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6 Practical Ways to Appreciate Your Son and Embrace the Child You Have

Overview: Parents have so many expectations for our sons. But are we being realistic? Our boys are unique! Learn 6 ways to appreciate your son for who he actually is rather than who you wish he was.

Before our kids are even born, we have dreams for our children. Dads want to toss a ball around with their children. Moms dream of getting big hugs from their kids.

But what if we have a son who doesn’t like to play ball or a child who is sulky and needs to be coaxed to hug his mom? Quite often, our children are enough different from us that they have completely different strengths than we ever would have thought.

And sometimes our strengths are their weaknesses. Sometimes it’s hard for us to even figure out what’s going on in their heads.

Our dreams for our children are great, however, they shouldn’t interfere with the dreams in our kids’ hearts. Each of our children is a unique gift from God. Sometimes we will have children who are so much like us they have very similar dreams for themselves as we have for them.

But sometimes their dreams don’t resemble ours at all.

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Boys

When this is the case, we need to remember that God made our children are made in His image and not in our own. Yes, they resemble us in good ways and in bad, however, God has a specific purpose for each of them and He will reveal it to them in His own perfect time. This is true whether they are our Mini Me or our exact opposite.

Our job as parents is to appreciate our kids for who they are and to help them fully develop into the people God has created them to be, rather than attempting to mold them into the children we were hoping to have.

But how do we do this? How do we appreciate our children for who they are rather than being disappointed?

6 Practical Ways to Appreciate Your Son and Embrace the Child You Have:

1 – Focus on his good traits

It’s easy to notice the negative. Take a few minutes to write down your son’s good qualities. Keep this list handy and continue to add to it as you notice more positive points. Once you have a nice list, share it with your son.

Make a habit of pointing out things you appreciate about your son throughout the day. As you develop this habit, you will notice yourself enjoying and appreciating your son more and more.

It’s also important to show appreciation for the good things he has done. Make sure you let him know that you noticed!

2 – Look at him as others look at him

What nice things do others say about your son? How does God look at him? If you’re having a hard time coming up with a good list of positive qualities, don’t be afraid to ask other people what they have noticed about your him.

If you are extremely introverted and your son is an extrovert, it will be easy for you to see him as loud rather than as having a charismatic personality. Sometimes hearing other people’s point of view will help us to change our own frame of mind during those difficult stages of parenting.

Looking for ways to appreciate your son? This isn't always easy! Click through to discover 6 practical ways to show appreciation to your son! | appreciate your son | show appreciation | accept your son |

3 – Help him develop his talents and abilities

We aren’t being good stewards of our children if we only attempt to help them get better in areas in which WE wish they were good.

Find out what interests your son. Talk to him about the skills and abilities he would like to focus on. Resist the urge to think that his interests are less important than your own.

4 – Smile at him

This is a great way to let your son know that you love him and that you enjoy spending time with him. Some of us take life way too seriously and we may smile at our kids less than we think.

Be intentional about having fun with your son and letting him know you enjoy his company.

Looking for ways to appreciate your son? This isn't always easy! Click through to discover 6 practical ways to show appreciation to your son! | appreciate your son | show appreciation | accept your son |

5 – Talk to him

The more quality time you spend with your son, the better you’ll be able to appreciate his many gifts. Spend time alone with him. Talk to him while riding in the car or while tucking him into bed at night.

When you spend time with your son, give him your full attention. Enjoy your son’s unique qualities.

→ Related Content: Boys Need Respect: 7 Ways to Respect Your Son

6 – Pay attention to your tone of voice

Quite often, we have a lot on our plates. It’s easy to feel stressed and for this stress to be heard in our voices. Listen to yourself.

When you’re talking to your son, does your voice sound like you love and appreciate him? Or do you often sound frustrated by him? Record your voice and play it back for yourself if you have to.

Often, the voice that we hear coming out of our mouth isn’t the same voice that our kids hear.

Our job as parents is to support our children and to help them to become the people God has intended for them to be rather than trying to turn them our ideal version of themselves.

We need to talk to ourselves about our kids more than we listen to ourselves!

Rather than thinking about ways they may not measure up in our estimation, it’s important that we appreciate our sons for the unique people God has given us to raise.

Question: Do you appreciate your son for who he is or is this an area in which you struggle? Which point above should you focus on most? Please leave a comment below.

28 thoughts on “6 Practical Ways to Appreciate Your Son and Embrace the Child You Have”

  1. I really struggle with this. I have a son who is 12, who zaps the life out of me. Is there a way to talk on the phone about this?

    1. Michelle Caskey

      I’m sorry, Debi. I’m sure you can understand that I can’t do phone calls because I need to be able to put my sons and their homeschooling first. I’d be happy to have you write to me, though, and we can discuss this further. [email protected] Take care and I hope to hear from you soon. (hugs)

  2. Oftentimes my husband and I struggle in our relationship with our 9 YO son because he saps our energy and is constantly testing us to see what reaction he’ll get. I feel bad that most days there are arguments, but we feel disrespected and we’re not really sure how to break this cycle.

  3. Such a great post! I have two boys and my oldest is just like my husband and my youngest is just like me. When my first son was born, I had a terrible labor and actually was unable to hold him for the first 48-hours of his life. His dad held him and as a result they have a unique bone that I appreciate so much now, but was devastated by the first few years of his life. As an infant, he would scream if I picked him up. In the middle of the night I would go to feed him and I was unable to get him to eat, he’d just scream. Only when my husband held him and rocked him, then he would eat. As you can imagine, as a first time mom the rejection of my newborn was almost more than I could bear, but now 11 years later, he and I are very close and he still has an incredible bond with his dad. I had visions of how I wanted my baby to love me and life looked very different for many years. Through lots of prayer and God’s unconditional love, both my son and I are now in such a great place. I truly believe that I appreciate our relationship even more and I appreciate who my son is now that we’ve had that experience.

    1. Michelle Caskey

      Wow, Kim, I have GOOSEBUMPS reading about your experience. I can’t imagine how incredibly hard that would have been to go through. I thank God that you have now come to a good place with your son and that that hard experience has turned into something wonderful. And that bond that your son has with his dad will definitely serve him well in life. Thank-you SO MUCH for sharing your story!

  4. One day I decided to write an encouraging note to my son, and he loved it so much that he wrote encouraging notes to other members of the family! All of us need to be careful of the tone in our voices and to show each other honor.

  5. I am really, really bad with this. I find it difficult to relate to my 11 yr old son sometimes (especially when he starts testing boundaries and puffing up like a rooster to assert himself). I am guilty of #6 all the time. These are all great ideas- thank you! I’m going to make my list of his good traits now!

    1. I hope it helps, Kelly! It isn’t always easy, but remember that you are entering the hardest stage right now. The tween years were the hardest when it came to parenting boys. At least around here! It became so much more pleasant around here once they hit 14-15. Hang in there!!!

  6. I feel like such a horrible mother when I’m in the midst of having a hard day/week/month with my boys, and I’m having a hard time appreciating them. It’s comforting to know this completely normal. Thank you for the timely reminders and great tips to encourage in those moments!

  7. Thanks for this post. I am usually lacking in all 6 and need to work on it. I’m going to try to refocus on the positives. I loved the comment about the notes. I’m going to try to make a point to put a note in his lunchbox at least once a week. His school starts a new trimester next Monday. My goal is to make it a fresh start and start implementing these things, especially the tone.

  8. Thank you, Michelle. It is so important to realize we are not the only one struggling with this. And it is not just with out sons. I so relate with how they can zap the energy right out of us and how disrespected we feel. What I’m trying to learn right now is how to keep pushing them just the right amount to be gentlemen, respectful, to take responsibility for doing their school work and chores. It’s hard to find that balance between nagging, pushing and letting the natural results take place.

    The thing that God is trying to teach me is that I am a person, despite what my sons or daughter does, whether they make wise or dumb decisions I am an individual. It has encouraged me to see other parents continue on , even when their adult or almost adult children make choices that are not pleasing to their parents or God. My life is not to be totally wrapped up in my children. I love them but they still have their own choices to make. I have my own choices to make. I choose to do my best with God’s help and with my husband’s encouragement realizing my children (teens, adults) are responsible for their own choices before God.

  9. Another great post! Thank you for being so real and not putting up some facade of “we’re all amazing all the time over here!”

    Just throwing this out for anyone else going through what we went through:
    My oldest son was, as my husband puts it, like a “cat in a bag” until we figured out what makes him tick. Everyone always told us how smart he is and we thought okay, but he also drives us nuts a lot of the time. Awesome at school, losing his mind at home kind of thing, so it wasn’t like he couldn’t behave well. Once we looked into “giftedness”, realizing how advanced he is (reading Jules Verne at age six, for instance), a whole world of understanding opened up. That kind of brain comes with things like excessive amounts of energy, unusual levels of stubbornness, really thinking themselves on par with adults because they often know more or learn faster. And if they’re bored at school, as ours was, forget it, they’re feeling like they’re going to explode. We pulled him out of school to homeschool at his pace and that helped a ton. Homeschooling has the huge benefits of allowing the child to sleep enough, eat when he’s hungry, and use the bathroom as needed, all of which help keep a boy calm. We have also gotten better at communicating with him now that we can identify what it is that’s happening in his brain, and see that he isn’t just trying to drive us into an early grave. Now we are having a much better time and really enjoying him.

    Just adding this because often, when talking with other moms, they’ll talk about the same kinds of things we went through and then I’ll ask if their kid is abnormally smart and it often turns out to be so (i mean, they’ll give examples of things he does or says). Wish we’d known sooner!! Very often, we expect kids who are advanced intellectually to be more mature for their years, and in some ways they might be, but they also may have other emotional needs that go with their giftedness.

    Thank you, Michelle, for all the encouragement you gift us with on your blog!

  10. Thanks so,much for this post! I really needed this! I have a hard time sometimes communicating with my 15 year old. I find myself being to harsh with him in my tone of voice. But I realize he is just a unique child, and I am learning to embrace the fact that he has a very unique personality unlike my other two boys. This was really encouraging! Thanks again!❤

  11. 1, 2, & 6 are my areas of struggle. I have 4 sons all under age 10 and I also homeschool. So stress and lack of energy are my weaknesses. I really like the idea of making a visual list I can see of their positives. It’s so easy to focus on the things they don’t do right and as a result that’s all they ever hear from me. Thus #6 is a problem I’m trying to overcome too. Not yelling at them has been a huge focus that I think I’m doing well at now. But I know my tone still doesn’t always emulate love and happiness either. It usually sounds frustrated and impatient, though I’m not yelling. Thank you for the wonderful suggestions and encouragement!

    1. You are so welcome. And please know that you aren’t alone. I think most of us moms struggle with our tone from time to time. Actually, most of the time is probably more accurate. I hope having a visual list helps. Also, look back at where your sons were 6 months ago or a year ago and that helps to see the progress that they’re making. It’s much easier to see growth when we actually give them some time to mature. Hang in there!!!

  12. Kathleen Whittaker

    My husband and I are raising our grandson (we brought him home from the hospital) who is now almost 12. He is ‘oppositional defiant’ (ODD). Talk about difficulty in appreciating the son/boy you’ve been given! But I found a wonderful program called the Total Transformation. It helps the parent to look inside himself and so change the way of dealing with the child. Today, instead of struggling and dealing with a sense of failure, anger and anxiety we are relaxed with him. Watching him transform himself from an angry person always arguing and blaming others into a responsible, sweet and loving boy has taught me humility, gratitude and the knowledge of what true love actually is.

    1. None of our kids are perfect, that’s for sure, but some of them have bigger struggles than others. I’m so glad you found that program, Kathleen, and that it’s having a positive impact on your grandson and on your relationship with him!

  13. I am doing okay, but room for improvement! Thanks for the tips. I do try an notice him doing good and encourage that. I have not looked at him as others see him but I have told him things that coach or teacher has said. I have spent countless dollars and hours on development and fee good about that. I probably don’t smile enough. I try and talk but they don’t like it when I initiate so I try and listen when they do. I usually will drop what I am doing because it is so infrequent. I try and balance that with dropping everything and letting them interrupt. The last one is where I need the most help. I get frustrated a lot because I see the piles on the floor or the undone dishes, etc. I have let a lot go over the years and focus on the fact they will be gone before you know it, but I had them trained well and because of life and illness have had to pull back and let hubs and them have time without me keeping everything together. It is hard to watch the years of training go down the drain it seems. But, that is the one thing my son really dislikes – my being upset or frustrated with him. So, I need to find a way to instruct or remind without the tone. blessings to you!!!

    1. If we’re honest, I think that we all have room for improvement. I hope that’s encouraging to you. And honestly, it’s frustrating to me, too, to see what feels like good training slip away during certain stages of my kids’ lives. As they get older, though, it’s a blessing to see that the training I did with them wasn’t completely forgotten. It was just ignored for a while. I’m sure that will be true for you with your kids as well. Hang in there!

  14. Thank you, Michelle, for your blog. This post really touches a need for me to accept and love my son unconditionally for who he is. The other day he said, “Mommy, you need to smile more.” Ouch! True words from my 5 year old, So, I will be working on smiling and watching my tone of voice. I have typed the 6 out on a page to post in my car as a reminder. I can read it as I pull into the driveway coming home from work. Thank you for the inspiration!

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