Photo by Gabe Pierce on Unsplash
Photo by Gabe Pierce on Unsplash

Mothering Boys


I grew up with two sisters, and I have two daughters and a son.  I know a lot about raising daughters but not about raising a boy.  What does a boy need from his mom?  What are some specific ways that I can best meet the unique needs of my son?


You’ve already taken the first step by realizing that there are some very real differences in raising boys and girls and that moms can make unique contributions to raising sons.  Here are some things I’ve learned over the past 40 years from some exceptional moms who helped their boys become Godly men:

Accept and embrace the UNIQUENESS of your son.  Boys experience and express emotions in ways that are different from girls and can need extra care in learning the language of the heart.

Learn HOW to communicate with him by becoming fluent in how men communicate.  Sometimes a grunt is more than just a grunt.

Know that how YOU view men and talk about men will say a lot to your son about who HE is as a male.

Reinforce his value by demonstrating your RESPECT for him. This is one of the main ways he processes and receives love.  What does respect look like?

Respect means that you listen . . . that you teach him that his perspective is valuable to you because he is valuable to you . . . that you show him you have heard and considered his point of view when you make parenting decisions . . .  that you give him legitimate compliments . . .  that you teach him how to use words about emotion . . . that you explain your own emotions to him . . . that when you disagree with him or know that there is a better path for him, he knows he has been heard . . . that you teach him who is the boss and how to respond to authority . . . and that you forgive.

Finally, one of the most important things a mom can do to help her son become a faithful Christ-follower is to PRAY with him and for him.  As you “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17) he will learn that he is precious in your eyes and in the eyes of his Lord and you will demonstrate the difference that Christ can make in a life.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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