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.

Help your son shine in school and beyond. Get to know your son’s learning style so you can best equip him to learn well in school, manage his homework well, and choose the best extracurricular activities for him. Pray for God to help you bring out the best in your son and help him reach his fullest potential.

Develop your son’s character. God cares most about who your son is rather than what he does, and He wants your son to grow to become more like Jesus every day. So do your best to instill in your son character traits such as: honestly, perseverance, hospitality, commitment, loyalty, respect for others, kindness, patience, self-control, gratitude, and faithfulness. Ask God to show you what core values He wants you to focus on while teaching your son to become a gentleman who pleases God and serves other people. Then impart those values by incorporating them into your daily family life and discussing stories of how others are living by those values.

Help your son manage his emotions. Guide your son to trust God (who never changes) to help him deal with his changing emotions of happiness, sadness, enthusiasm, disappointment, guilt, anger, fear, etc. Pray for the strength you need to respond calmly and lovingly to your son during his emotional outbursts. Help your son learn to express his feelings clearly and constructively so he can solve problems well.

Nurture your son’s faith. Encourage your son to draw closer to God by reading and discussing Bible stories with him, participating in a local church with him, giving him opportunities to help people in need as God leads him to do so, talking with him about how God is working in your own life, encouraging him to ask difficult questions and deal honestly with his doubts as he seeks a deeper faith, practicing what you preach, and urging him to take the risks God is leading him to take.

Release your son to manhood. Prepare to launch your son into an adulthood in which he can live independently of you while relying on God. Teach him the skills he’ll need to live well on his own. Ask God to show you His purpose for your son’s life, and then focus on training and equipping your son to become that man once he grows up.

Pursue a purposeful life. Center your own life around God – not just your son or your family. Don’t wait until your son grows up to take care of your health and your marriage, or to develop and use your God-given talents to contribute to the world around you. Do so now, so you can be a good role model for your son as he figures out how to faithfully pursue God’s purposes in his life.

Adapted from What a Son Needs from His Mom, copyright 2013 by Cheri Fuller. Published by Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/bethanyhouse.

Cheri Fuller is an inspirational speaker and the author of 28 books with more than one million copies sold, including the best-selling When Mothers Pray. Winner of the Gold Medallion award for Extraordinary Kids (coauthored by Louise Pucker Jones) and finalist for When Families Pray, Fuller is a prolific author who has written hundreds of articles for Focus on the Family, Guideposts, Better Homes and Gardens, Moody, CHILD, Pray! Magazine, and many others. She is a contributing editor for Today's Christian Woman and her website, www.CheriFuller.com features her column, "Mothering by Heart." She and her husband live in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years. Visit her website at: whitneyhopler.naiwe.com.

Publication date: May 14, 2013