A mom and son relationship is a very unique one. Boys generally look up to their fathers or a father-figure for how to interact with others, show affection towards others, and respond to different situations. Hopefully, that father or father-figure is a good example to his son. But the mother, on the other hand, has a chance to show her son how a girl wants to be treated and how he should expect to be treated by the opposite sex. This will help him see what he can do to have better relationships in the future. I have three sons myself and strive constantly to follow the suggestions below to maintain a good relationship with them. I have found these key points to be pretty successful.
- Communication is key. Listen to your child and give him your full attention when he is talking to you. Let him know that he is important and what he is thinking and feeling is of concern to you. Look him in the eye and be ready to answer any questions he may have for you. Even if the question seems silly to you, remember that he is younger and learning things for the first time. Don't make him feel trivial.
- Show that you can be trusted. If you want your son to keep coming back to you for advice and to tell you things in confidence, you need to show him that you can be trusted. It is so easy to tell your friends about something "cute" Johnny told you last night, but if Johnny knew you were telling others, he would probably lose the desire to come to you as a confidant.
- A female touch. Your advantage as a mother is that your son knows you have a more tender heart than a father or father-figure. In time, and with your trust, he knows he will be able to share things with you and get your expert advice from a woman's perspective. Men sometimes brush things off a bit more easily and don't see a boy's feelings, and these are the times that your son will want your perspective.
- Be an example. Part of developing a healthy relationship with a son is making sure that you are a good example to him. Actions really do speak louder than words. You cannot expect your son to know how to treat others with respect, if you are always fussing with your husband or mate, or say you will do something and never follow through. Think about the things you are doing and take an inventory on some areas of your life that you need to clean up. Do you watch objectionable TV shows that you don't want your son to see? Maybe you should choose something different to watch. Are you telling your son to eat his vegetables while you are cramming down a hot fudge sundae? I never said having a healthy relationship with your son was easy. It does take work and maybe a change in yourself, as well.
- Give reading materials. You can provide your son with reading materials that teach him how to treat others. There are subjects on respect, dating, his role in the family unit, and others. Check out your local library catalog.
- Defer touchy subjects. When it comes time for the "talk" with your son, this is really better suited to be delivered by dad or a father-figure in your son's life (an uncle or someone like that). I am strong believer that this is not a mother's subject to delve into. But, on the other hand, I do strongly believe that this talk needs to be done with your son instead of letting his mind wander and taking advice from other kids who do not really understand their bodies changing and developing. Many schools are now offering these types of classes, which to some is a relief, but I think someone near and dear to your son needs to reinforce or confirm what is being taught. Different families have different values when it comes to this time in a son's life, so you may have to tweak what the school system is doing to fit your family.
If you are a single mom, you should choose someone that you and your son are totally comfortable with to talk with and answer questions that your son has about physical development and physical relationships. You should probably be present in the home when this is going on, just for piece of mind, but not in hearing distance of the conversation.
Mothers and sons have a unique relationship. I really enjoy having three boys and seeing them grow into responsible people. Knowing your balance in the relationship and keeping open communication are so important. Really, your son is taking all sorts of mental notes about how you react to him and others, and he is learning more than you think!