Right from the time he is born until his adult years, a boy nurtures a deep-rooted bond with his mother.
“Men are what their mothers made them” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I never thought much about mothering a son. When I imagined becoming a mum I always thought of daughters. I didn’t know how I would mother a little boy. Then I had one. I quickly realised how strong the mother-son bond instinctually is. Boys need their mamas. Right from the time he is born until his adult years, a boy nurtures a deep-rooted bond with his mother.
Mothers have a significant impact on their sons to the extent that the way they behave in their later years is directly linked to their relationship with their mother. No other person understands a child better than a mother. And this relationship is imperative for the overall development and emotional health of the child.
So, how exactly does a strong bond between a mother and her son have a positive impact on his life?
Boys who share a healthy relationship with their mothers from their early childhood are emotionally strong and are believed to have less behavioural problems in their lives. The strong bond between the mother and son makes him feel secure and confident. Studies show that boys who do not have a healthy bond with their mums in early childhood could be hostile and aggressive in their later years.
Emotionally strong and independent
A boy, who is loved and cared for by his mum, grows into a confident man. Research shows that unconditional love and acceptance of the mother reassures the son that he is lovable and capable of being a good friend and lover. The more loving a mother is the fewer are the chances of the boy being distant and cold.
A close relationship with his mother will help a boy appreciate her role in his life and her contribution to the family. He will learn to respect women in general because he is less likely to have superiority issues with his female counterparts.
A mother who is open in her communication becomes her son’s confidante. Her son can talk and share anything with her even in his teenage and adult years. This helps the sons communicate without any fear and inhibitions.
Countless studies show the importance of the mother-son bond. Boys will learn things from their relationships with their mums that they will someday need for their relationships with their partners. Boys learn things from watching and interacting with their mums that dads can’t teach, so be intentional about maximizing your opportunities with your sons.
Here are 5 ways to build a strong mother/son bond:
Let him talk
We’ve all heard the statistics about how many more words women speak per day than men. Women are natural communicators. But your son likely has a lot to say—if you listen. Carve out time to spend with your son where there are no distractions. Bedtime is a great moment for this with younger boys. With your older boys, it might take going for a walk. Ask some open-ended questions, and then listen. Resist the urge to rush in to fill the awkward silences or to finish up his thoughts for him.
“Listen to the small stuff because one day this will become the big stuff”. An age old saying but so accurate. Listen to everything he says. This will help him realise he can tell you anything and everything and you will always listen and support.
Find common interests
Boys bond through activities. If you want to bond with him, then do the things he loves with him. If your son has a passion or even an interest in something, show a little interest yourself. If its football, music, art or even reading find somewhere where you can participate. Really it’s not about you falling in love with the same thing your son is passionate about but it’s about communicating that what matters to him also matters to you.
Don’t try to change him
Boys can be loud and messy and even gross sometimes. But it’s those mucky little hands and pockets full of rocks that will one day translate into strong hands and a masculine instinct that will make him a wonderful husband and father. Instead of bemoaning all the rough edges of your son’s masculinity, find ways to appreciate them for the beginnings of manhood that they are. Your son will love you even more for accepting him the way he is and not trying to change a single thing.
Teach him what you know
There are a few things that you’re probably the in-home expert on that your son can benefit from—like cooking and cleaning. Amongst much more! Pull your little man into the kitchen and show him the ropes. You’ll get some precious time together and teach him something he can use to survive adulthood.
Talk to him about women
By talking with your son about what good male-female relationships look like, you can shape his thinking and strengthen your own relationship, as well. Instead of leaving all the talk about how to treat women to dad, give him your own perspective about what you looked for in a man, and what women really appreciate. And most importantly, model a healthy relationship with your husband to show him what a real-life marriage that works looks like. Whether he admits it or not, he’ll be watching and listening.
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.