Children are always making decisions. As they go through life, they have feelings and thoughts about what they see, and they make unconscious decisions about what it all means. As a mother, you are your son's most influential teacher about women. The choices you make will teach your son powerful lessons about his own relationships with women.
Mothers and Sons
Imagine that you are a spectator at a mother-son playgroup, watching the pairs of mothers and sons as they join in various activities. One mother hovers over her son, pulling him back before he can take even the smallest risk. Another mother talks to a friend in the corner, ignoring her son's pleas to "look at me, Mommy." Another mother hugs her son every few minutes, while he squirms and struggles to break free. Yet another follows her son around the room, picking up toys, handing him snacks, and making sure he doesn't need to do anything for himself.
All of these boys are making decisions about themselves, about their mothers, and about what they must do to belong and feel valued. They are also learning compelling lessons about women. Take a moment to think: If you wait on your son, clean up after him, and teach him that he is the center of the universe, what is he learning about women? If you insist that your son listen to your problems, carry your emotional burdens, and tell you that you look pretty, what is he learning about women? If you sleep with your son until he's well past toddlerhood, touch him constantly, and expect him to spend all of his time with you, what is he learning about women?
Respect Your Son, Respect Yourself
Perhaps the best way to create a healthy relationship with your son is to practice mutual respect. You should respect your son's individuality, his feelings, and his needs, even when you don't agree with them (or when you need to provide discipline). You should also show respect for yourself. Remember, pampering and permissiveness are not effective parenting styles; your son needs limits and boundaries to become a healthy young adult. When you offer respect to your son and also treat yourself with respect, your son is more likely to respect all of the women he encounters, from his first-grade teacher to his future wife.
Love and Courage
Boys need their mothers' love. They also need the freedom to begin their own journey through life. Mothers are parents, first and foremost, and the information in this book will help you decide how best to raise your son. But mothers also share something very special with their growing boys. No matter how much time may stretch and bend your relationship with your son, and despite the occasional arguments and silences, your son yearns for your unconditional love and support. He can step into his own life with courage when he carries your love forever in his heart.