5 Ways a Mother Can Develop Self-Worth in Her Son

By Caron C. Andrews

Mothers have a huge impact on their sons’ emotional development. We can help them become healthy, productive, and secure men by promoting their sense of self-worth throughout their childhood and adolescence in many different ways. Here are some examples.

  • Encourage His Passions

Your son’s interests and passions come from the core of who he is. Celebrating and encouraging them helps him know that they—and he—are worthwhile. Sign him up for science camp, enroll him in soccer, get him involved in 4-H—wherever his interests lie, there is something available to support and develop them.

  • Praise, But Don’t Overdo It

Praising your son is important to his healthy development, but praising too much can actually be damaging. When he is broadly praised for everything, he can come to expect the world to constantly cheer him on. But the world likely won’t, and that can be devastating when he expects a steady stream of it.Instead, give specific and earned praise when he reaches a goal, when he treats his sister kindly, when he improves his grade in English.

  • Talk About Emotions

There’s enormous societal pressure for boys to be tough and strong, to hide their emotions. But your son has very real, wide-ranging feelings that you can help him name and express. After an outburst, ask him what led up to it and what he was feeling—scared, angry, overwhelmed? If he’s excited about something and trying to act “cool” and not show it, encourage him to express his delight by showing your own. When he’s sad, be there to comfort him and allow him to have his feelings rather than “snapping out of it.”

  • Spend Time Together

Spending time doing enjoyable things together—especially things he likes—shows your son that you’re interested in him, that he matters. It tells him he’s an important part of your life and he’s worthwhile. When his favorite book premieres as a movie, go see it with him. Go on a bike ride on a summer evening, cook something delicious together, relax with him after school—it doesn’t matter what, as long as the activity is meaningful to each of you.

  • Give Him Responsibilities

Your son needs to know that as a valuable member of the family, he is responsible for certain chores or activities. It helps him have a sense of purpose and importance, which is essential to self-worth. It also teaches him that he’s capable of it. Whether it’s doing the dishes, vacuuming, or feeding and walking the dog, give him regular jobs and hold him accountable for doing them.

Your influence as a mother is powerful and special. Your son will benefit immeasurably from your efforts to nurture his self-worth as you do so day by day.

Our books have many great conversation starters, and they can help you improve communication between you and your children. Check them out! ; How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography, which is also available in ; and .

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Drexler, P. (2012, August). The key to raising confident kids? Stop complimenting them! Psychologytoday.com. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-gender-ourselves/201208/the-key-raising-confident-kids-stop-complimenting-them

12 Ways to Help Your Child Build Self-Confidence. (2013). Askdrsears.com. Retrieved from http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/parenting/child-rearing-and-development/12-ways-help-your-child-build-self-confidence

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