My best friend was in for a rude awakening when he reached adulthood. All of his life his mother and two sisters catered to his every need. The poor thing did not know how to fix his supper, do his laundry or iron his clothes. He even struggled with meeting deadlines at work, juggling his finances and maintaining healthy relationships. Eventually, he ended up moving back home with his mother, where things were just easier for him.
Today too many of our young men are not reaching their full potential and are not becoming responsible members of the community. Parents it is time to start now in raising a responsible and self-sufficient son and here’s how:
- Make sure your son has a strong male figure in his life. If it is not his father it could be an uncle, an older brother, a grandfather… anyone that is positive, responsible and is willing to teach and spend time with your child. Children are more likely to imitate what they witness from those around them. At an early age he needs to consistently see a man being responsible i.e. a man going to work daily, completing assignments/obligations, treating women with respect, etc.
- Allow your son to do things on his own. This can start at a young age. Take time to teach your son and then encourage him to try it himself. Simple things like allowing him to dress himself, make his own snack, clean up after himself, etc. can help him to establish his independency.
- Make sure your son takes responsibility of his actions. A lot of times, we like to make excuses for our little boys when he acts out, fails a grade or just does not give it his all. This is teaching him not to take accountability. Major problem. Not only should you make sure your child is aware of his actions, but help him learn to make better choices in the future. Ask him questions like: “What did you do?” “What happened when you did this?” “What could you have done differently?” “What would have happened if you had done this instead?” Such questions will help him acknowledge his behaviors, understand how it affects himself and the world around him, and gets him to thinking about making better choices in the future. Charts are also a good way to teach your son to be responsible for his actions.
- Teach your son how to express himself. It takes responsibility for a male to have self-control and cope with his thoughts and feelings. Of course we often tell our little boys that they should not cry, but do we teach them healthy ways to communicate and express himself when he does experience a difficult emotion? Have talks with your son and teach him to be able to verbalize, calmly what he feels, what he thinks and what he needs to feel better. Teach your son ways to deal with difficult emotions, such as deep breathe, take a jog, draw a picture, etc., so that he will not result to yelling, fighting and other aggressive behaviors. Boys do tend to be more aggressive and hyperactive, which tends to make it difficult for them to focus on expressing themselves appropriately. Therefore, you may want to also explore getting him involved in an extracurricular activity such as football, martial arts, soccer, etc.
- Finally, give him lots of praise and encouragement. Make sure to acknowledge and foster your son’s unique talents and strengths, recognize a job well done and keep him focused on his goals. Tell him he is awesome for knowing every single dinosaur there is. Take him out for ice cream if he goes a whole week with keeping his room clean. Remind him he can ace his math test if studies hard enough.
If you start incorporating these steps into your son’s daily life he will without a doubt be more likely to achieve self-sufficiency now and throughout adulthood.