7 Ways to Raise Boys to be MEN {From a Mom in the Trenches}

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When I took on the challenge to blog for 31 Days about Simple Outdoor Adventures for Boys, I knew it would stretch and grow me in a few ways.  However, I didn’t anticipate how it would allow me to fall more in love with boyhood.

With each adventure, I saw just how much they thrive on exploring, observing, working together, touching, discovering, and learning through experiencing. I love to just sit back and watch it – throwing rocks over the bridge and watching the fish scatter, tracking the sound of a raccoon in the woods, running ahead on a path like trailblazers.  It’s a beautiful way that God has created them,and it’s so often criticized for the mess or danger, rather than celebrated for the adventure, the curiosity, and the independence.

However, as much as I’m enjoying their boyhood, I desperately desire them to become men who are respectable, courageous, bold, and who love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, and minds. It’s a heavy task and I’m incredibly thankful for God’s grace who covers my multitude of wrecks daily!  Here are a handful of ways that I’m trying to raise my boys to be men:

7 Ways To Raise Boys To Be MEN {from a Mom who is in the trenches learning from mistakes every single day}

1. Don’t cushion every single fall.  Some of life’s best learning experiences come through mistakes and struggles.  It’s our job as parents to guide, share wisdom, and pray for our sons.   It’s a disservice for us to shelter them from life’s disappointments, embarrassments, and struggles or manipulate the outcomes of consequences.  Brace yourself, and be there for the pick-ups.

2. Give them opportunities to be brave.  Facing and conquering fears big and small are important confidence builders in raising boys to be men.  Perhaps its cringing while they take a jump that’s a tad higher than your comfort zone, or killing a spider, or ordering their food at a restaurant when they are feeling shy – these are all great building blocks for independence. 

3. Embrace the experience over the dirt. Instead of immediately picturing my laundry load, I want to first see their faces that are learning in the moment.  Dirt washes out really well and play clothes are meant to be played in, right?

4. Listen to their imaginations and stories. Sometimes the details and the ridiculous story lines drag on to no end. They tell jokes that make absolutely no sense.  It’s easy to doze off, to disconnect, and pretend to listen.  Listening to the small things now becomes a stomping grounds for sharing bigger things in the future, so listen even if it doesn’t register as “important” on your scale.

5.  Teach them to respect boundaries. There are reasons that we don’t allow our kids free-range to roam, or intentionally do things that could harm themselves or each other. We set rules and boundaries not to squelch their fun, but for their good.  {This seems to be the broken record statement in our home lately.} Kids thrive best when boundaries are consistent, well-communicated, and when there are consequences for them not being followed.

6.  Encourage them to be a gentleman. Manners, chivalry, being a good sport, and humility should not be a lost art, but one to be practiced with regularity.

7. Remind them that respect is earnable. Their need to feel respected is innate, natural, and good. And while your love for them is unconditional, boys need to be reminded that respect can be effected through their actions and words. 

How are YOU encouraging your boys to one day be men? 



This post is linked at The Better Mom

12 thoughts on "7 Ways to Raise Boys to be MEN {From a Mom in the Trenches}"

  1. Crystal says:

    Jack and Jude both love hands-on physical time: basketball, wrestling, jumping from furniture, you name it. They NEED that. No wonder so many boys in today’s society are drugged to sit still if people don’t first understand this innate drive to move.

    1. QuatroMama says:

      It’s soooooo true, Crystal! That’s the tough thing about winter here…they are climbing the walls indoors! Gotta bundle up more this year!

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Such a wonderful boy mama!

  3. Lisa~ says:

    Great post Jen! It is definitely a challenge to make sure our boys become godly, strong men. Thanks for the encouragement! Lisa~

  4. Paula says:

    This secondary school teacher and mother of a daughter applauds your insight. Wish there were more mothers-of-boys out there like you!

  5. This is a fabulous post Jen!! So many great reminders for all of us! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Tauna says:

    These are great points. Our oldest is just turning 5 and all of these are so true! The one about their stories and jokes made me laugh and think about the “joke” my son told today. He’s so sincere and lit up when I approved of it!

  7. Becky says:

    Thanks for reminding me that I am blessed to have mud stains on clothes, a constant mess to clean up, and a little boy who loves to keep me on my toes!!

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  9. Kristen says:

    Just found this over at Diaper Diairies–I have one little guy and appreciate your thoughts! After thirteen years teaching and three years parenting, I can relate to your suggestions. I particularly appreciated the thought about respect. Since men in particular crave respect, it’s an interesting idea to reflect upon for growing boys as well.

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