Having boys age seven and eleven is pretty cool. At the same time, you begin to notice you don’t have little boys anymore. They aren’t yet men, but they are growing and maturing and things are changing. While our seven-year-old still needs us for many things, he’s much more independent. Our eleven-year-old is at the adolescent age where a lot of stuff will begin to happen and change fast — the way he views girls, and physical changes like his voice and hair on his body. He recently pointed out a barely visible hair on his face. He’s becoming more of his own person in the way he processes things intellectually and even emotionally, and he’s also trying to fit in with his peers. As our boys become more independent, we should not get lax. This is an important time in their lives. In order for them to become the young men we wish them to be, we must teach and guide them consistently.
Here are 5 things you must do when your son is transitioning from a boy to a young man.
1. Keep talking
You want ongoing dialogue with your sons so they feel comfortable talking about anything at any time.Our 6-year-old son can talk and talk and talk. Sometimes he has way more words than we can fully receive. If we take a car ride alone there isn’t a moment of silence. Our 10-year-old is just the opposite, he won’t say much unless you say something to him. But when he talks our conversations are awesome. No matter which end your boys are on, you must continue talking to them as they mature and grow older. You can judge how much you need to listen and guide the conversation versus how much you need to encourage the conversation. You want an ongoing dialogue with your sons so they feel comfortable talking to you about any subject at any time.
2. Play with them like you did when they were little
Just because our boys are getting older doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy playing with their dad. Playing sports, board games, video games, and just being silly are great bonding moments with your boys. They break down the walls of communication, build trust, help with self-confidence, and help you to connect better. Sometimes your boys may act too cool for school, but inside they enjoy playing with Dad.
3. Don’t allow them to live undisciplined lives
You were a young boy once. You make many wrong decisions as a young boy. Your sons are just like you. They’ll make mistakes, sometimes the same mistakes, over and over again. Don’t neglect their need of discipline from their father. They need it from you; if they don’t get it from you, they’ll get it from somebody else. Or worse, they won’t get it at all. Your discipline may look different from one child to the next, but find the most effective way to help them learn, grow, and become better through it.
4. Take advantage of every teaching opportunities
You have a lot of life lessons, you have a lot of skills, and a great understanding of things they may not yet have. Look for opportunities to share these lessons, these skills, and your wisdom with your sons. This can be practical things like doing laundry or ironing a shirt. Or it can be teaching them how to stay within a budget or spending plan. There are many teaching opportunities in front of us each day. As a homeschooling family, we’ve learned to become intentional, out of necessity, in using daily life experiences as teaching opportunities.
5. Use prayer to bring you closer
Of them all, I believe this will produce the biggest dividends in your son’s lives. It’ll show you care for them like nothing else. For me, my times of prayer are some of the most intimate and transparent moments I have. Praying with them brings that intimacy and transparency into your father-son relationship, and that is important at this age and beyond.
Remember to make the most of the time with your son. Moms also might need help connecting with him, help her with this Mother son bucket list.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are you looking forward to the most this week and what are you dreading?”