Friday, March 29, 2013

Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons- Part Three

Meeker ends her book focusing on the three areas she explored in part one:mothers, fathers and God. She devotes a chapter to each examining the importance of these three areas of boys’ development towards manhood.


  • Mothers are the love givers. Mothers need to love and mothers love to be needed.
  • Mothers offer their sons many of the same things as fathers but do so differently.
  • Women communicate more about their emotions than men do. They verbally communicate love more easily.
  • A child needs to internalize his mother’s love because it sets how he feels towards all other women in his life/
  • Mothers love to touch- and everyone needs physical touch.
  • Mothers love to talk to their sons, but realizing their sons don’t like to respond.
  • Mothers love their sons through food.
  • Mothers love their sons through sacrifice.
  • Mothers are often overprotective and are attacked by their sons for being so.
  • Where fathers like to solve the problems their sons encounter, mothers can’t always do so because they wrap up too many personal feelings into creating the problem. Mothers personalize their son’s problems.  
  • Mothers are grace givers, “Every son needs to experience grace...To know that he is not good enough, smart enough or too mean to be loved is devastating to a boy. But the experience of a mother's embrace and acceptance is life-changing for a boy.. It is about being able to accept love from one another and then return love...when he learns to accept love when he feels humiliated, he learns to stand a bit taller. He learns to trust himself as a man.”
  • “A mother needs to remember that her goal is to help her son be comfortable enough with himself to form deep bonds and respect his way of doing it.”
  • Mothers and sons need time together to relax and be together.
  • Often mothers can project their feelings towards others upon their sons in harmful ways:
    • Enmeshment: mothers cannot identify where she ends and her son begins
    • Estrangement: mothers feel estranged from their sons simply because he is a male. This often happens in cases of divorce where mothers take out feelings she has towards the father upon the son.
    • Overdependence: mothers constantly communicate towards sons that he needs her and can’t do without her.  This also communicates towards sons that his father isn’t important. Often times women who have gone through divorces and feel wounded by men, try to make up for his loss by making herself overly important in her son’s life.
    • Unavailability: boys need to form emotional bonds with their mothers in a consistent manner.  If the boys can’t trust that their mother is available to them  or dependable, they can’t bond or trust her.
  • Mothers need to listen to their instincts and use common sense letting boys be boys.

  • “It takes a man to raise a man.”
  • Fathers shape boy’s worlds. The way a father treats those around him determines how a boys does as well.
  • Fathers are the rule setters and authority figures. They are the protectors and their son’s hope.  
  • Boys need their father’s blessings, love, and to teach them self-control.
  • Boys read into all of their father’s behaviors wanting to know how their fathers truly feel about them.  
  • Mother’s can’t give boys blessings because mothers have to love their sons.  A father’s respect has to be earned by the son in order to receive the blessing that he is leading a good life and that he is a good man.
  • Blessings can be touches or spoken messages, but it is “important to understand is that boys need a father to make his blessing verbal. A father needs to tell a son how much he values him and approves him...That’s why it is so important for a father to tell his son how highly he values him.”
  • Sons need fathers to express their love by spending time with them, showing affection, and refusing to give up on their son.
  • Sons need to know they are worthy of their dad’s time and attention. Spending time with their sons validates this love.
  • Sons need to do things together with their fathers rather than always talking such as a mother might do.  This could be having similar hobbies, exercise, or work.
  • The most damaging thing a father can do to a son is giving up on him, “ Relationships require commitment and hard work. They require getting through the hard times. And with fathers and sons, they require dads to realize that their sons need dads who stick with them-even when the son pushes his dad away (which he might do just to see if dad will push back). The good news is that dads have the strength to tough it out during the painful times; they are big enough to set blame aside; they can be stubborn enough to see things through; and they can be loyal enough to stick by their sons no matter what.”
  • Boys learn to control their emotions by what they see their fathers do.
  • “A son who grows up with a father learns not to fear himself. He learns to be grounded in his father’s love. He is girded by his father’s acceptance and approval. He has learned ot be a leader because his father has led him. He has learned ot become a provider because his dad has filled him with the ingredients of a good character.  And he has learned to become a protector, because his father showed him how strength should be used and how self-control should be practiced. He has become a man, because he was raised by a man.”

Boys to Men:

  • Boys need clear pictures of what lies ahead in their journey from boyhood to manhood.
  • Men are fully mature when they can deal with their emotions using self-control and separating his feelings from his actions. Blaming others when a boy should blame himself is showcasing a boy’s immaturity. Boys that are immature lac the capactity to correct their own mistakes. It is easier to blame others. Parents can help their boys overcome this obstacle, “letting your son understand that taking responsibility for his bad behavior works better for him than pointing the finger at others. Life is happier when he is in charge-of what he does wrong and what he does well.”
  • Help sons ask questions of themselves rather than others.
  • Boys need time with their parents over things.
  • Boys need a solid moral foundation to help them discern what is right from what is wrong. Let him practice and talk with him about his choices. Be his sounding board.  
  • Don’t allow boys to quit.  Teach boys to find what is right, follow what is right, and hold on to it.  
  • Boys need help moving into and out of adolescence.  We can’t simply forget about boys.  


  • Many parents think that they should allow kids to explore religion for themselves by not giving them any structure or guidance. This is one of the greatest disservices we can do for our children.  
  • Why do boys need God?
    • religious fathers have better relationships with their sons.
    • mothers who have a solid faith have better relationships with their sons.
    • When mothers and sons attend religious services together, they also have better relationships with their sons.
    • Boys who are religious are less likely to be sexually active too soon or promiscuous. They are also less likely to drink, smoke, become depressed, and suffer from depression.
  • Religion provides structure and rules that boys need to guide them.  It also provides authority figures and role models to help boys deal with their questions.
  • “We so eagerly don’t want our children to be pushed by us in any direction educationally, psychologically, or spiritually that we hold back when we should lead. Many parents tell me that they want their kids to grow up to make their own decisions about God. They want their boys to make their own choices, about which, if any, religion they want to believe.  This is, in a way, noble. Our job as parents should be to educate and stimulate our boys to read and think on our own. But the fatal flaw is that boys can’t choose from an empty menu. Asking a child to choose his own faith is like flying him to Prague, taking him to the center of the city, and asking him to pick out where to stay and what to do. He doesn’t have a clue because he doesn’t know what his options are. He has never been there before and the city is expansive and overwhelming. If parents really want to help their boys choose, then the responsible thing to do would be to give them an extensive education in the West’s, if not the world’s, religions.” “ Teach your boys about your faith. If you don’t have one, figure out what you believe.”
  • Why boys need God:
    • Hope: a forward thinking belief. It gives a boy that something better is yet to come. It allows for God to be in-charge.  God has no limitations, He won’t die, He can’t fail.
    • Love:  God’s love transcends all others. God’s love is unconditional and boys need to know they deserve of His love. Fathers need
    • Truth: boys all need to find truth. Some boys want to renounce the idea of God’s existence because of human pain, and not wanting to hear what God would say to him if he believed.
    • Grace: Boys need chances to learn from their mistakes and to be forgiven for those mistakes.  God gives boys reassurance that their mistakes will always be forgiven and their errors can be put behind them.
Security: God is always with boys. Boys can always turn to God because he is always present in their lives, “Giving a boy the security of God, the God that always sees him and always loves him, is the defense parents can offer their child. A father offers security, but when he gives his son God, he gives his son something greater. dad makes mistake. God doesn’t. Dad won’t always be around. God will. And God loves them both. Every boy deserves a chance to know this.”

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