“He will not call you or answer your calls like the girls do!” my husband David said! I was surprised and hurt at this suggestion!! Our third child, but first son, was leaving for college and David was trying to prepare me for the differences between sons and daughters leaving home.
With Tana during mom’s weekend
Our first to go were girls, our two daughters. I talked with them practically every day. Not long conversations, just quick updates on something fun or hard or new or surprising… just a touch point… a connection. I could not imagine this son of mine was leaving after 18 years and might not respond to my calls in this same fashion!! Even more disturbing was David’s suggestion (ok maybe a little stronger than a suggestion) I not call him!!
It was a defining moment in my mothering of sons. I had a close, loving, respectful and what I would consider influential relationship with my son. My emotions fought to argue; but a gentle, soft voice in me knew I was entering new territory.
I am so thankful I made a decision long ago in my marriage to invite David in to coach me on things he knew more about than me; how to be a man was one of those things!!
At puberty (13), at the conclusion of our sons’ rite of passage, David declares our boys to be men; young men still in need of parenting and direction, but men. He explains we will now treat them differently and they will now act differently because they are men!! For me it meant I no longer was to manage their lives. Yes, I still parented, but natural consequences did more of the teaching and the disciplining. I might say, “Is there anything I can do to help?” But my job was not to nag, punish or reward them for things they could clearly do on their own.
Here are 5 things David taught me about mothering our sons after their rite of passage.
1)Use a tone of respect in conversation; speak directly and teach rather than condescend and judge.
2)Teach him about the differences between male and female wiring – how his dad’s male wiring has influenced me by broadening my perspective. How I love being valued and protected by a man.
3)Affirm his manliness by asking him for his opinions, for help requiring brute strength and catching and praising him for doing things a good husband and father would do.
4)Remind him he is way more than just a sexual being. He’s intelligent, emotional, spiritual, relational, and goal oriented. To not let women use or evaluate him as a sexual performer or consumer.
5)Lastly, I could follow his father because his father was following Christ. Jesus alone has the plan and the basis for who he is. He is the one who gives you what you need to weather the storms of life. Give Him all the glory.
I am so grateful my husband is my best coach on how to mother our sons. And the bonus is, I get to sleep with the coach. Today my sons call and talk for a while. They answer all my questions and they even tell me they love me!!
Have you seen a difference raising your sons vs. your daughters? What’s your favorite tip for mothers with sons? Remember to sign up to follow our blog.