1. How to wrestle and roughhouse. There are a lot of things us moms do well, but wrestling and roughhousing are not normally on the top of the list. Boys need to learn how to roughhouse for a variety of reasons. First of all, it burns off energy! We all know that most little boys have a plentiful supply of energy (that sometimes feels like it is being siphoned from his parents), so this is a great way to expel some of it. Second of all, it is great for their development. Don’t believe me? Read this article from ABC News titled “Roughhousing with Dad Crucial for Development, Says Researchers“. Here is a short quote:
Rough and tumble play between fathers and their young children is part of their development, shaping their children’s brain so that their children develop the ability to manage emotions and thinking and physical action altogether,” said Fletcher. “This is a key developmental stage for children in that preschool area between the ages of about two and a half and five. That’s when children learn to put all those things together.”
The article goes on to say that even though boys were more interested in initiating the roughhousing, it was also beneficial for girls. Also, it’s important to note that the roughhousing needs to be appropriate to the age of a child. It’s probably best that a 4-month old baby NOT be thrown high into their air, even in the name of roughhousing and spending quality time.
2. How to potty standing up (and occasionally outside). I know, I know. This one is so hard for me, especially letting them go to the bathroom outside. I just about pitched a fit when my husband let our oldest do it! We don’t let our boys do this very often, but when it is private and semi-appropriate (camping, at the lake, etc) we let our boys go ‘potty’ outside. In my opinion, this is one great advantage of being part of the male species (especially on trips when there is no gas station in sight).
3. How to be a lifelong learner. Boys are not often known to be avid readers, especially in the late elementary years all through high school when reading is often labeled as ‘uncool’. However, this can put them at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to academics in the later years. Little boys need to see their dad reading. Little boys need to be read to by their Dad. And finally, little boys need to see their dad attempting to learn something new…even if that involves watching a YouTube video on fixing a leaky faucet. ;)
Instilling a love for learning is a key component to ensuring your child’s success. Boys need to see their dad as a role model for someone who enjoys learning something new!
4. How to be a servant leader, both inside and outside the home. In the book Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, the author points out that around the age of four, little boys typically start pulling away from their moms and are drawn more to their dads. As a mother of two little boys, this information saddens me somewhat (especially since I have noticed this trend in my own 4-year old boy), but I know it is natural and right. Little boys watch their daddies and do what they do.
John Wooden once said,
“The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
A little boy will learn how to treat a woman by watching how his father treats his mother. Men need to be servants in their homes and treat their wives with respect and honor.
Likewise, little boys need to see their fathers serving outside of the home as well. Are you helping an elderly relative install some grab bars or helping a friend paint a house? Take your little boy along! Although he might not be able to help much, it will be extremely beneficial for that little boy to see his dad serving someone else.
5. How to be a man of God. As little boys grow into young men, their desire to have a relationship with God will be extremely dependent on what they have seen modeled by the men in their lives. Boys need to see their Dads submitting to our Heavenly Father. Boys need to see their fathers involved in the spiritual health of their family…saying prayers, reading the Bible, and talking about God. Most of all, boys need to see that the faith of their Father permeates every area of his life. They need to see him walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
“Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. ” -Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 (MSG)
Fathers, if you glean nothing else from this list, make your relationship with God a priority above all else. After all, your son is watching.
If you are a single mother, please do not be disheartened by this list. You are the most important person in your little boy’s life and you are making a profound impact on him! I would encourage you, however, to find a healthy male role-model for your son. Schedule frequent visits so that your son can have a positive male mentor.