Some of my favorite memories from when I was little were of my dad hugging me and telling me how amazing I was. Those hugs made me feel loved and safe, and I didn’t realize back then how his affection and affirmation filled up a need that all girls have. It made me far less vulnerable to the pressures and pitfalls of teen dating. In the same way, it’s equally important to build a strong mother-son relationship.
Our boys will learn things from their relationships with their moms that they someday will need for their relationships with their wives. 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. Here are 5 ways to build a strong mother-son relationship.
1. Create some space for him to talk.
We’ve all heard the statistics about how many more words women speak per day than men. Women are natural verbal communicators. Your son likely has a lot to say—if you can be quiet long enough to listen. Carve out time to spend with your son where there aren’t distractions. Bedtime is a great time 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 space, and let him fill it up.
Boys bond through activities. If you want to bond with him, then do the things he loves with him. Discover your son’s passion or interest in something and 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, let him teach you something he’s learned (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. Use this Mother Son Bucket List to make the most of your time together.
3. Don’t shut down his “boyness.”
Boys can be loud, dirty, smelly, endlessly hungry, and lots of other things that just don’t jibe 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. Your son will love you even more for accepting him the way God wired him. And then you can make him take a bath.
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. Use our printable to teach him how to treat girls, and, most importantly, if you’re married, 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.
5. 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.
Do you also have a daughter you want to get closer to? Here are 5 Ways to Build a Strong Mom-Daughter Bond.
What are some ways you’ve bonded with your son?