A father’s relationship with his son is irreplaceable. Whether you are a step-dad, birth dad, adoptive dad, or simply a father figure to a boy, your advice is vital to his well-being. Your son hangs on your every word and thinks you can do no wrong. Which is why it is so important to choose your words carefully. Here are 10 things every boy needs to hear from his dad.
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10 Things Every Boy Needs to Hear From His Dad
1. “I love you.”
Just like every boy needs to hear the words “I love you” from his mom, it is even more important that he hears these words from his dad. After all, men aren’t always good at expressing their feelings, especially love. If a boy grows up only hearing “I love you” from his mom, it may cause him to doubt his father’s love for him.
Even if it makes you uncomfortable at first, try to tell your son “I love you” at least once a day. If this is a new concept for you, it may make you uncomfortable at first. With practice, it will get easier.
2. “Let’s talk.”
Every dad should take the time to talk to his son on a regular basis. I don’t mean the typical father/son conversation of,
Father: “Son, how was your day?”
Father: “That’s nice.”
No, I’m talking about sitting down with your son and asking open-ended questions which he can’t answer “yes”, “no”, or [eye roll] to like:
- “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today?”
- “Who did you hang out with at school today?”
- “What is your favorite tv show/song/video game? Why?”
- “Do you ever talk to yourself? What do you say?”
- “What did you dream about last night?”
3. “It’s okay to cry.”
I know I am poking around at a sensitive subject here. But really, a lot of men have trouble sharing their feelings. Good or bad. Yes, some men are perfectly comfortable saying “I love you.” to their sons and even crying in front of them. If you are one of these men, consider yourself fortunate. However, the majority of men I know would rather cut off a limb than cry in front of their sons.
Also, it is important as a father, not to discourage your son from crying. It’s a perfectly normal human response to pain, suffering, or grief. However, if your son tends to cry over every. little. thing. Then you may want to help him discover other ways of expressing himself.
A few more things every boy needs to hear from his dad…
4. “I’m proud of you.”
Every boy needs to know that his father is proud of him. Even if your son has tried to accomplish something and failed, you can be proud of him for trying and encourage him to keep trying. Offer him words of affirmation and elevate his self-esteem whenever possible.
5. “Treat your mom right.”
It’s been said that how a boy treats his mom is how he will one day treat his wife. I have found this to be true. As such, fathers need to be sure they teach their sons how to treat women. If your son lacks respect for his mom, chances are, he will not respect his wife, either. The best way to teach this is to lead by example. More than likely, if your son observes you respecting, loving, and supporting your wife, one day, he will do the same to his.
6. “Reach for your dreams.”
Every son needs to hear from his father that he is capable of achieving his dreams. No matter how grand they are. Sure, your son may not actually grow up to be the next Tom Brady, Mark Zuckerberg, or Batman but there’s no need to discourage him from trying to do so.
7. “Don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made.”
I don’t particularly care for country music, but I love this song. It tells the story of a father who made his fair share of mistakes and warns his son not to follow in his footsteps.
8. “I’m sorry.”
Even though your son thinks you are perfect and can do no wrong, you know the truth. When you do mess up and come down too hard on him or make a mistake, he needs to hear you apologize.
My husband’s father made some mistakes in parenting him when he was growing up. It took him until my husband was an adult before his dad said he was sorry. But, it was better late than never. My husband has a lot of respect for his dad because he was able to humble himself enough to admit that he was wrong.
Every boy needs to hear from his dad that…
9. “It’s okay to be afraid.”
Just because a person is courageous, doesn’t mean they are never afraid. It simply means they face their fears and push ahead despite them.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
10. “I’ve got your back.”
All boys need to know that their father is on their side. When your father encourages you and backs you up, you feel as though you can take on the world.
Too many of us have had to grow up without a father in our lives. If you are blessed to be a father (including step-dad, adoptive, or father figure), step up to your role and be sure to communicate your love to your son each and every day.