/.        

Vicki Courtney is founder of Virtuous Reality Ministries, producing online content and hosting events across the United States for preteen and teen girls and their parents. She is the best-selling author of 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughterand Your Girl,as well as the ECPA Christian Book Award winners TeenVirtueand TeenVirtue Confidential. Vicki lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and their three children. Visit her website at: http://vickicourtney.com/.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.comto send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.