With Mother’s Day recently, we look at the special relationship between mother and son. During their early years, many boys are overjoyed with the thought of spending time with their Mum and they revel in hugs, play time, chats and simply being with you.
But as your son grows older and starts to relate more closely to the males in his life, you may feel like you are losing some of the closeness you previously enjoyed. Rest assured most boys will always hold a soft spot for their Mum, but here we’ll share some simple strategies on how mothers can maintain a close bond with their sons through adolescence.
Adolescence typically describes the ages between 13 and 19, and is the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood. It is a time of disorientation and discovery for your son. Issues of independence and self-identity arise and he may begin to face tough choices regarding school work, sexuality and his social life.
Friends, romantic interests and his appearance become more important to boys at this stage, often leaving mothers feeling as if they are on the outer circle. Those gorgeous little boys who couldn’t get enough of your hugs, turn into disorganised, forgetful, monosyllabic grunters, who are always hungry and will do anything to avoid helping around the house.
So, what can you do to maintain your mother-son bond during this trying time? Here are 11 suggestions that will help strengthen your relationship with your son:
1. Show respect
Show your son that you respect him and model behaviour you would like him to emulate. You will inadvertently teach him to respect himself, as well as others. If your son respects himself, he will make smarter decisions.
2. Be honest
We have all heard the saying, ‘honesty is the best policy,’ and in the case of your adolescent son, it’s true. By being honest and open, you are showing him respect. Show him that you recognise he is moving towards becoming an adult and that you trust him.
3. Be human
Be open about your grievances, mistakes and downfalls. This will reinforce the idea that no-one is perfect, helping your son feel more comfortable within himself.
4. Offer gentle reminders
Offer gentle reminders about the important things in life:
- Eat well, sleep well, play well
- Every choice has a consequence
- Good friends are extremely important
- Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Reminders may also take the form of a post-it note or SMS, but ensure you don’t bombard him.
5. Make time to talk
Listen to your son and acknowledge his thoughts and feelings. Reassure him, boost his confidence when you can and remind him that you love him unconditionally.
6. Take an interest in his interests
Talk to your son about his passions whether it be music, sport or gaming! Try to get involved in his interests even if it’s just to watch a game, take him to a concert or ask about his progress. He should appreciate that you are taking the time to find out about what is important to him.
7. Give him space
Do not be overbearing, there are some things your son simply won’t want to share with you. Allow him space to work through problems or situations on his own, but be sure he knows you are there if he needs you.
8. Pick your fights
Don’t sweat the small stuff! Know when to let something slip and avoid unnecessary confrontation.
9. Provide nourishment
Cook plenty of nourishing meals to support the development of your son physically, mentally and emotionally.
10. Make him accountable
If he messes up, hold him accountable. He needs to know when he has crossed the line, and if you pull him up on his behaviour in an appropriate manner, he will (hopefully) learn about consequences.
11. Keep him inspired
Surround your son with positive role models and inspire him to succeed. If you can keep your son inspired and busy, you can keep him out of trouble. Playing a sport is a wonderful way for your son to keep fit, socially connected and busy.
Most importantly, remember that adolescence is a phase and it will pass. You have created, loved and supported your son through some difficult times – maintaining your mother-son bond during adolescence is just another step along the sometimes bumpy road.
At Trinity Grammar School, we recognise the trials and tribulations of adolescence. Our excellent pastoral care programme will support your son to realise his potential, passions and purpose in life.
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