Moms: Raise Your Sons to Become Men of Character
- Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Discipline your son wisely. Pick your battles; focus on defending the values that are most important to you, and let small issues slide. Give your son plenty of structure and supervision.
Clearly communicate your rules and expectations, and establish concrete consequences for when he doesn’t follow them. Don’t just threaten consequences; enforce them. Be consistent, and don’t back down when he challenges your authority. Focus more time and attention on reinforcing desired behaviors than on punishing undesired behaviors.
Encourage your son to be accountable to people like teachers and coaches who will push him to do his best in all he undertakes. Know what your son is doing and whom he is with at all times. Teach him to discover the emotions underneath his anger and to express anger in healthy ways. Require him to help out with chores regularly and show him the benefits of a strong work ethic as you let him know you value his contributions.
Instill key character traits into your son. Realize that boys have a way of becoming what they’re encouraged to be. Think and pray about specific character traits you’d like your son to develop, then tell him what those are.
Intentionally work to help him build those traits. Point them out in others so he can see them in action. Include such important qualities as: perseverance (encourage him not to quit in the face of adversity and help him understand the rewards that await him if he finishes what he starts), loyalty (model loyalty by letting him know – through your sincere words and actions – they he can count on you to stand by him, no matter what), manners (teach him to show respect for others, regardless of their status or attitude), courage (urge him to do what needs to be done, even when he’s scared or tired, and to stand by his convictions, even when doing so may result in pain for him), compassion (show him the importance of forgiveness and protecting the weak and helpless), self-discipline (teach him to do things he doesn’t want to do, but should), self-control (show him how to resist doing things he wants to do, but shouldn’t), dependability (explain that his choices affect other people’s lives, and train him to make decisions that consider what’s best for the people around him), honesty (help him discover and admit his God-given strengths and weaknesses so he can be honest with himself, and to value the truth so he can be honest with others), humility (teach him about the dangers of pride and help him see that genuine greatness comes only from working toward a purpose higher than himself), trustworthiness (show him why it’s important to be willing to put someone else’s well-being above his own), honor (teach him to cherish and protect other people and fight for justice and equality).
Help your son develop a healthy sexuality. Realize that, as a woman, you’re a key source of information for your son on how females think, feel, and act. Tell him about some of your experiences with guys when you were young. Give him practical advice, such as how to properly ask a girl out on a date. Always be available to discuss sex with him openly and honestly. Understand the serious dangers of exposure to pornography; take whatever precautions you can to keep him away from pornography (such as by installing parental controls on your computer and television to filter out or block pornography). Regularly discuss the importance of abstinence until marriage; know that if your son learns to control his sexual urges, he can control other areas of his life. Have him make a pact with a group of friends who share his values to support and hold each other accountable as they strive to be sexually pure. Emphasize the importance of setting specific behavioral boundaries before he starts to date – not afterward.
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