Many moms somehow feel more excited when they find out their baby is going to be a girl. In their mind, they begin to imagine the mother-daughter bonding bound to happen during cute toddler dress shopping, playdates, and braiding sessions, among others.
Let’s admit it: the mother-daughter bonding is unparalleled, but the mother-son bonding is a whole new experience altogether. For mothers at any stage in their son’s lives—whether it be in their toddler, high school, or college years—it’s never too late to be closer to your son. “Parent-child relationships develop over time, influenced by child characteristics, parent characteristics, and the contexts in which families operate.”, Neil Farber M.D, Ph.D., CLC, CPT explains.
Speak Your Son’s Language
If girls bond through tea dates and dolls, boys do it in an entirely different manner. Boys (especially young ones) bond through physical activities with loads of energy to spare.
If you are genuinely dedicated to forming a deeper relationship with your son, then you should learn and speak his language. It means compromising on your end by trying to engage in activities that your son loves. It could be as simple as playing ball outside, enjoying a simple video game together (check here some of the recommended video games: FamilyHype), or teaching him stuff only “dad would teach him.” Knowing that what matters to him matters just as much to you, you will notice the difference in your relationship in no time.
Just the same, try and introduce him to the things that you love doing too. It will teach him new stuff outside of his comfort zone. He will also learn excellent social communication skills that will help him in the long run.
Gently Teach Him About Women
The parents’ role in their child’s development is of great consequence. For mothers, that comes with the responsibility of being the primary source of what their boys should know about girls and women alike.
Be ready, however, because boys are quick to dismiss the idea of emotions. But that’s just because their environment teaches them to be that way. Gently reminding them how to be respectful, how to act appropriately, and how to treat girls will ensure that they grow up as the best sons every parent can hope for. It will help them to be more sensitive towards all the women in their life, including you.
“Learning respect for women starts at home, when boys watch how their mothers, sisters, and other women are treated and talked about by men. So when men at home treat women like they’re equally worthy and valued as people with needs, feelings, intelligence, skills, and power, boys are much more likely to grow up to do the same.” Brian D. Johnson, Ph.D. and Laurie Berdahl, M.D. discuss.
Boys tend to be shyer when it comes to showing emotions. They express themselves strongly through playful aggression that most mothers may not be used to.
Asking them what hurt them might take a little longer compared to girls. But remember that you are dealing with your child, and it is essential to let them have their own time to sort out what they feel. Do not rush them to confide because this will only push them to shut feelings away. Instead, slowly but surely coax them into trusting you enough to hear what they have to say.
Take note of what their language is, and approach them accordingly. After some time, they will come around too. “If you don’t have a good relationship with your child, they’re not going to listen to you. ” reminds Ruby Natale PhD, PsyD.
Each child is different. There is certainly no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to parenting. But for mothers looking to strengthen their relationship with their sons, these helpful tips might be a good start. Soon enough, they’ll all be mommy’s boys too!