With the liberal push to blur the lines between genders, and the attacks on traditional families, boys are getting mixed messages about their role in society.
Now more than ever Christian parents need to be vigilant in boys’ upbringing, letting them know their distinct value in God’s design.
Thankfully, there are guidelines laid out in the Bible to help us to raise strong, God-fearing young men who bring honor to the Father.
Here they are:
Boys can be energetic balls of destruction as they stampede your garden in an epic water-gun fight with the neighbors.
But they can also be gentle protectors as they look out for their little sister on the playground.
As Crosswalk points out:
“Boys are often misunderstood and devalued in our culture. Their energy can be seen as disruptive, their competitiveness as presumptive, their tenacity as arrogance, their resilience as uncaring, and their inquisitiveness as disrespect for authority.
But God has created boys according to His good design. As the parent of a son, your sacred duty is to help him grow up to manhood in ways that honor that divine design.”
There are key aspects to raising a boy that parents need to recognize, teach, and instill in their son in order to help him to thrive:
1. Boys and girls are different.
Adam and Eve, the first man and woman were created with two distinct purposes, both of which are equally important to the preservation of man.
These differences need to be celebrated, not mended together or put at odds with one another.
Try to let your son develop into the man he is to become, not conform him to other children; while at the same time directing him in righteousness.
Be mindful of the preconceived notions you have about male behavior.
If you think boys are messy and disrespectful and completely inattentive, then you may be shaping your parenting around that without allowing your son to grow in the fruits of the spirit.
Ask Jesus to cleanse your heart and mind of stereotypes about boys, and that He give you His vision for your son.
1 Corinthians 16:13
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
2. Give the mother’s touch.
It is not only the influence of a man that a boy needs to make it through development. Maternal involvement is just as necessary.
This influence helps a boy learn to use his words when he needs to express himself, develop multi-tasking skills, learn to comfort others, and practice empathy.
Men are capable of these things as well, but they do not come as natural to them as to women.
Having the maternal role gives boys tools that will aid them in nurturing their own family and deepen relationships.
If a mother is not available to your son, this influence can be fulfilled by a caring grandmother, aunt, or mentor.
Proverbs 1:8-9 shows us that the instruction of both a mother and a father is vital:
“8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.”
3. Be a present father.
It is far from a secret that boys are at their best with fathers, or a strong paternal role model, in their life to direct him on how to be a Godly man.
Crosswalk takes tips out of the book “Raising Boys by Design”, by Gurian and Jantz, to report on why the father’s role is so important in bringing up a boy:
“Give your son what he needs from paternal influences by assembling a team of people (including his father, if he’s available) to invest in his upbringing by: bonding with him for short periods of time through shared activities, teaching him how to think in orderly and sequential ways, downplaying emotion and emphasizing performance, promoting risk taking and independence, teaching him how to fight against negative thinking from his peers, promoting respect for positive authority, encouraging him to build confidence through learning how to do things well, and helping him feel stronger – but not necessarily better – after he goes through stress.”
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says how God’s commandments are to be pressed into our children daily, and that cannot be done if there is not a daily presence:
“6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
4. Let your son play the superhero.
Have you ever wondered why boys are always dressing up in capes and fighting villains?
Boys naturally want to be a hero; to save the day when tragedy strikes.
Cater to that sense of honor, bravery, and strength. It is sure to do them well when they are confronted with adversity as men.
Letting your son know that you believe in him, and his capacity to overcome evil, gives him confidence.
The character traits of a superhero are Biblical, and admirable, they include: honor, adhering to values, taking responsibility, thinking of more than yourself, bravery, and creative expression.
Jesus was the greatest superhero. He fought the greatest villain (Matthew 4:1-11), he showed immense bravery (John 18:1-12), and He had superhuman powers.
5. Sons need to process like boys.
Anyone who has had an emotionally charged encounter with a male knows that they deal with their feelings differently than females. That is just the nature of the gender as it was designed.
Allow your son to go through his emotions in a healthy way that is conducive to his nature, not struggling to make him express himself the way you see fit. You may process feelings differently than your son, and those differences should try to be understood and respected.
Males tend to be more physical with their emotions and use fewer words than a female would. If your son is upset, try to help him by throwing a ball around, exercising, or going for a walk to clear his head.
Crying is considered a sign of weakness by much of society, especially by men. This is simply not true. When your son cries, he is allowing his emotions to be dealt with, and this strength should be encouraged and comforted.
Don’t take offense if your son needs time alone to get his emotions under control. Let him know that you are available for when he is ready to talk, and that you respect his boundaries; even if you don’t agree with them.
6. Confront conversations on sexuality.
Boys have strong sexual urges after puberty and a lot of confusing sexual feelings and thoughts beginning at an even younger age.
Society holds to a lot of unbiblical ideas of sexuality and how to deal with thoughts and feelings in this area. And it is filled with images designed explicitly to stir emotions that your son is not ready to feel.
“O daughters of Jerusalem, I adjure you: Do not arouse or awaken love until the time is right.” – Song of Solomon 8:4
This verse applies to boys as well. Protect your son from having feelings aroused or awakened before the time is right.
Don’t let friends and the media be the teachers in this area of your son’s life. Be a strong Bible-based parent and let your son know what God says about sex and how to treat women.
Check in occasionally with your son, asking him if he has any questions concerning anything sexual in nature, or if he has feelings that he doesn’t understand. He may be dealing with something, but doesn’t feel comfortable making that initial prompt for conversation.
Most importantly, let your son know that his sexual urges are part of the way God designed him, and that there is nothing wrong with him for having these experiences.
And finally, protect him from the evils of pornography.
Explain that pornography is not only detrimental to his future relationships, as well as being disrespectful to his future wife, but that it is the product of sexual exploitation of abuse victims.
Most women who participate in adult content were sexually abused or raped as children, often by family members. Men of God should be heartbroken for these women and pray for their healing and salvation, not continue their abuse by using them for their own pleasure.
7. Put faith at the forefront.
Above all else, exemplify the character of Jesus in your son’s life, so that he has a constant beacon of the person he is striving to become.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us that when we raise our sons in righteousness that they will live out their lives that way:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old it will not depart from him.”
This is all a parent could hope, and 3 John 1:4 echos that truth:
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
Life ebbs and flows, and as your son develops he will have different needs, and different ways to be helped. Being by his side as he goes through these life changes is vital, communicating all along the way to let him know that you are there to help him succeed.
Please let us know in the comments section if you have found that your son needed a certain parenting approach to become the man God intended him to be.