Moms with boys, you are your son’s first love. There is something so sweet about how a boy loves his mama, even as his height grows and our cool-factor shrinks. They look to us for affection and tenderness, but also for words that affirm who they are.
There’s a lot of talk about what our daughters need to hear, and rightly so. The media and influencers are shouting at them to buy, look, talk, and act a certain way. But for too long, we’ve just trusted that our boys will grow up to be solid men as long as they are told to toughen up, be a leader, and eat steak. Their hearts desire and deserve so much more than that. So moms with boys, here are 10 things they want to hear from us.
You are strong.
Does your son know what real strength is? It’s not acting tough or suppressing emotions. It’s showing resilience and courage. When we tell our sons they are strong in these ways, we build up a muscle that will help them face tough situations and become mentally strong adults.
You are brave.
When my son holds a cardboard sword, the look on his face says he’s ready to slay. When we see our boys do something that takes bravery, like getting up on their own to turn off the bedroom light even though they are afraid of the dark, or trying out for the team when they know there is a chance they won’t make the cut, we need to tell them. It puts that sword in their hand the next time they face an intimidating foe.
You are smart.
OK, girls win this one, for sure. We’re just now deciding as a culture that intelligence is something to value in a woman. But boys have faced a different battle. The world tells boys that intelligence is important, but not as important as being aggressive and assertive. It’s not that boys can’t be those things, but when we tell our boys we see their brains working, we give them tools to become problem solvers, not just men who react without thinking.
You are kind.
Kindness is a beautiful combination of being generous, friendly, and considerate. We talk to little boys about being kind, but once they reach middle school, it’s as if kindness isn’t a quality boys should seek. But that’s when they need to be told their words and actions matter. When we tell our boys they are kind, we remind them of the difference they can make every single day regardless of their physical ability or resources. Anyone can be kind at any time.
You are handsome.
Think back to when you used to flip through Teen Magazine and compare yourself to the models on the pages. Boys weren’t doing that. They were playing video games or riding their bikes. Now, boys are scrolling through Instagram or watching their favorite superhero movie and seeing chiseled abs and perfect faces. Moms with boys, tell your son he’s handsome every day. He needs to know what you see.
You amaze me.
When you tell your son he amazes you, you’re saying he has surprised you and put you in a state of awe. Talk about a confidence booster! Because our kids are constantly learning and growing, it’s easy to find ourselves in one of these moments of “Wow! I didn’t know he could do that!” A lot of other influences are telling him he’s ordinary, so next time you see him do something amazing, don’t keep it inside. Tell him.
You will be a great husband one day.
Just because your kiddo is 10 years old and still thinks girls are lame, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t wonder what it might be like to be a husband. And we don’t want our boys just to be husbands; we want them to be great husbands. So start pointing out the traits he possesses and things he does that will make the woman who steals his heart away from you (ouch) realize she hit the husband jackpot.
You will be a great father one day.
Just like you can bless his future marriage with your affirming words, you also have the power to set the stage for your son to become an incredible father. Being the kind of dad who is present with his kids and values family over status takes constant refocusing and recommitting. So start giving him the vision of what a great father looks like now.
I am always here for you.
OK, this is going to hurt, but eventually boys start to pull away from their moms. This is good and healthy. When they start talking to you a little less or turn down your invitation for hand-holding, they need to know your love, affection, and listening ear is always there. When they need you, they will take you up on all of those things because you’ve proven your love is unconditional.
I will always love you, no matter what.
Moms with boys know boys love to test boundaries, and that can get them into trouble, sometimes serious trouble. Combine that with the pressure on young men to achieve and it’s even more evident that our love is essential. They need to know that no matter what they do wrong or where they fail, they can’t lose your love.
What do you want your son to know?