Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Cheri Fuller's new book, What a Son Needs From His Mom (Bethany House, 2013).

The communication differences between males and females can make it challenging for you as a mom to understand your son. Yet God has given you the potential to influence your son’s life more powerfully than anyone else, so God is calling you to learn more about the boy He has entrusted you with raising to manhood.

Here’s how you can rely on God’s help to give your son what he needs from you:

Encourage your son. Your son will avoid you if you discourage him through negative words and actions, but he will be drawn to you if you encourage him on a regular basis. Try to take advantage of every one of the many opportunities God gives you to encourage your son by: praising him sincerely whenever you notice him showing good character or giving his best effort on a task, urging him to take risks that God seems to be calling him to take, sharing stories of faithful people who have overcome major obstacles to achieve their goals, helping him learn from his mistakes, and cheering him on as he faces challenges.

Build your son’s confidence. Let your son know that he count on you to love him no matter what. If he’s young, give him plenty of nurturing care and affection to develop his sense of security. As he grows older, provide guidance but allow him to more of his own decisions. Don’t panic or lecture him when he makes mistakes; instead, let him learn and grow from his mistakes. When he’s trying to solve a problem, give him advice only when he asks for it, and urge him to think through potential solutions creatively on his own.

Overcome your fears. While it’s natural to be concerned about your son, it’s unhealthy to dwell on the fears you sometimes feel. Develop a habit of praying for your son whenever a fearful thought about him pops into your mind, and daily entrust your son to God, who loves him even more than you do and will do what’s best for him. Regularly read and meditate on Bible verses that help you become more courageous by building your faith.

Pray for your son. Support your son in prayer as often as you can, since prayer can release powerful blessings into his life that will affect him both now and for many years to come. Pray specifically about everything that burdens your mind for your son. Pray through Bible passages to claim God’s will for your son.

Listen and communicate well. Do your best listen carefully to all of the thoughts and feelings your son expresses to you. Ask him open-ended questions about his life and what interests him (such as school, sports, and friends). Turn off distractions (like your cell phone) when your son is trying to talk to you, so you can give him the undivided attention he needs. Avoid interrupting your son or finishing his sentences. Allow your son to disagree with you and ask you hard questions; doing so is vital for him to build the critical thinking skills God wants him to have.

Stay connected with your son. Aim to build a lifelong friendship with your son by finding activities that you both enjoy and making time to do them together often. Be willing to make sacrifices to prioritize spending time with your son regularly.

Understand your son’s unique personality. Study your son and ask God to give you the wisdom you need to understand your son’s temperament, including his: activity level, rhythm, predictability, approach to new situations, adaptability, sensory threshold, moods, intensity of reactions, and attention span. Rather than trying to change your son, accept who God has made him to be and pray for the ability to see the positive potential within even his challenging traits. Enjoy your son and encourage him to pursue God’s unique purposes for his life.