You would think that by being a man it would be inherent that you would know how to raise a son. You would think… But, all you really have to go on is how you were raised, right or wrong. So this is a story; a story about raising that boy you always wanted to have. The Mommy part? Well, that’s another story.
Most men it seems want to raise the next NFL star or the next NBA legend. No matter the sport, us daddies want that little fella to be a “man’s man.” We want to go to his games; grunt, scratch and watch boxing with him; teach him how us men are supposed to act. But, mostly we want him to be well-adjusted and fulfill the roles that he will be called upon to fulfill; being a provider, a protector, a leader and so forth. But, this is where the misinformation conundrum begins!
Somebody, somewhere imbedded into men’s heads that you make your boy tough by ridiculing him. For example, you see your son playing with a doll and God forbid he play with dolls, right? LOL So instead of recognizing that there is nothing wrong with a boy playing with a doll, you make a grand production and say things like, “What are you a girl? Put that damn doll down you sissy!” Okay, now stop and analyze that for a minute. You, the Poppa, are so afraid your son will grow up feminine that you choose to ridicule him in the “hopes” that he will somehow internalize your twisted message; discard it and choose to be macho instead! Crazy, ya think? Crazy, I know!
You Dads need to recognize that what your son needs most from you is your approval. His developing confidence about himself and his relation to the world comes directly from the things you say to him. Directly! Assuming you want him to be confident in himself, you need to carefully watch over the things you say to him. Ridicule only leads to a lack of self-confidence that will manifest itself in a nervous, afraid son behaving in all the ways you hate. That’s for real folks!
Your real job as the daddy is to mold that boy into the best he can possibly be and you do that by words of encouragement; a multitude of words of encouragement. I once read that we should offer ten positive encouragements and compliments for every one word of criticism. And, while I’m on a rant, criticism never made anyone better. Often critical and hurtful words come following frustration and anger. Don’t allow that to happen. Take a breath; count to ten, do something before you lodge those awful words into his heart.
Practically, maybe you want your son to be good at sports (because you weren’t and would like to live vicariously through him) – haha… So the first time he gets out there and plays catch with you, you notice he sucks. Well, of course he sucks because everyone sucks the first time they do something. So you have an important decision to make. Will you allow him to suck at first while you load him with encouragement or will you get angry because he throws like (God forbid) a girl? Have you ever thrown a ball with your non-dominant hand? Exactly! If you stick with it you will quickly see that he gets it in direct proportion to your level of encouragement. The better you say he is, the better he becomes! Voila!
Young boys, like all human beings have hearts and feelings and emotions. To say that a boy shouldn’t cry is ludicrous. Again, is it really the crying you are reacting to or your own terrible fear that your son is going to become feminine? Babies cry; young boys cry; adult men cry! Sure you don’t want him bursting into tears every time something goes wrong, but there’s a better way to send your message. My son Josh tells his son, “You’re okay bro, dry your eyes or walk it off!” No ridicule needed!
Those little boys idolize their fathers and whether you notice it or not are constantly watching and analyzing how you react to things. You want them to exhibit calmness? You exhibit calmness. You want them to be fair? You show fairness. You want them to watch boxing? You watch boxing…LOL
When my boys were coming up my golden rule (and by God I stuck to it) was that I would never call them any name that diminished their value or made them feel inferior, weak etc. Oh sure I pointed out dum dum behaviors, but never called them names directly as people! Never! And today, those boys are the boys you wish you had! Trust me on that one!
I think some of the toughest guys on earth play in the NFL. Have you ever noticed how many of them hug and kiss their fathers? A man’s man is made from love – and no other way!
Do you want to see a grown man cry? Ask him to speak about his father! Yes, it’s that serious…
Just some good man thoughts…