Training Sons to Be Confident and Decisive (Part 3)

This is Part 3 in a series prompted by a question from a young mom I know about getting her young son to be more decisive!  Read Training Sons: Part 1 and Training Sons: Part 2 if you missed them.  Here are more thoughts I hope are helpful.  Next week in this Tuesday series we’ll talk about confidence in self vs. confidence in God.

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Training Sons to Be Confident and Decisive (Part 3)

So, if you have sons, oh man, can they have some crazy ideas–and some boys start coming up with them very young!  Moms, listen to the ideas of your sons.  Be very careful not to squash their dreams!!  Your sons will dream CRAZY dreams!  Just because he says he’s going to (or wants to) do something absurd doesn’t mean that he will.  Don’t think that you have to say something to squelch it or it will happen.  I recommend you listen.  If you are busy doing something with your hands, and just let him talk to you, it will allow you to listen without condoning or encouraging, yet not squashing or squelching.

Your responses when he shares his crazy dreams will communicate either that it’s ok to dream or communicate to him that he should not do that again! Or it may convince him, “Don’t talk to mom.”  I have a picture in my mind and can only imagine what the mothers of Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, or the Wright Brothers must have heard from their boys when they were little!

Teach your sons to pray for wisdom, obey the Word of God and their parents (and as they get older to listen to their counsel).  In both words and actions, be an example of how to make wise decisions.

If you want a fearful boy, say, “Be careful!” all the time. “Don’t do that!” “You might get hurt!” “Just sit still and be quiet.” or “Be good.”  If you want a son who is insecure and feels inept, be sure to say and convey, “Why can’t you be like your sister?” (or brother, or anyone you’re comparing them to!)

Training Sons to Be Confident and Decisive (Part 3)

When he’s young and the stakes are small, allow him to experience failure.  Teach him how to deal with making a less than perfect decision or choice and that it’s fine/ok/no big deal–just try again!  “Now you know what doesn’t work.” (As I think Thomas Edison said about his large number of failed inventions!)  Say, “No harm done.”  Don’t overreact when he makes a mistake or fails.  Don’t berate him.  Teach him to get back up again, to ask forgiveness if necessary, to “get back up in the saddle” and not to fear failure.
Moms, if you have small boys, (well, any aged boys, but start when they’re really, really young, if you can) praise them for Godly character, and be Biblical in the terms you use.
Instead of saying, “You’re so cute,” “You’re so smart,” “I like your new toy” or even, “Good job!” you might try these things to say:
  • “You were so kind to your little brother this morning!”
  • “You are being very joyful and contented.”  
  • “Thank you for being helpful (or serving) when you brought me the diaper for your baby brother.”
  • You were very industrious, and I’m proud of you for persevering to finish the job of picking up all those toys.  Good job!”
  • “I know that some boys would have been afraid in that situation, and maybe you were, too, but you showed courage.” 
  • “You were patient when you waited until Mama was off the phone to ask your question. That was very loving.”
(Next week I will be talking about using the Word of God in your everyday interactions with your children and about teaching them to trust God rather than their own efforts.)
Don’t always make things “easy” for your sons.  Expect and challenge them to do hard things, perhaps even more than they (and you) think they can do.  Allow them to take reasonable risks, and to be courageous.

Be your son’s greatest cheerleader!

Smile at your son, (and all of your children) and communicate continually to him, “You. Can. Do. It!”

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