At first, we couldn’t figure it out. Our son, the one who was a confident leader, was suddenly dissolving into deeply emotional outbursts and tears over seemingly “small stuff.” His sensitivity chip was in overdrive and it threw us for a loop. He couldn’t seem to articulate why he was having a hard time.
Sometimes, our boys swing in the other direction-they clam up and we can’t figure out what is making them moody or retreat. The invisible wall they put up seems insurmountable.
As a mom of 3 sons, I affectionately call my house a “testoster-home.” It took me a while to navigate the differences in communication between males and females. When our sensitive sons erupt into tantrums or sulk quietly, it’s a signal to us that they need our help to put their feelings into words. It’s not a time to condemn, punish punitively, or criticize them.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1
There are four gentle ways that my husband and I have found effective to draw out the hearts of our boys:
One-On-One “Dates” With Your Son
The other day, I took my oldest boy out to an early dinner straight from school. We ordered his favorite mac n’cheese from California Pizza Kitchen and shared a sundae.
Slowly, as we savored the hot fudge, he leaned into me and thoughtfully confessed that he was having a hard time at school with a certain friend who seemed to be playing with someone else more than him. The moment of comfort and security was enough for him to put his emotions into words and it gave us some quality uninterrupted time for me to speak life into his heart.
Kick a Rock, Walk & Talk
It’s crucial for dads to take a specific interest and role in talking about emotions with their sons so that they can identify with a role model. This is especially true if the son is being obstinate or difficult, but you don’t know why.
Imagine with me for a moment, Dad approaches the son lovingly and explains that they are going to take a walk around the block until they figure out what‘s going on together. It may take several laps, walking side by side so they don’t have to look each other in the eye, but eventually, our sons will open up. They long to do so, but often feel inhibited. It doesn’t come as naturally for boys to express themselves verbally. Having a father who gives them an opportunity to kick a rock and walk and talk is relief for them. We want parenting formulas to help our sons, but our patient faithfulness is what will bless them the most.
Shift From Exasperation To Empowerment
Sensitive sons may feel like they have a lack of control or choices in their world, especially during times of big change such as a move, a new school, or the loss of a friendship, etc.
A practical way to help them feel more control is to involve them in something that makes them feel empowered. If your son tends to cry a lot or explode in anger, they may very well feel powerless and frustrated.
It’s helpful to sign them up for lessons or sports, or involve them in an activity that allows a bit of responsibility. Permit your boys to finally have that puppy to take care of or let them choose a summer job that will give them independence. The key is that it is something they will have a measure of success with so that they don’t continue to feel helpless and at odds with the world around them.
Pray Scripture Over Them
There is no greater act you can do for your sons than to pray over them with a fervent heart. God predestined the life of every one of us before the foundation of the world and He cares for our boys even more than we do. God has all the answers to all our questions. When you don’t know what to do, keep your eyes on the Lord and pray Scripture over your boys. The MOB Society co-founder, Brooke McGlothlin’s book, Praying for Boys is a beautiful and Biblical tool for you to use as you pray for the hearts of your kids!
Moms, keep in mind that it takes a CHILDHOOD to move from immaturity to maturity. An entire childhood! And it takes a childhood for our boys to learn how to navigate the world and their role in it. Stay the course, lovingly and gently drawing out their hearts and protecting their God-given emotions.
1. Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin
2. Parenting With Love & Logic by Foster Cline, MD & Jim Fay (This book is a favorite of mine. It teaches parents to give choices to kids so they feel responsible and learn from their mistakes instead of fighting or arguing about it with mom and dad.)
A former high school English teacher and budding novelist, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 3 little boys under the age of 6. She and her husband Guy answered the calling to start Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach in Santa Monica, CA or baking her famous Triple Layer Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at www.MotherOfKnights.com