Mothering Sons

Mothering sons in our society is not easy, neither is mothering daughters.

With our destructive media, pressure from peers and a boy's natural inclination to lust after the opposite sex, a mother's work is never done.

My son is turning 8 years old this month and while he is still naive and lives a sheltered life, I can't sit back and wait to talk to him about tough issues, like purity and girls. Because someone else will. The TV programs (Disney Channel) and movies (like Diary of a Wimpy Kid) are not afraid to address the boy/girl issue. I can't be scared either.

When we take the initiative to introduce a Godly standard, everything else he hears or sees will be compared to the high standard God has put into place to protect and provide for His kids.

In my opinion, I think boys 8 and under should be taught:
  • to respect girls (even their pesky sisters)
  • to never, ever hit a girl
  • to open the door for Mom, help her with groceries
  • to give Mom and sisters privacy when they dress or shower
  • to honor other people's personal space
  • to protect their own body from invasion
  • to only go to Internet sites approved by parents
  • to know their own anatomy (great talk for Dad's)
  • to say no to ANYONE (kids and adults) who wants to touch them inappropriately, play sexual games, etc
Your Boy: Raising a Godly Son in an Ungodly World by Vicki Courtney is an excellent resource for this age.

I think boys 9 thru 11 should be taught:
  • about sex (the basics-which have changed since you were a kid)
  • about their changing body
  • about girls (how they flirt, think, change into young women)
  • about the evilness on the Internet (pornography)
  • about standing up for what's right (in conversation w/ other boys), even if it means standing alone
  • about pressure to be cool and like everyone else (they don't have to have a cell phone or iTouch to be cool-I don't recommend either!)
Preparing Your Son for Every Man's Battle: Honest Conversations About Sexual Integrity is an excellent resource for this age!

For boys 12 and up:
Don't hold back. The world isn't. There is an agenda to make sex before marriage the norm. Talk to them about choosing purity. I highly recommend taking your sons on a weekend at 12 or 13 years for a Passport to Purity retreat. At this age, there needs to be CONSTANT communication and supervision regarding sex, purity, pornography, girls, lust, movies, music etc.

What would you add to my age-appropriate lists?


Tracy said...

I think the only thing I'd add is always keep an open mind and a soft tongue when they mention how they feel (hormones, etc) or if they ask about specific situations (they heard something on the playground and they ask you for clarification), so they will feel comfortable enough with you to keep the dialogue open. Because if you're harsh or if you react TOO negatively, that will just make them shut down. (this might be easier for the dads in this case, because what does a MMMMOOOOOOMMMMM know about a growing young man's hormones. Because you know, we've never gone through anything like that! *L*

PS~Erin said...

I'm reading Vicki's book, 5 Conversations You Must Have With your Daughter. I didn't realize she had one for sons. I'll be looking into that one as well.

I've seen Mary Flo Ridley speak on talking to your preschoolers about sex. She is so wonderful. Her latest series is called Simple Truths and I just ordered her dvd. Haven't watched it yet, but she talks about doing a timeline with your tween, talking about their past and their future and then focussing in on the years 13-18, talking about how the decisions they make during this short period of time will affect their future. The way she put it was so spot on.

rachelizabeth said...

I've been waiting for this post! My three boys are 9, 6, and 3, and I'm trying so hard to teach them the importance of respecting girls and seeing them as real people with real feelings, not like the sex symbols that are thrown in their faces.

The other day, at my son's t-ball game, some of the boys on the team started talking about girls being hot and sexy. 6 YEAR OLDS! T-BALL! The talk was shut down pretty quick (our team mom works the dugout & is the children's minister at a local Baptist church), but still. It was shocking to hear that.

The main thing I'm doing now is keeping communication open. I make sure that the boys know they can talk to me or their dad about anything. I always make sure to validate their feelings and really listen to what they have to say. I've learned that if you pour your whole attention on the boys when they talk, they will end up sharing more than they originally meant to. You alaso learn their individual body language to know if they are holding back or uncomfortable. Validating that they're uncomfortable usually is enough to make them at least a little more comfortable and a little more willing to talk about things.

Dr.Kim said...

Wow, you really got me thinking! I have FOUR little boys; the oldest is 7. I have been unsure how to handle this upcoming time; thanks so much for your suggestions!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

A very good post...and something to think about...Thanks for sharing..

Angi~Mistress of Mayhem said...

Timely post, thanks! I have a 9 year old and am amazed/horrified at what he's learned from the kids on the school playground! Staying informed and involved is important.

Seizing My Day said...

I am not ready! My little man is turning 8 in six weeks. I had "The" conversation with my daughter at age 8 after she learned the "s word"... I am so not ready to tell my giggly, silly, very child like little boy! I guess I need to get ready! *sigh*

Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said...

One thing we've talked a lot with our son (age 6 1/2) about is to feel okay to walk away when he hears things (language, negative talking, etc.) by others, especially when he's out playing with friends and there are older kids (neighbors, siblings, etc.) around. He shows us that he knows what's appropriate and comfortable for him with his choice to move out of those situations.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be great to teach the older sons several aspects of the "why" in saving sex for marriage?
Mark Gungor (Laugh your way to a better marriage) has some great points here: It seems the brain is wired to take imprints of the first experiences with sex. Making the first experiences the mold for what sex is about and how it is supposed to be to be good. Thus casual sex can make the imprint that 'sex is all about me getting what I want right here right now'. Not a good mold for a lifetime with a spouse!

GlowinGirl said...

I don't think I have anything extra to add to this list of what to tell, but I will say that how we communicate is just as important as what. As embarrassing as it might be, I think we can still create an open environment that allows our kids to keep asking questions. I hated having to tell my son at age 10 some of the things that we did, but I think he was ready, and I definitely didn't want to shut down the line of communication because of prudishness.

Thanks for the guidelines and book reccomendations. I look forward to checking them out!

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Hi there! I stopped here for the first time when you were on your Compassion trip, and just added you to my blog roll so that I would not lose track of your blog...easy to do when there are so many to read! =)

I am a mama to sons, and so appreciate this post...and agree. When my oldest son, now sixteen, was ten years old, I felt an urgency to stuff as much truth about purity and relationships with the opposite sex as possible. There were so many opportunities for teachable moments and biblical principles. I now believe it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit to talk about those things...because not long after that time, he started listening to me less. There are still teachable moments, but they are fewer and far between, as he seeks to become his own person. It's even more important to be available when they do come, and to tread lightly....not preaching. It has to be done subtly and creatively at this stage of our relationship. More listening than talking...

All that I would add is: Pray, pray, pray...

God's grace and faithfulness covers it all...and as our boys grown into young men and go places where we cannot guide them, knowing God is everywhere is my greatest comfort.

Blessings to you,
Kelly Gerken
Sufficient Grace Ministries

Crystal said...

I am a mom to five boys. I pray a lot! I reflect a lot. We certainly are molding the future!

Crystal said...

Wanted to let you know you were featured on my blog yesterday for sending traffic my way by means of your 'works for me wednesday' link up! Check the post and and feel free to add my 'i was featured @ Crystal & Co' button to your site.

Felicia said...

Good list. I have also stressed over the years the importance of being a provider for his family and taking responsibility for his children. That the responsibility for your children lasts a long time. As a foster parent I have seen so many families suffer because the father will not step up to the plate and be responsible for his children. Discussing child support for 18 years does help with abstinence.

Beverly @ The Buzz said...

Excellent post. Thanks, Kristen. I love that you are so willing to broach sensitive subjects. Adding this to my Saturday Shout Outs.

Andi said...

Thank you for this! I have two boys, they are 3 and 4, and I have already stressed a great deal about to handle these subjects in the coming years. This post is a great resource for me. Thank you!

Dawn said...

Great points, Kristen! The only thing I would add is that we believed early on (when the kids were preschoolers) that it was important to have daddy/daughter and mother/son "dates" with our kids. It gave opportunities to have some of those talks and so that they both learned their "rolls" appropriately and learned appropriate expectations for dates. My daughter learned from dad how she should expect to be treated on a date. My son learned how to treat a young lady on a date. Now that he's 17, he plans our dates, drives and handles the bill/tip (with money that I've given him ahead of time). He also has a girlfriend now and his parents have expressed their appreciation of how respectful he is of their daughter. I don't say that to brag - just to say that I don't believe he'd be like he is if it wasn't ingrained since he was little. It's habit and "what's supposed to be" for him now.

Rachel said...

Thanks for the resource on raising sons by Vicki Courtney. I am right there now with an 8yo son as well and feeling way out of my league with both my boys and girls.

Marcy - The Glamorous Life! said...

I have told my boys about sex from say the age of 6 I think. Whenever they asked...I told them. Pretty simple actually. I don't tell them more than necessary. But I told them.

And I can not tell you how many moms I have met who are SHOCKED my 9 yr old and 11yr old know about sex. I consider it responsible parenting to explain the biology of it all...

But man there are gonna be a lot of confused kids out there I think.

Amanda said...

Am I allowed to hijack your comments and let your readers know that you were nominated for an Awesome Blog award (two actually) and that EVEN though none of your great readers knew you are STILL in the running???



Loretta said...

Right now I'm reading "Boys should be boys" by Meg Meeker (author of "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters"). Although on one level it seems like common sense, it is really impressing on me just how important this task of raising boys really is. She discusses the importance of less structured outdoor play, of strong family ties, and the need to know that God exists and his life is no accident. I think it is a good read for parents with boys at any age, particularly ages 5 on up.

Molly said...

Dawn, I think that's a great idea! How wonderful to have a safe place for these discussions and to learn how to treat others in dating situations.
Kristen, I think this is a great dialogue to have. I think I would add that sex and love are not anything to be embarassed about, that they are normal feelings, but they do have a time and place. That it is always ok to come to Mom or Dad with any question about sex. As parents, you should probably also have other people picked out that you children can go to with questions they aren't comfortable asking you - I know my nieces are ALWAYS welcome to ask me questions if they aren't comfortable going to their mom for WHATEVER reason. I was always welcome to go to my sister for uncomfortable questions, too. And having that "outside" safe place can be very comforting.

Hope said...

I recently had a conversation with my 13 yo about pornography. I told him that it is just as dangerous as someone offering him drugs, alcohol, etc... We had a very in depth conversation about what the fact that it takes just a split second for an image to be burned into your mind and it could not just damage him, but even be an issue in his future marriage.

I can't believe the grief a friend gave me over having that conversation with him. I'm all for empowering my kids to have the tools to make appropriate decisions. We do have continual dialogue about these things, but he's starting to go to friends' houses more and I wanted him to be prepared if he ever encounters it. As a mother of 3 sons and a daughter, I think people are quick to overlook how important these things are to discuss with a boy.

Stam House said...

very interesting post! So for we just have girls but Lord willing we will have boys in the future! This post will be a great resource if the time comes!

thanks for sharing!


Amy Lynn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wander said...

Awesome resources! And yes, you are so right! My son will be home today from his first year away at college (he attends a very liberal and wild party school).
I can't tell you how proud I am of him. Hubby and I invested in him throughout his life and did the things you posted about! IT WORKS!
He is a great leader! He is not swayed by peers to do stuff that most kids fold like a cheap tent on.
We have kept in communication with him regarding the yuck around him at college. He's been a great friend to many on his floor that were making poor choices. We're thankful that he stood strong and helped those around him in need.
Even though their choices were not God honoring!
He's always been a kid of integrity and now as a young adult...I'm blown away by his CHOOSING to follow God even when it's NOT cool!
God is good!

Parents: Don't be afraid to lead your kids! Teach them to follow God and His precepts! Make sure you're living them outloud in front of them too!
Or else, you might see opposite results!

Can't wait to get home and hug my boy! :)

Bennett Family said...

"Preparing him for the other woman" A mothers guide to raising her son to love a wife and lead a family. By Sheri Rose Shepherd

Great quick read.

Bennett Family said...

"Preparing him for the other woman" A mothers guide to raising her son to love a wife and lead a family. By Sheri Rose Shepherd

Great quick read.

Anonymous said...

We're raising four boys ages 6-15, and I agree wholeheartedly with this list. We also teach them that if they want good, wholesome friends, they have to look the part. Oh, and that they must always, always lift the seat! ;)

cfmorton said...

Great post. I often think we as parents miss teaching about "standing up for what is right even if they stand alone" . We tend to focus more on the knowing right from wrong but you're totally right here you must go a step further to teach them to stand behind what's right. Great point!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the resources Kristen. I had no brothers and feel so out of my element with my boys. But it doesn't really matter how I feel... it's still my job to train, protect and prepare my boys so thanks again!!!

Laryssa Herbert said...

Thanks for the great advice!

Anonymous said...

What do you mine sex basics have changed?! (Fingers in my ears)La, La, La, I can't hear you.

Eegads. I just hate this stuff even though I know it must be tackled.

Brandi said...

You all probably already do this, but we encourage our boys to turn the channel when innapropriate material comes on (all those dern commercials!)

They've learned by watching their dad change the channel, and we don't watch TV without the remote right by our side. It's sad that it has to be that way, but it is unbelievable what is shown on commercials!

We want to teach them that TV in general isn't bad --there is good stuff on-- but we always have to keep our guard up.

Harper said...

I think it's important to make a clear connection between sex and procreation and that the primary purpose of the former is the latter. Part of the modern agenda is to take sex completely out of context, which makes it so much harder to talk about.

Harper said...

I think it's important to make a clear connection between sex and procreation and that the primary purpose of the former is the latter. Part of the modern agenda is to take sex completely out of context, which makes it so much harder to talk about.

Tara said...

Kristen, thank you so much for this post! The tips by age group are much appreciated!

Ashleigh (Heart and Home) said...

I have nothing to add because my boys are 2 and 4. But I just have to say that while I'm in boy mode and girls scare me, raising these little men to be grown men scares me silly. Nothing takes me to my knees, begging for wisdom, as quickly as the reality of raising up these little guys. Thank you for some direction as someone a few steps ahead of us.

Mary said...

My boys are mostly grown now (21, 18, & 15); it's good to know we did things right! Being the only female in the house, I am treated like a queen because we taught our boys to respect girls. It also helps to have a terrific husband as a good role model.

Loretta said...

Mary, that is one thing I am thankful for, that my husband is a FANTASTIC role model for the boys. And he is who he is because of HIS dad. So yes, they are both practical jokers and his poor mom and I are often the subject of lots of tricks and teasing, but underlying it is an undeniable respect. Tease all they want, they will never criticize or demean us in any way. I'm exceedingly thankful my boys have such good role models.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

As a mother of five sons, three in adulthood, one teenager and one 4 year old...I can say it isn't easy to raise sons in this world...but it can be done! I have so enjoyed the world of boys...and I do have one girl, who is a delight...and hard to raise in this world also.
We did get a call of thanks this week from our 24 year old son telling us thanks for showing, (because that seems to be the best teacher) how to treat women....he really stands out from his peers.

It is all a heart issue!

Our biggest thing was having our sons all have jobs by age 16...this was a huge teacher.


Shannon said...

I agree with much of your post. My husband has a definite sense of respect for women taught well by his parents and I can only hope and pray that our 2 (soon to be 3) boys will learn this. They are only 1 and 3 right now, time to prepare and plan now, thank goodness. There is so much responsibility and joy that comes from the sacred stewardship of parenthood. I appreciate all of the encouraging comments as well. I hope I can be level headed and prayerful we address such sensitive issues in the future.

Sheri said...

As mom to two boys, 12 and 14, this is something I worry about constantly. I have the Every Man's Battle book, and both boys have read it and discussed it with us. My oldest tells me all the time that he's pretty sure his friends don't talk to their mom about things like sex, but he and I talk about everything. It's only awkward the first time, and now it sometimes seems like he needs to talk so much that it just pours out of him. My husband reassures me that the obsession with girls is perfectly normal, lol, because I was worried!

Communication is the key, and I think it's very important to tell them what you expect of them. We have issues in our local theatre with kids as young as 12 going to movies and making out (making out would be the least of the things they are doing, but trying to keep this PG rated). I hate to refuse to let my kids see a movie because of the way others behave. I told my son to act as if his saintly grandmother might walk in and sit down beside him at any moment. He laughed, but he knows what I mean and he knows what we expect.

These are difficult conversations to have with your sons, and daughters, but so worth it.