5 Things Fathers Should Teach Their Little Boys


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.



  1. Thank you! Very good points! I shared with my husband. Fortunately he is very good at a few of these. I probably should get him to roughhouse more :)

  2. I love this post!

    I don’t have kids (yet)!

    I’d love to have a boy and girl but would be happy with just a healthy happy baby!

    Best regards,
    Christie Strayer
    Thirty-One Gifts – Independent Consultant

  3. And don’t be mad, as mothers, if fathers teach their boys that women are not equal to them, but that women are the weaker vessel. And that there are plenty of women in the world if one they are interested in shows them a lack of respect. Remember, husbands must love their wives and wives must respect their husbands, and there are consequences if either fails in their God given role.

  4. I find # 1 so hard… I’m always worried one of them will get hurt. I usually leave the room and remind myself how important it is for them. Thank you so much for this list. I’ve printed it to share with my husband and will forward to my brother-in-law.

    1. Me too, Crystal! I often have to leave the room as well because it makes me a nervous wreck (and heightens my blood pressure). :) I have to remind myself that my husband loves them and will not intentionally put them in danger.

  5. Very well written article. I think number 4 is very important. I don’t have any kids of my own but I treat my nephews almost like sons, unfortunately their father wasn’t the greatest role model on how to treat a woman and so they don’t know how to properly treat a woman either.

  6. 1-4 sounds great however I don’t agree with 5. We can live morally without having religion in our lives.

    1. You haven’t been uncomfortable yet. In your weakest moment you will reach out to God and find him waiting for you

      1. That is the biggest misconception there is. No, we don’t. We can be honest, good parents to our children without the need of god around. To imply that we’re just weak and will change our minds when scared is an absolute insult on our character.

        1. Thanks Katee; couldn’t agree more. And a few other points: why is there the comment after 5 “make your relationship with God a priority over all else.”? If that is the priority of this list why was it not #1?Would some people have cut their reading short if the article had opened with that? Either way you’re probably going to sell the same amount of printable scripture cards. Maybe #3 should have the word ‘critical’ added in front of ‘readers’. Oh and @Yorzhik: if you are being sarcastic, God bless you. and if you’re not, God bless you… wow.

          1. Just FYI: I am not SELLING Scripture Cards. They are free for anyone to print and use as they wish. They are my gift to my readers.

            Also, I’ve found that in writing, it’s best to save the best, most important point, for last. That’s why #5 was not #1.

        2. This article is written from a Biblical, as well as the author’s perspective. If she was writing an article defending the faith, this kind of response might be appropriate, maybe even welcome.
          Read the Bible, in Romans Chapters 1 to 3 if you want the Biblical perspective about the ability of people to live good or moral lives apart from God. It is clearly a self-righteous piety & a pridefully arrogant nature that says “My character is unquestionable, I have no need of God.”
          As far as the Biblical understanding, such an attitude is simply ignorant and closed minded and is fit for those who are perishing.
          Read the rest of Romans to get a better understanding of the “problem” (being us) and the “solution” (being God). By no means, don’t only read Romans, the entire Bible speaks to this perspective.

          1. I stumbled across this page and invested a couple of minutes to read, however after reading point 5 and the subsequent comments I felt need to leave a reply.
            I consider myself a good human being and after reading 1-4 an excellent father to my son of 7 and 2 step children (girl 11 & boy 17). I’m 44 and didn’t become a father until I was 38 but have always wanted children. My boy is the most important thing to me with whom I spend a lot of time. I do not believe in god and neither does my partner even though she was raised catholic and my children attend RC schools. Each to their own with one’s belief’s but I totally disagree with Casey, I lost my sister with whom I was very close 8 years ago and if anything it sent me the other way. I don’t want to be disrespectful so I’ll leave it there as you should with your belief’s. I felt it undermines the whole point of the article and when I should be leaving the page with a positive attitude of what a good job I’m doing, instead it has put me in a mood to write this retort.

            1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read, Stephen. I truly appreciate it. I am so very sorry for the loss of your sister. I lost my oldest brother in a car accident several years ago, so I can definitely identify with the pain you have experienced.

              I hope that the majority of the article *was* encouraging to you, although I am sorry that the tone changed for you so drastically with point 5. I certainly understand and respect where you are coming from, but likewise this article was written by me and is obviously biased (like all narrative writings, I suppose) towards the elements of my life that I find most important. My faith in God is truly the rock, the foundation, of my life…and upon it all other experiences rest. My husband feels the same way, so this is obviously our number 1 goal in parenting. Of course I would love to say something that might encourage you to pursue a relationship with God, but I am not naive in recognizing that the chance of that happening based on one comment on a blog post is pretty slim (but you can always e-mail if I am wrong!). But I do want you to know that your children are blessed to have someone who cares deeply enough about them to invest time in them and the ways he can best parent them. Have a wonderful day and thanks for taking the time to comment!

  7. The first two make sense. the rest can (and need to be) taught by anybody. Male of female.

    The main thing I think for a man to figure out, is to know what he truly wants, and how to go for that. If he’s doing that – kids or not – he’ll be an example to other men. or men in training.

    a woman can’t make him do that, he has to figure it out.
    just like a man’s actions can’t make a woman believe that she’s beautiful.

    Wrestling is good.

  8. I am the roughhouser and wrestler with my boys and I taught my 3.5yr old to stand and pee both inside the toilet and outside in the yard at one of our trees. It’s funny how so many people feel that certain things can only be taught by the same sex rather than fully diversified parents.

  9. A great advice; quite informative! I’m going to be a father in the next couple of months and, obviously, this is an eye-opener for me. Thanks a lot

  10. Nice tips.

    I’m a 31 year old father of 2, a 4 year old boy is 1 of them.

    The best tip in my view is the 1 on reading.

    As a blogger and writer, I read a lot. Been a hobby of mines since a kid, but it’s so crazily ironic that my boy has never seen me reading! I never read in front of him nor around him before. Sad but true.

    I promise to start from tonight though.

  11. Having children was the greatest test of my life. It revealed my strength and weaknesses. I realized that as I loved them, my heavenly Father loved me even greater. It made me aware of all the sacrifices my earthly Father made for me and for that I am so thankful.
    Dad you were the greatest. I wish I knew then what I know now.

  12. “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.”

    This is one reason I’ve always loved your blog Jenae, you are sensitive and kind when (unfortunately) many God centered bloggers are not, they don’t even mean to wound some times, but they do. I haven’t been by to peek for awhile, but I just wanted to give you a ‘thumbs up’ on this part

    Nicole Pulliam

  13. Funny enough, I’m also the mom of 2 boys and I love it when they pee outside….less mess for me to clean up in the bathrooms (their aim is terrible sometimes!). Our backyard is surrounded by a 6 foot cinderblock wall and we live in Phoenix, have a nearly 1/2 acre grassy back yard, and the weather is usually good, so the kids are outside a lot, most of the year. I’m just as happy, if we don’t have guests, if they pop behind a palm tree in the corner of the yard and pee, and save me the clean up in the bathrooms. They know not to do so in public, or in front of other people though and they are only 6 & 8….I might feel differently if they were 16 & 18. I grew up as the only girl with 2 brothers on a farm so peeing outside was nothing shocking to me when I had boys of my own.

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