There is no one size fits all hat that guarantees boys will turn out as perfect as the day they were born.
Every man makes a lifetime of mistakes when raising their first son. Many of these same mistakes are repeated with the second or even third as well.
There is no one size fits all hat that guarantees boys will turn out as perfect as the day they were born. However, raising better young men is possible by avoiding these four mistakes.
1. Don’t Live Out Your Dreams Through Your Kids
Men are guilty of this more than they care to admit. Many dads push their sons to excel in sports, to do better and go farther than what they were able to do in high school or college.
In contrast, while dads hope for the best for their daughters, they are far more forgiving when it comes to their daughters excelling in dance, gymnastics, or cheerleading.
There is nothing wrong with a father wanting their son to accomplish more than they did. The problem occurs when dads push their boys to excel based on their shortcomings or past failures. This can be damaging to a child over the long-term. Men need to allow their boys to chase their passions. They will be better off for it.
2. Don’t Disregard the Benefits of Discipline
This is a sensitive topic among parents. A man’s upbringing likely determines how he will treat his children. Many guys were allowed to behave in whatever manner they saw fit.
Their parents may have dismissed bad behavior as “boys being boys”. As a result, many men allow their children to develop bad habits that go unchecked.
Sometimes the best way a father can show love to their child is to discipline them to avoid out of control behavior later. Psychologists have varying opinions on the most appropriate forms of discipline.
While certain forms of punishment are not condoned, parents will have to determine for themselves what they deem appropriate. Whichever manner of correction is utilized, it should be effective enough to deter the bad behavior.
Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. This is a long-standing truth that often warrants repeating. Simply put, better young men are the result of better parenting.
3. Don’t Treat Siblings the Same
Individualism is critically important among young children, especially boys. Every child has their personality and behaviors. The most successful fathers recognize this early on and adapt to how they communicate with their children.
Most dads may pick up on subtle differences in personality as boys gradually mature. However, distinctions such as birth order hold even more clues to these differences among brothers.
Firstborn, second born and third born boys share many common traits. Yet, the differences outweigh the similarities as they get older. First born children typically are leaders by nature not just by birth order. They respond differently to their parents than middle children. By contrast, last born children are more laid back when it comes to authority. Jocelyn Voo breaks down the dichotomy of birth order in her article on parent.com .
Recognizing your son’s individuality and responding to it accordingly will yield much better results when raising a well developed young man.
4. Don’t Trade Things for Time
In single income homes, this may be more common as one parent may stay home full-time while the other seems to work more often. Despite changing times, men are away at work more often than women.
This, however, does not totally excuse the perpetual absence of men in their sons’ lives (or daughters for that matter).
In dual-income households, historically, men work out of the house more than their spouse. Consequently, many don’t make time for their kids as often as they should. A common justification is the ability to provide their children with a better lifestyle using the money that their demanding job provides.
As a result, many men feel justified when showering their kids with gifts or things of value in lieu of quality time.
There is hope for dads on both sides of the fence. While doing what is necessary to provide for your family is a commendable and noble thing to do, consistent quality time with your child is equally important.
Dedicate one day per week to spend uninterrupted time with him, even if it’s just a few hours. Schedule this time on your calendar every week, be consistent in showing up, and watch what a difference it makes in your son’s life as he matures.
By avoiding these four mistakes, men can do a much better job of raising boys to become young men.
What advice do you have for raising boys?
Photo: Flickr/ Jed Sullivan