Motherhood is a beautiful, honorable thing. My own mother has demonstrated this in how she cared for my siblings and me. There are so many women, including single mothers who excel in motherhood. They aren’t perfect, but they do the best they can do to raise boys to be noble men, girls to be noble women.
I have no experience as an actual mother. However, I learn about motherhood from the Bible and from observing mothers and sons. In this post, I will express what I have learned about the link between a mother’s influence on her son and how he will later relate to and treat women in general. Mother-son relationships are crucial and have significantly helped to shape the society that we live in.
Because of the unhealthy relationships between certain mothers and their sons, it makes it difficult for some women who are looking for a decent and caring man to meet one.
In this post are some ideas I have based on Bible knowledge and my observations of some mother-son relationships, I have come to certain conclusions. I have also had stressful relationships with men who have complained to me about problems with their mothers during their childhoods.
In this post, I will share some ideas I have about at least some things that are needed in a mother- son relationship. The primary goal is to have a God-glorifying union between mother and son. A byproduct of this healthy relationship would most likely be a son who is able to respect, value and treat women properly.
I believe the following will be necessary in order to raise healthy, respectful sons:
1. Show love and fairness to the son (s) without preferential treatment to them compared to daughters. There shouldn’t be any gender bias.
Daughters can be raised more strictly, be under more restrictions and for some, more is expected of them in some households. Under these circumstances some boys learn entitlement and laziness.
2. Show sons love and bond with them through being present, safely caring for them and giving them affection.
3. Hold sons accountable with no crippling or excessive coddling. In other words, love them and also teach them about overall responsibility.
This means show them how to do household chores and encourage good hygiene. It’s okay to go outside and get dirty, but he should know the importance of getting cleaned up. I have often wondered how big of a role some mothers play in sons who develop what is known as Peter Pan Syndrome.
4. Have an affirming, appropriate, healthy bond with a son. Don’t look to him as if he is the boyfriend. No emotional incest.
5. Give a son proper structure, instruction and consequences. This means teaching him to have all-around noble character and holding him accountable.
It means his sexual morality should be emphasized. He does not get a pass because he is a boy. It is good not to have a “boys will be boys” mentality in the wrong context that allows him to escape culpability.
Boys will be boys, yes- but this doesn’t mean a license to sin. It shouldn’t mean fewer expectations for them in general. Boys usually like to get dirty, play rough and tough. Other boys like art and music. That’s great. Boys will be boys in those regards. However, “boys will be boys” is being used out of context if it is used to excuse boys of general culpability.
6. Don’t abuse, abandon and neglect a son.
By such abuse and neglect, this teaches him that he cannot trust or depend on the one woman he should have been able to depend on for love, care and provision. If she betrays him and he cannot trust her, what woman can he trust?
7. Don’t take it out on a son if the relationship or marriage with his father fails.
Sometimes, sons are mistreated and also told they are just like their father in a disapproving way. They may end up being the punching bag for frustrations that result from conflict with their father. This is so wrong.
Also, a mother who abuses her son is grooming him to possibly hate and resent other women, including his future wife. I know this because I have witnessed what I am describing. I have dated someone who was angry with his mother and I know other women have been mistreated for the same reason in their relationships with men.
8. Don’t lie for him. Don’t make excuses for him where there aren’t any excuses or valid justifications to be made.
9. Encourage him to be strong, but not to deny his humanity. This means letting him know there is no shame in needing or asking for help.
It also means encouraging healthy release and expression of his emotions. It is good not to be led by emotions and feelings. It is also good not to bottle up, repress emotions that need a healthy release. It is not a crime for him as a male to express healthy emotions or to have a cry once in awhile, if that is what he needs. Teaching him these things should help discourage callousness, emotional unavailability and should also benefit the women he will later date or marry.
10. Teach him that women are equally valuable, equally important as anyone else.
Girls and women are to be loved, cherished and should be treated with respect; not as inferiors and sexual objects.
11. As a single mother, focus more on good parenting than on having boyfriends.
Don’t put sons (or daughters) at risk by bringing dangerous men into their lives. Protect children. Don’t have different men in and out of the house for the son(s) and daughter(s) to witness.
A son’s relationship with his mother affects how he functions overall and relates to women in general-usually, for the rest of his life.
If a woman is going to have a son, I believe these two things would be very important for her to do:
1) Marry wisely the right man who will be present and demonstrate godly manhood before their child.
2) Be present and love her son while instructing him in righteousness and again, hold him accountable. Words of affirmation are very important too. Of course, this applies to raising a daughter as well.
• When he is held accountable by his mother, a son can learn better to respect her as well as other women.
• It is easier to respect his mother when he cannot run all over her, control or manipulate her, and she holds him accountable. Learning how not to take advantage of or mistreat women should start in a son’s relationship with his mother.
• The son is able to learn accountability, owning his mistakes and accepting responsibility for them when a mother gives him the right kind of love, including a bit of tough love. Hopefully, this way, he will not develop the buck-passing, deflecting mechanism some have.
• A son probably won’t feel entitled to mistreat women in general if his mother has properly nurtured, loved and held him accountable.
I pray that mothers continue to learn and apply the right balance of godly admonition, love, tenderness, tough love, discipline, and holding son(s) (or daughters) accountable. May God continue to empower mothers to influence their sons to be men of integrity and their daughters to be women of integrity.
To sum things up, when trained properly by their parents, sons are much more likely to love and lead their own families well.
Yet, parents can do right, but their offspring will choose their own paths. Still, I know that for the godly, responsible parent, it is their job to train their children up in the ways of the Lord. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22: 6.
Used with permission from Petrina Ferguson.