Kat Eggleston | 98five blogger
If you have a loving partner who is a good dad to your kids, then you are very blessed. Not all dads are there as they should be, for a number of reasons.
In his bestseller Raising Boys, Australian author and psychologist Steve Biddulph sums up some past family experiences: ‘A fair number of dads were violent, scary or drank too much. Many were traumatised by war and hard to get close to. Some men simply walked out on their families and never came back’.
Where the dad is absent, the eldest brother can become the father figure (though not yet an adult himself), or an uncle, granddad, community member or coach. It can be heartbreaking to watch kids growing up ‘fatherless’ but take comfort in knowing that you don’t have to pass this on. You can teach boys about love and raise your sons to be great fathers one day, by being a loving mum.
Biddulph talks about the special role a mum plays in her son’s life: ‘She is his first love, and needs to be tender, respectful and playful, without wanting to own or intimidate his world…’
Here are some ways that mums can teach boys about love:
Show physical affection toward your boys
Find a way to show physical affection to your boys in a way that doesn’t annoy them. One of my boys doesn’t let me kiss him at all and he doesn’t like hugs either.
But if he sees me sitting down he will always ask if he can sit on my lap. I find it bizarre but this is his favourite way of being physically affectionate. So if I’m reading all my kids a story I will let this particular child sit on my lap, because all of the others still love kisses and cuddles from me.
Biddulph writes that being physically affectionate to your sons also stops them from being violent to others later in life.
‘…Those societies which gave less touching and affection to young children had by far the most violence amongst adults. (Sex offenders and other sexual predators almost always have a history of rejection, institutionalisation and disrupted childhoods.) Treating children with warmth and affection immunises them against the wish or need to harm others.’
Spend quality time with your boys
I use appointments and errands to spend time with my kids. Every six to eight weeks I take one of my boys to an optometrist appointment. We use the time in the car to chat, they always get a treat afterwards and I use this as a bonding opportunity.
Listen to your boys
My boy Kale, 8, tends to become obsessed with things, and at the moment he is obsessed with politics, which is hilarious because my hubby and I don’t know the first thing about politics.
So when Kale wants to tell me about what ‘fascism’ is, or that he wants to be a Liberal one day because they are slightly ‘right wing’, although I may not have the slightest clue as to what he’s on about, I need to stop what I’m doing, use eye contact, listen, and be interested by asking questions — ‘what does right wing mean, Kale?’
Be attentive when your boys want to discuss their interests with you and share your interests with them too.
‘Little boys learn love from their mothers. Be kind and warm, and enjoy them.’ ~Steve Biddulph
Remember, as a mum you teach boys about love. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you are like his practice girlfriend, and you’re setting the bar for the future women that will come into his life.
If you want your boy to end up with a nice lady, then be a nice lady to your boy. Tell him he’s handsome and interesting to talk to, teach him how to do housework, show him how to be gentle with others, and help him to grow into a man that you can be proud of.
If you didn’t have a good dad when you were growing up, you can’t change that.
You also can’t force the father of your children to be present if he doesn’t want to be for whatever reason. In saying that, there are many good dads out there and my kids are very lucky to have one of those.
Whether or not your son’s father is present, be encouraged by knowing that it is within your power and within your control as a mother to raise your sons to be good men who will be wonderful husbands and fantastic dads one day, by simply being a loving mother.
So teach boys about love and make a change for the better for the next generation.
‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ ~ American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
Kat Eggleston is a stay-at-home mum of four and is passionate about making a difference. As a singer-songwriter (Ezereve), $35K has been raised through her music for charities that rescue children from trafficking. While auditioning live for the X Factor judges in 2016, Kat had a revelation that the best way to make a difference, was by being the best mum she could be. Kat is a parenting blogger, regular parenting columnist for the Northern Valleys News, and facilitates the ‘Setting up Generations’ Facebook group to support mums on their journey through motherhood. ezereve.com/blog | Follow Kat on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter