It was a rainy August afternoon. It had been in the 90s that week, so the surprise downpour was a welcomed relief. My kids were outside playing when the heavens opened up and the raindrops came down. And they just kept playing. Everything inside of me wanted them to come in. But as I watched my sons’ faces as they rode around the yard on their bikes in the pouring rain, I knew they needed to stay outside and enjoy this moment. After a while, the rain stopped. They grew hungry and eventually made their way inside, drenched but happy.
Being a mom of two boys (and one girl) has been a whirlwind experience. And I’ve had to learn a lot on the fly to continually work on our mother and son relationship. Here are a few things I’ve learned that boys need from their moms.
1. Freedom to Build and Destroy
If my boys could pick only one toy to keep, it would be LEGOs. I’m pretty sure half their lives have been spent building LEGO creations. It’s astounding how much time they spend building and destroying and building and destroying. And it’s all completely normal. Boys have an inner need to create and destroy things. Fostering that is a big part of raising boys to be healthy men.
2. Consequences When They’re Out of Line
Boys love to test the boundaries and walk on the edge. I’ve learned the importance of letting them have that experience and doling out appropriate consequences when needed. If I could have it my way, I’d micromanage them so they’d never make a mistake or get hurt. But what kind of lesson would that teach them? And would that help our mother and son relationship? Instead, I’ve had to let go of a certain amount of control and allow them to learn from their own choices.
3. Opportunities for Adventure
Boys love to explore and have adventures outside. They learn from those experiences and can apply what they learn to their lives. I’ve (kinda) learned to embrace the dirt and “treasures” that boys bring home. They have an innate need to be outside getting dirty and making memories. And that’s OK.
4. Time for Physical Activity
Boys have endless energy. Not a day goes by in which I don’t find my sons wrestling or interacting in some physical way. It was hard for me to get used to their needs for physical activity, but I found a direct correlation between it and their behavior. When my boys have a chance to burn off their physical energy, they make better choices and show more respect to others.
5. Space to Share Their Thoughts When They are Ready
So many times, I’ve had to bite my tongue instead of trying to make my boys talk to me. I’ve learned that they know where to find me when they need to talk. I ask them questions to let them know I care, but I don’t press them for answers I don’t actually need. Boys don’t typically enjoy talking as much as girls do, but they do need to know they are loved and that their thoughts and opinions are valued. (Pro tip: I’ve learned that shoulder-to-shoulder interaction is better than face-to-face interaction with my sons.)
What are some things your son needs from you?