Every parent knows that raising children is hard. Every parent to a son knows it’s a lot more challenging to raise boys in this world and time compared to how our parents raised us during our time.
Statistically, boys are more academically-challenged now and a great number of them are struggling with mental health issues that lead to an increase in depression and suicide rates. While several factors can be one of the causes, it is no secret that more can be attributed to the outdated parenting that boys are getting compared to girls.
Fathers who have sons need to understand that parenting boys require a more thoughtful approach that requires more than just providing for their daily needs. It is no longer just about buying them things they want, sending them to the best schools, or getting them involved in an online social skills group for personality and character growth.
Here are a few truths that dads today need to recognize and understand when it comes to raising boys.
Truth 1: Your son’s future depends on what he sees in you.
You read that right. Your son will look to you not just for affirmation and approval but as an example — whether good or bad, it’s up to you. You are his role model and how he views the world growing up he takes from you — your words and your deeds.
For instance, if you’re the type who looks down on women or racially profiles people, then chances are your son will grow up to be a misogynist or racist. Poor examples can carry over to their adult lives. Similarly, a good example, such as showing empathy and kindness, can also be passed on to them.
So be careful how you conduct yourself around them. Monkey see, monkey do.
Truth 2: It’s okay for men to cry, talk about, and deal with emotions.
As a father, it is your duty to help your boys understand that crying and showing emotions is not just a feminine trait but human nature. When boys are denied this right to express themselves emotionally, they grow up with a false sense of masculinity that is centered on aggression.
Truth 3: Winning isn’t everything in life.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting your son to win, do not put winning and achieving above all else. Understand that the overemphasis on winning can make a young boy believe that your love is tied to accomplishments. If at anytime your son fails to accomplish or achieve something, this might lead him to think low of himself and not worthy of your love.
Instead of focusing on winning in life, teach your son the value of hard work. That as long as he does his best in everything, regardless of the outcome, he is a winner and that nothing will ever separate your love from him
Truth 4: Dads should support and protect the friendships their sons make.
Today’s world is a harsh place to grow up in and it is dangerous for a young boy to step into it without the support system that meaningful friendships offer. As dads, you need to talk to your son about the importance of having friends who stick closer than brothers as they journey through life. It falls to you to help your kid maintain those relationships and make it flourish over the years.
Truth 5: Men should be more involved in their sons’ schoolwork.
Just because you’re paying for their school doesn’t absolve you from being involved in it as a parent. Education is a very important aspect of a young boy’s life and your involvement in your son’s academics will help reinforce the value of education. It also tells him that you will always have time for him even if you’re already tired from a long day at work. This shows him that you value the time you spend with him and that’s saying a lot, especially in a world where absentee fathers abound.
It takes a special person to parent a child. It takes a real man to raise a son. Are you up to the challenge?