We think your son needs everything from you. However, the following 10 things add up to a solid start, and they are gateway concepts to so much more.
But there’s a balance at play here. You see, ultimately, your job is to make sure that there’s nothing your son needs from you (other than love). Too many parents create a toxic culture of dependency where, we kid you not, mom or dad even contact prospective employers to cover for their child’s poor interview, sorry work ethic or subpar resume to pressure the hire.
Our job is to raise young people in love and security, but also make sure they are well equipped to leave home and make it on their own. In order to accomplish that goal, here are 10 things your son needs from you:
1. Be There.
Your son needs your presence. Your son needs quantity playtime with his dad, not just quality playtime. He needs you at school conferences, soccer games, church events, and mealtimes. Mealtimes are especially crucial to child development, and your son needs his dad. He needs you to wish him good-night and he needs to watch you live. He needs to watch you treat his mother right, to watch you make decisions, to watch you value the right things…
It’s a cliché that what all men want, ultimately, is respect. Ditto your son.
One way to earn respect is to demonstrate responsibility. He can’t do this without your help, your expectations, and your coaching.
Along with responsibility comes trust. This is a form of believing in your son. Don’t badger, expect. Trust suggests respect. Respect leads to trust. Trust accepted equals responsible behavior.
Your son needs boundaries he can understand. Fact is: There is more freedom with secure boundaries than without. Obviously these vary with age and maturity.
We’re not talking about stalking your son, checking up on him every instant or calling him to task for every detail. However, real world preparation must involve holding to account, following through, and the understanding that every choice he makes is potentially open for review.
Your son doesn’t need to simply know that you love him, he needs to feel it, see it in action, and understand that it’s as deep and wide as the ocean. Love is the greatest source of strength either of you have. Embrace love; own it, practice it and tell him how you feel.
8. Affection and touch.
Too many men are confused about affection. They confuse distance with manliness and nothing could be further from the truth. So hug. Express your feelings. And, above all, don’t be afraid to say, “I love you” to your son. Don’t close him out from affection because of your own fear. Your son very much needs physical contact with his dad. A hand on the shoulder, hugs and embraces, and holding his hand when he’s younger. Physical touch is key to human development, from infancy on up. Your son needs your physical touch.
9. Advice vis-à-vis “the ‘S’ word”:
Your son needs his dad to be his hero.Your son needs your advice. He needs you to teach him about love and respect. He needs his dad to tell and to show him how to treat other people. What is appropriate when it comes to girls? What is right and wrong? Your son needs you to talk to him about sex.
Your son needs your example. If you’ve been a poor example, then he needs to hear you admit that and then he needs to see you find your way. He needs to have a dad around who he can look up to, model, admire, and emulate. Your son needs his dad to be his hero.
Huddle Up Question
What is one thing you need from me that I am not giving you?