Raising Boys

5 Ways to Build a Strong Mom-Son Bond


I can remember when I was growing up, my daddy hugging me and telling me how beautiful I was, and how lucky some man was going to be one day to call me his wife. I knew those hugs made me feel loved and safe, and every girl loves hearing that she’s pretty. But I didn’t realize back then how his affection and affirmation filled up a need that all girls have, and made me far less vulnerable to the pressures and pitfalls of teen dating.

There’s a natural expectation that moms will have strong, intimate relationships with their daughters based upon mutual feminine interests alone. But it’s equally important for moms to build a deep relationship with their sons. Boys learn things from watching and interacting with their moms that dads can’t teach, so be intentional about maximizing your opportunities with your sons.

1. Create Some Air Space for Him to Talk In

We’ve all heard the statistics about how many more words women speak per day than men. Women are natural verbal communicators. But your sons likely have a lot to say—if you can hush up long enough to listen. Carve out time to spend with your son where there aren’t distractions. Bed time is a great moment for this with younger boys. With your older boys, it might be a walk around the neighborhood. Ask some open-ended questions, and then listen. Resist the urge to rush in to fill the awkward silences, or to finish up his thoughts for him. Give him some air space, and let him fill it up.

2. Learn to Speak His Language

If your son has a passion, or even an interest in something, show a little interest yourself. If it’s baseball, learn the basics of the sport so you can enjoy a game together. If it’s Legos and science fiction, engage with him enough to at least be conversant (this comes from a mom who’s been forced to learn more about Star Wars than she ever really wanted to know). Because it’s not really about base hits and battle droids, it’s about communicating that what matters to him also matters to you.

3. Don’t Shut Down All His “Boyness”

Boys can be loud, dirty, smelly, endlessly hungry, and lots of other things that just don’t jive with our female sensibilities. But it’s those grungy little hands and pockets full of rocks that will one day translate into strong hands and a masculine instinct that will make him a wonderful husband and father. Instead of bemoaning all the rough edges of your son’s masculinity, find ways to appreciate them for the beginnings of manhood that they are. You’re son will love you even more for accepting him the way God wired him. And then you can make him take a bath.

4. Teach Him What You Know

There are a few things that you’re probably the in-home expert on that your son can benefit from—like cooking. And who knows what else? Pull your young man into the kitchen and show him the ropes. You’ll get some precious time together and teach him something he can use to survive bachelorhood and woo his future wife.

5. Talk to Him About Relating to Women

By talking with your son about what good male-female relationships look like, you can shape his thinking and strengthen your own relationship, as well. Instead of leaving all the talk about how to treat women to dad, give him your own perspective about what you looked for in a man, and what women really appreciate. And most importantly, model a healthy relationship with your husband to show him what a real-life marriage that works looks like. Whether he admits it or not, he’ll be watching and listening.

© 2012 iMOM. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.


Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness for print publications and iMOM.com. She’s a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for 17 years.



  • AMB

    Great article!!! And making the effort to join ‘boy’ world goes a long way. I have played Thomas the Train, Star Wars, Bey Blades, Nerf guns and now am working on my spiral pass ! It’s worth kicking off my heels and engaging in “boy stuff” because the look of joy and validation as a young man on his face is priceless.

  • Jaz3B1G

    Thank you so much! Wonderful article.

  • Vicki Miller Rancilio

    Some of us do not have husbands to show our sons what a healthy relationship looks like. But I pray that God stands in the gap when I cannot.

  • Nicole Bauer

    Great post! I have two sons and they are both really open with me. I too know more than I’d like about Star Wars (and Minecraft). Wouldn’t have it any other way :)







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