I love taking videos of my family. When my boys were little, I used to make a point of keeping our video camera fully charged and at hand so that I could capture all of their adorable moments. When we watch these “Ben and Sam” videos, as we call them. There are numerous times when I’m clapping for my boys, saying encouraging words to them, and just generally being thrilled with everything they did. And I mean everything!
When our boys are little, our words of encouragement seem to come naturally.
We clap enthusiastically for them as they toddle their first few steps across the floor.
We holler, “Good job!” when they were able to sing the A-B-C song. And their cute mistakes actually make us smile!
And we praise them with a hearty, “Way to go!” when they remember to wash their hands after using the bathroom.
As they get older, however, our words tend to take a turn for the worse. At least mine have. We see stop seeing their actions in as positive of a light and start to suspect lack of effort, attitude issues, and sometimes even rebellion when they don’t do things as quickly or as well as we think they should.
As our sons get older, it’s so much easier for us to point their flaws in an effort to try to get them to work on their weaknesses than it is for us to revel in their victories.
Why is that? Older sons need encouragement, too! Actually, they probably need it even more than do younger boys.
As our sons approach the tween and teen years, they start to become self-conscious. They begin to see their own weaknesses. And it’s much easier for them to feel down about themselves. Knowing this, it’s important for parents to step in and become our sons’ cheerleaders.
Here are 5 Great Ways to Encourage Your Son:
1 – “I love being with you”
Moms can come across as being irritated with our son’s behavior, especially when they are laughing hysterically about bodily functions or something similar that we don’t necessarily think is funny. We need to remember that our boys can also be extremely sweet and fun to be around. Be sure to let your son know how much you enjoy spending time with him. Have fun with your son!
2 – “Thank-you for your help”
Be sure to thank your son when he pitches in rather than just expecting him to do so. Everyone likes their efforts to be recognized. Be appreciative of your son’s efforts, even if the results aren’t quite what you were expecting or if he does things differently than you would have.
3 – “That’s a tough one, but you’ll figure it out”
Our boys want to rise to the challenge. Don’t hover whenever your son has a difficult task he needs to accomplish. Give him the space to figure out how to solve the problem on his own. Boys want to know that we respect them and have confidence in their abilities. And sometimes, they just want to be left alone to with their thoughts rather than talking things to death.
4 – “What do you think about it?”
Our boys WANT to be listened to. They want their opinions to be heard. When we give them an opportunity to share their thoughts, they will feel extremely encouraged and valued. Also, be sure to give your son your undivided attention when he’s talking to you. Our kids can tell when we’re only half listening to them.
My husband has made it a point to take one son out to breakfast on random Saturdays so that they can stay connected and have some deeper talks. He has done this for years. We knew that this practice was paying off a few months ago when our oldest son was processing something and he asked my husband if they could go to breakfast the next morning to discuss it. Parenting Win!
5 – “Your hard work paid off”
It’s so easy to point out everything your son is doing poorly and to gloss over or discount everything he’s doing well. Take time to tell him when he does a good job. Let go of your unrealistic expectations for your son. Even if the results aren’t exactly stellar, be sure you express your appreciation for your son’s effort. And if you REALLY want to encourage your son, try buying him some ice cream or taking him out to dinner at his favorite restaurant. Food goes a long way with our boys!
If you find that your words have become more demoralizing than inspirational, decide today that you will make a change. Looking for ways to encourage our sons can take time, but it’s so worth the effort.
Start by looking for one positive quality you see in your son and sharing it with him. Determine to say at least one encouraging thing to your son each day. The more you focus on your son’s positive qualities the easier you will find it to give regular encouragement to him.
Question: Do you find it easy or difficult to encourage your son? Do you have any other tips you could share which your son has found encouraging? Please leave a comment below.