It’s true that we are becoming more aware. That we are recognizing many current issues that face us as a society today. Date rape and bullying are just two of those issues and there are many more.
But how do we address these issues without taking a really good look at how we are raising our children and our sons in particular?
In order to make changes in the world changes must first be made at home. In order to raise your sons to be men of integrity, men with heart, it must start on the day they are born. Children learn by observation, by watching their parents and how they deal with the good, the bad and the ugly of the world and relationships to others. You can tell them one thing but if you are doing something else, most likely they will absorb what they’ve seen you do more than what you’ve told them.
Here are a few ways in which you can raise your son to be a man of integrity, kindness, strength and influence:
- Give them space to feel. The old standards of “big boys don’t cry”, buck up” and “take it like a man” are no longer acceptable in a world where men are suffocating from their own suppressed emotions. Let them feel, teach them to express their feelings in a healthy way.
- Teach them to be responsible. Let them make age appropriate choices for themselves and then let them experience the consequences – good or bad. Running to their rescue does nothing to prepare them for live on their own as independent adults. Besides rescuing them is not for their sake for but yours.
- Help them understand and show respect. Teach by example – respect yourself by not engaging in interactions where you don’t feel respected and show respect for others. Respect your child, their ideas and opinions.
- Honor equality. We are all created equal regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, color, or religion or age. Children learn by what they observe so pay attention to your own attitudes and behavior in these areas.
- Teach them how to resolve conflict in a peaceful, non-aggressive way and without blame. You may have to learn this for yourself first but it will be worth it for you and your son will respect you for it.
- Let them be vulnerable without judging them or trying to fix or change them. This is a key component of creating intimacy in relationships.
- Be the best example of someone with integrity, focus, respect, honor, kindness, compassion and love that you can be. There is no better way to teach you son to be a heart-centered man.
If you see that your son is becoming a bully or is aggressive, take a good honest look at how you treat others and see where he might be learning the behavior. It will lead you to some positive personal growth and help your son to have a better understanding of the world and how to be a responsible part of it. It’s a win-win situation.
With love and kindness