Overview: Boys, like their fathers, crave respect. Here are 8 important ways to respect our sons and to create a more peaceful and loving relationship with them.
We often talk about how much we want our sons to respect our authority. And this is certainly important. But it’s also important for moms to show respect to our sons. Loving them comes naturally, but giving our respect comes much harder. This is especially true when our sons are imperfect at showing us the respect that we deserve.
Did you know that a man’s number one need is for respect? Sometimes we can lose sight of the fact that our sons are actually men in training. Once they get to a certain age, they begin to have some of the same needs for respect as do their fathers.
This can cause a clash with their mothers, who are also looking for respect from their sons and who may not be receiving it.
What are the Benefits of Showing Our Sons Respect?
What if I told you that when we show our sons respect, they will be much more likely to fulfill our greatest desire as moms? The more respected our sons feel, the more likely they will be to reciprocate that respect to us. But even more importantly, they will have a greater tendency to show us the love that we crave.
God has created an interesting cycle where when men feel respected, they show love. And when women feel loved, they show respect. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. When men feel disrespected, they are less likely to show love. And when women feel unloved, they are less likely to show respect.
In order for this cycle to be a positive one, we need to be willing to begin the process. That often means showing respect to our sons regardless of whether or not they deserve it. Over time, as they feel respected, they will rise to the challenge and will become young men who are actually worthy of our respect.
So how do we get the process started? What are some ways that moms can start showing respect to their sons?
Important Ways Moms Can Show Respect to Our Sons
1 – Be Liberal With Your Praise
Tell your son that he is awesome. Praise your son whenever he does anything good. Be sure to praise him in front of others as well. This will build your son up faster than just about anything else.
If you have a son who isn’t doing a lot of positive things right now, it’s even more important to praise him when he does. Be sure to catch him in the act of even the smallest behavior that you want to reinforce. Even if his effort seems weak, if something he does is an improvement over the way he normally acts, find a way to praise him for that.
Sometimes the problem is that we have trained our minds to focus on what our sons are doing wrong in an attempt to curb those behaviors and help them grow into strong, productive men. Let’s face it! It’s easy to point out all of the things our kids do which disappoint us. Instead, we need to be intentional about focusing on the positive. What does your son do well? What are his strengths?
2 – Show Confidence in Your Son
Our sons benefit from our encouragement. When they are tackling a new task, be their cheerleader. When they are uncertain, ensure them that you have confidence in their abilities.
This is also an area where dads come in. The more experiences our sons are able to have alongside their fathers, the more their confidence in their abilities will develop. Whenever something breaks down around the house, be sure your son tags along to help with, or at least observe, the problem-solving phase as well as the actual fixing.
Include your son in discussions about how to handle some of the stickier situations that arise so that he becomes competent at decision making and facing the tough stuff in his own life.
3 – Let Your Son Know That He is Capable
Our culture mocks men and makes them look like idiots. You can’t watch a sitcom without seeing completely incapable men and the amazing women who are forced to continually bail them out.
Help your son realize that he is capable. Set up situations where he is able to flex his muscles and help you or others out. Let him hold doors for you. Ask him to unload the car for you. As he gets taller, let him reach tall things for you. Let him carry heavy objects for you.
Don’t worry, there will be plenty of other chances for him to see you as a strong woman.
When our sons are young, we get in the habit of doing everything for them because it’s easier – and faster! But we need to be intentional about handing off tasks to our sons as soon as they are able and having them help us with some of the household chores so that they won’t be intimidated by us and learn to sit back and watch us work.
We need to give our sons the gift of developing competence and learning to serve the people around them.
4 – Show Appreciation to Your Son
It’s easy to take your son for granted. Be sure to thank him whenever he does anything nice for you or for another family member. Even if he’s merely following orders, thank him for doing so. The more appreciated he feels, the more willing he will be to do things for you in the future. It’s sort of like magic!
Also, if we want our sons to have grateful hearts then we need to have them as well. Remember that most lessons are caught and not taught. We need to model thankfulness for our sons.
5 – Let Your Son Know That You Value His Opinion
Ask your son what he thinks should be done in certain situations. Listen to him when he offers you suggestions. Whenever possible, try to implement some of his ideas. This is important to do even when our kids are young. We’ll be amazed at the inciteful ideas our children offer up when we really listen to them. They are often wise beyond their years.
6 – Teach Your Son to Perform Acts of Service
Try doing nice things for your son every once in a while to let him know that you love him. Think of things that your husband knows how to do but appreciates when you do them for him. These might be things your son would also love to have you do for him on occasion. Just because your son knows how to do his own laundry or make his own lunch doesn’t mean he always wants to have to be the one to do it.
Also, be sure your son sees you doing kind things for people outside of your home. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money to be kind. When you’re at the grocery store, let people with smaller carts go in line in front of you. Say encouraging things to the cashier. Allow other drivers to enter your lane ahead of you. When people drop things, help them to pick them up. Hold doors for people.
If your son sees you doing nice things for others but doesn’t ever reciprocate on his own, then you may need to make suggestions to help prime the pump. Ask him to hold the door for you or for others. Ask him to help his sibling unload the dishwasher. Ask him to shovel the driveway.
Over time, you’ll start to see him doing kind things for others without having to be prompted quite as often.
Speak in a Kind Tone to Show Respect
Let’s face it, sometimes our boys don’t use the kindest tone of voice when they are speaking to us. If we want our sons to show us respect, we should attempt to speak to them in a kind, loving tone no matter what tone they are using with us.
This can be very hard to do at times; but, making the effort in this area can go a long way toward helping our sons to learn to speak kindly to us. It also communicates respect very quickly.
If your family has gotten into the bad habit of speaking to each other in a tense tone, this can be a difficult cycle to break. But it’s so important! We need to be sure we aren’t using our words as weapons.
Respecting Our Son’s Privacy
One huge way we can show respect to our sons is by respecting their privacy. As a general rule, here are some ways we should respect our son’s privacy:
- Knock on their bedroom door before entering.
- Don’t read their journals or other private correspondence without permission.
- Don’t search through their rooms when they aren’t home.
Obviously, if you think your son is endangering himself or others with his behavior, then it may become necessary to do a bit of sleuthing in order to find out what’s going on in his life. But it’s always best to try to talk with him and connect with him first rather than invading his privacy.
We want to develop good relationships with our sons and strong relationships are based on trust. Remember that once we’ve broken faith with our sons, it’s very hard to get that trust back. So we want to be sure not to do anything to jeopardize our relationships with them if at all possible.
Resources to Learn More About Respecting Our Sons
If you’d like to learn more about respecting our sons, here are some resources you should consider checking out:
Boys, like their fathers, crave respect. If parents take the first step in showing their sons respect, then our sons will be much more likely to reciprocate. We need to model respectful behavior for them! This is a great step toward having more peaceful and loving relationships with our sons.
QUESTION: Do you find it easy or hard to respect your son? Do you have any tips you could share which have helped your son to feel more respected? Please leave a comment below.