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Interview with a psychologist

Raising boys: how to raise your son into a good man

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When a boy is born in a family, parents want them to grow up into strong and courageous decision-makers – in short, into the representation of what hides behind the term “good man”. However, not everyone knows what needs to be done in order to achieve that, and, in turn, how to raise a son correctly. Our article is for parents who are faced with the question of how to raise a boy into a real man.

Contents:

The particularities of raising boys: what is important to consider

In 2017, a popular women’s website conducted a survey on the topic “In your opinion, how should a real man be?” Amongst the most valuable qualities of an ideal male, the following have been named: reliability, masculinity, hard work and responsibility. A real man, according to the majority of women, knows what they want from life, is noble, honest and courageous. The readers also pointed out that it is important for such a man to be in good physical shape, to have a general culture and developed communication skills which would enable them to maintain a conversation on any topic.

It is important to understand that these qualities will not form in a child on their own. The foundations of a son’s masculinity must be laid by their parents starting from early childhood. These are the conditions that enable a boy to become a man.

This is what happens from a theoretical standpoint. The upbringing of boys in real life can be observed on the playground, on the street, in the store and in other similar places:

Summer morning. Mom and her four-year-old son Paul go for a walk on the playground. The mother sits on the bench, and Paul plays in the sand. The neighbor boy Mike is already playing there. Paul sits down next to them and puts some sand in a bucket. The mini shovel is very small, and a part of the sand falls out on Paul himself and on Mike, who’s sitting next to them. Paul’s mother shouts:

– “Paul, stop throwing the sand at Mike, you are making him dirty!”

Mike, wanting to help Paul, gives him his shovel. The bucket is full, but Paul liked the shovel so much that there is no way that they would want to return it to their owner. The mother who is observing the scene, shouts again:

– “Paul, give the shovel back right now! If you cannot play properly, leave the playground!”

Paul is reluctant to leave, but he does so; at this moment, his gaze falls on the slide, which he’s been wanting to ride for a long time. The child walks up the stairs and immediately hears his mother’s voice, in which we could clearly distinguish the feeling of discontent:

– “Where are you going ?! Get off right now! Do you want to break your neck or what? You will ride off this slide when you will grow up”.

With a sigh, Paul gets off the slide, and then a pigeon lands near him. Paul really wants to touch it, the boy runs up to the pigeon, but the bird suddenly takes off. At this point, we could hear the voice of Paul’s mother on the playground again:

– “Paul, are you stupid to run after birds? Come here quickly, your shoelaces are not tied”. 

Paul bends down and sees that the lace on their right shoe is actually not tied. The child still does not know how to tie shoelaces, but he is very curious to learn. Paul sits down to tie their shoelaces, attempts to do it, but only tangles them even more. The mother shouts at the boy:

– “Have you not heard me? Come here quickly, I will tie them myself!”

Paul runs over to their mother, steps on the lace, trips and falls over. Their mother’s angry voice can be heard all across the playground:

– “Oh, this is not a child, but rather a never-ending nightmare! That’s it, we won’t go on walks anymore, since you don’t know how to behave yourself properly!”

And after that, the mother walks away with the crying boy…

What kind of independence, broadening of the general culture or the acquisition of communication skills can we talk about, if all of the child’s actions are immediately suppressed by an overly “caring” mother?

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When raising a boy, it is important to learn to trust and ask for help. The mother must be able to ask the gentleman to help her carry the bag, although they are only four years old. The foundation for a future man is responsibility, courage, generosity and patronage over their family members (wife, children and parents).

Indeed, many parents make typical mistakes when raising their sons, sometimes without even thinking about the consequences. Therefore, we will focus on these issues further in this article.

The most common parental mistakes

An overly caring approach 

The first and most important mistake of all moms and dads when raising boys is overprotection. Moreover, it usually stems from good intentions: “I care about my son”, “I want him to feel good.” But what is good for a mother, differs significantly from what is good for a son. The mother will be happy if her boy is calm and is preferably always by her side. They will not jump into the nettle, will not ride the bicycle with their friends, will not go parachuting.

A child needs the full spectrum of physical and mental development, which is possible only through having a direct interaction with the outside world. This includes running after the pigeons and crows and getting acquainted with the world of birds and their characteristics. Mixing everything up in the sand, whilst at the same time, becoming familiar with the chemical properties of sand. Climbing a high hill, while training agility and developing bravery and courage. Everything major has got a very delicate beginning.

Seize to overprotect your child and give them more personal space without breaking their personal boundaries. At the same time, be always aware of where they are, what they are doing, and whether everything is OK with them. Download the “Find My Kids” app from the AppStore and GooglePlay.

Excessive strictness and prohibitions 

How to Deal With Out-Of-Control Teen Behaviors

The second extreme is bringing up the boy in overly strict conditions. When any manifestations of independence, as in the case of overprotection, are immediately suppressed. The child grows up in an atmosphere of prohibitions and restrictions, even the slightest misconduct results in a punishment. As a result, the boy grows up either cruel and embittered by the whole world, or with a huge amount of insecurities.

A “girly” way of upbringing

Another parental mistake or issue may be the upbringing of a boy as a girl. Neatness, modesty and good manners are indeed good for boys too, but once again, within the scope of some reasonable boundaries. Whilst developing these qualities, parents forget that their son is really a boy, which means that they are future protectors and breadwinners. Excessive hugging and kissing, as well as the fulfillment of all whims, will only lead to harm.

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There has always been an important rule that should always be taken into account: what is necessary for a girl, may harm a boy. A girl can bloom only in an atmosphere of love, she is in a constant need for love and care. A boy can develop only in an atmosphere of tasks, difficulties and overcoming obstacles, what they mostly need is love and trust. Of course, until the age of five, both boys and girls need love and care, but past this age, care should remain of primary importance only for a girl.

10 main traits of a real man

So what are qualities that need to be developed in boys, so that they grow up into worthy men?

Determination

A boy must be able to make their own decisions, otherwise, they will be bound by someone else’s decisions throughout their whole life: firstly, it would be their mother’s, then their wife’s.

Drive and motivation

For the future of a man, it is highly important not only to be able to set goals, but also to achieve them. Therefore, teach your boy to always complete the task that was initiated and not to be afraid of difficulties. Don’t forget to praise your son!

Courage

The first step to developing this quality is helping your child to overcome fears. Explain to them that there is nothing irregular about the feeling of fear and that all people experience it. One should not be ashamed of it, they should rather overcome it. Encourage the child to meet other people, play active games with peers, play sports, and then your son will grow up into a brave and courageous man.

Responsibility 

It is this quality that lies behind the transformation of a boy into a man. Do you know what many wives complain about? That husbands do not want to be responsible for anything major and prefer for everything to resolve somehow on it’s own, without their participation. Where does it stem from? Again, from childhood. From the “sit, I’ll do it myself”, “you’re still too little”, “mom knows better” etc.

Therefore, dear mothers, teach your sons to be responsible both for themselves and for those who are younger and weaker, those who need help and protection, from as early as possible. An 11-year-old boy may well take a walk with their newborn sister in the yard while their mother is resting or cooking dinner. Regular chores around the house will also teach your son responsibility and hard work.

Patience and willpower 

It is important to maintain a balance between the desire to hug and comfort your son if they fall over and hurt themselves, and developing physical and mental endurance within them. It is better to go up to them and calmly say: “I see that you fell and hurt your knee a little, I understand that it is unpleasant for you. There is nothing wrong about that. Now we will disinfect your wound, treat it and put a plaster on it. After that, you can go and carry on playing”.

Active nature

Men are explorers, travelers and pioneers, by their nature. Do not limit your son’s freedom. Let them climb, look, touch, try. Your task lies solely in making sure that they are safe.

In order not to worry about your child at all times and to provide them with the needed amount of freedom, download the “Find My Kids” app from GooglePlay and AppStore. Always know where your child is and what is happening around them.

Self-confidence 

Above all, remember that self-confidence begins with a sense of security. If a boy knows that their parents love them and can help in any situation, it means that they will be successful in anything they do. And if they are faced with setbacks, they can calmly overcome them with no major issue.

Honesty 

The best example in instilling this character trait in your son lies in the honest and sincere behavior of parents. When no one in the family is afraid to admit their mistakes and to tell the truth. Your son must remember one simple truth: everything kept secret becomes apparent at one point, so it is better to confess what you have done now rather than to live with a heavy feeling of guilt.

Compassion, generosity and an open heart 

Teach the boy to protect those who are weaker and share with those in need. Tell them what it means to be a “knight”. Demonstrate through your own example how important it is to have a good heart: feed a homeless cat, help a neighbor carry heavy bags to their apartment, make way for a pregnant lady on the bus.

The skill of gifting and receiving love 

Yes, this character trait should also be present in a real man. Someone who is not afraid to demonstrate their feelings for their wife and children. The one who knows how to make them happy and to entertain them.

Therefore, it is important to introduce your son to the universe of feelings. They must learn to understand their and others’ emotions, not be afraid to express them and be able to manage them. Only by mastering these skills, the future man will be able to live an emotionally rich and fulfilling life.

The role of the mother and the father in the upbringing of the child

In the first years of life, the child spends most of their time with the mother. She provides nutrition and safety for the newborn. It is a deep emotional connection with the mother that creates the prerequisite for the harmonious development of the baby. However, scientists have long proven that the emotional, physical and intellectual development of a child is directly related to the presence of a father in their life. Therefore, dads in no case should be removed from the upbringing process while the son is at the infant stage. Young fathers can play with their babies, put them to bed, read bedtime stories, and take over the mother’s role when she needs to leave.

The child grows up, and with them grows the curiosity and the thirst to learn more about the world around them. Their father will be their best helper with regard to those matters. While the mother is busy with household chores and other tasks, the father can teach their son to ride a bike, fish, as well as to perform some household chores. It is the father who is the role model for the boy, it is with them that the boy wants to spend more time in contrast to their mother.

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The upbringing of the boy is mainly carried out by the father, the mother can neither scold nor punish the son. When the father punishes the boy, the mother does not interfere. If the son did something wrong, the mother tells the father, and the father makes a decision of what to do in this situation.

By adolescence, the boy increasingly begins to feel like a man. Teenagers copy the behavior of adults that they know, try out some behavioral models associated with masculinity. It is at this age that the psychological break-up of the son with the mother and the transition to adulthood should take place.

Many mothers, sensing that their adored son is about to break out of the nest, deliberately inhibit this process. As a result, the teenager either defends their grounds with the help of protest and rebellion (just like in the three-year itch in a relationship) or “gets stuck” at this age for their entire life, remaining the “mama’s little son” forever.

Such a man will never create their own full family without, in a sense, “divorcing” their mother. Therefore, it is very important at this stage to let go of your son and give them the opportunity to become a real man with their own views on life.

What is the main mission of a father in their son’s transitional stage? The fact that it is important for a teenager to get approval from their father for all of their actions. They are looking for attention from a man, it is important for them to feel a “part of the team” with other men. The son observes how their father makes decisions, how they treat their mother, how they interact with other men. This will help the boy in the future to choose the correct strategy for their own behavior.

If the father is absent from the family

Over the last couple of years, the divorce rate in the US has grown up to reach a staggering 40-50% of the population. Although a single father is not a non-existing phenomenon, children are more often raised by single mothers.

What does a single mother need to be familiar with:

  1. Do not try to be a mother and a father to your child all at the same time, pace out your emotional strength. It’s good if a father maintains a relationship with their son and participates in their life. In other cases, the child definitely needs a male role model. This could be a grandfather, an uncle, a teacher, or a coach. One who will be able to become an embodiment of masculinity and reliability for the boy.
  2. Do not speak badly of the father of your child and do not make any comparisons (e.g. “You are just like your father!”).
  3. Do not make a “friend” out of your son, with whom you share all of your personal worries and issues.
  4. Delegate some of the household chores to your child, however, do not “steal” their childhood away from them by overwhelming them with unbearable tasks.
  5. Pay attention to the physical development of your child. Sign them up into extracurricular sports lessons, walk around with them more frequently and have them play active games.
  6. No matter how hard it may be, let your son go from yourself and accept the changes that take place in both of your lives.

How to raise the child as a real man – tips for parents

  1. The boy will grow up into a real man if they will learn to overcome difficulties. On their own, without their mother that tries to take the lead on everything. Therefore, dear mothers, let’s stop being broody hens and let’s turn into women that are proud of their sons and that allow them to become autonomous and independent individuals.
  2. Do not reject the interests of your children only because they seem dangerous and stupid to you. Yes, it is true that there is some risk in hockey, in motorsports and in parachuting. However, these may be the hobbies of your son, activities that strengthen their will and make them stronger, bolder, and more determined.
  3. The boys’ universe is full of excitement, combat, fights and adventures. Hence, stop worrying about every scratch on your son’s body and trying to deal with all of their bullies. It is important for them to do it on their own.
  4. Ask the opinion of your son with regards to events taking place in the world, more often (“What do you think about that?”), and listen carefully to what they have to tell you.
  5. The relationship between the mother and the son may not always be easy, merely because of their gender differences. Therefore, in conflict situations, it is sometimes necessary to step aside and allow the son to discuss the urgent problem with the father. This will kill several birds with one stone. Firstly, the son will feel the importance of the father’s opinion in the family. Secondly, you will be able to strengthen the father-son relationship. And, thirdly, your boy will feel that you are not pressing on them and strive to make them bound to your will.
  6. Boys naturally have much more energy than girls. Therefore, it is so important for them to run, climb and jump anytime and everywhere. Do not restrict the natural outburst of emotions in your child.
  7. Do not criticize nor diminish the status of men in the presence of your son, or otherwise, they will have the opinion formed that all men, including them, are worthless human beings and that their opinion does not hold any value.
  8. The more your boy creates something handmade or just generally, does things on their own, the more confidence they will gain.

Raising a son is not an easy task, especially when it is the first child and when parents are lacking knowledge and experience. But the main postulates remain constant, they get passed on from one century to another, they consist of the love for a child, respect for their personality and leading by your own example. This way, your son will grow from a boy into a real man that you could be rightfully proud of!

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