I would just like to throw a little bit of motherly advice out there for any moms who might be raising a boy who is sensitive, and by sensitive I mean emotional. I have 3 sons who are 22, 16, and 12. One of my boys has a more sensitive spirit than the others, and as he has grown up, we have been very careful to be respectful of that spirit while trying to train him to control his emotions as he grows into manhood.
You probably know if you have a son who is sensitive if he cries easily when verbally disciplined or he cries when he loses at games or maybe he is embarrassed very easily. I know it can be frustrating when your boy cries about striking out during a ball game, and just as girls need to be taught to control their emotions, your son does too–and as he gets older he will more easily be able to control his crying.
I worry when I see emotionally charged mom’s verbally and physically lash out at their son’s in public (who knows what’s going on in private). Through the years I have seen moms slap their sons in the head; shriek at their sons; verbally reprimand their sons loudly enough for everyone to hear, and otherwise humiliate their sons–AND I promise you, I have seen this happen in church to boys who are very young.
1. Moms, you have to learn how to control yourselves!!! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER slap or hit your children out of anger or frustration. I am not speaking here to controlled, biblical spanking. Controlled, biblical spanking does not take place with loud, screaming voices and uncontrolled slapping and hitting. Biblical spanking takes place from a loving, caring heart that literally feels that “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.”
2. Let your son know that his tears and emotions are God-given. I have always told my son that God has given him his wonderful, sensitive spirit in order to feel for others. I have urged him to be open to God’s leading in his life, and to be aware when the Holy Spirit is leading him. My sensitive little boy has grown into a young man who now wants to be preacher, and I believe that one day he will be a man who will be used of God to help people in a great way.
3. Push, push, push your son toward his daddy. Let him learn manly ways from the men in your life–your husband, grandpas, good men in the church. A boy needs the masculine models in order to know how to behave emotionally.
4. Let him read biographies of great men–presidents, missionaries, pastors, inventors, adventurers, explorers. Let him learn from great men, like a Teddy Roosevelt, how to overcome. Teddy Roosevelt suffered from very poor health as a young man but was encouraged by his father to take part in sports and other very physical activities. Teddy Roosevelt overcame his physical weakness to become a great outdoorsman, leader of the Rough Riders, and president of the United States.
5. My sensitive son loves sports–encourage your son’s love of sports and other outdoor activities. I am personally fearful of guns, but my husband wanted our boys to know how to shoot, so I kept my mouth shut about my fears. Now the boys all own their own guns and enjoy target shooting very much–I have even been a few times myself.
6. Encourage your sensitive son to love God’s word, to love church, and to love preaching–you never know, those tears he sheds now may be tears shed for the souls of men in years to come.
7. Discipline in private. If you see your son is misbehaving in public, pull him aside and quietly but firmly discipline him. Even if your son is little and he throws a tantrum in the store, leave your shopping behind, take him out, discipline him in private, and return to your shopping when he is in control of his emotions. I have had to leave many a cart full of groceries in the grocery store which was aggravating at the time but worth it in the long run!
8. Uncontrolled crying is not good. It will probably take many years for your son to learn to control his tears. When the tears come for really no good reason, just firmly say to your son, “This is not a time to cry. You need to stop crying.” Give him a few minutes to gather himself, and continue to speak to him. He probably gets frustrated with his own inability to control his tears.
You do not want to break your son’s spirit. As much as possible, let your son be close to his dad and let dad do much of the disciplining. Of course, if you are the one who is at home when discipline needs to take place, then take care of the problem, but always use wise, biblical discipline. Do not let your emotions lead you.
By the way, as women, I think we should have more of a sensitivity to how it feels to not be able to control crying! Let’s be very careful to never humiliate our sons. One day very soon, that little boy will be a man–and hopefully he will be a man who will rise up and call you blessed!
by Laurie Whitehouse