Raising a Good Man

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A mom hugging her son. When I was pregnant with my second child and found out he was a boy, I immediately thought of what kind of a man I wanted to raise.

I grew up in a very traditional Italian family. My father is a good man. He worked outside of the home, and my mother raised the children. She did end up getting a job in the school system when my younger brother began school, but she chose that path to be available for us kids. There are four of us: two girls and two boys.

However, my father was an exception to the rule. Yes, he worked very hard, three jobs at one point when I was a baby, but he was also present in the household. He got up in the middle of the night to change diapers. He could boil some pasta if need be. He was helpful around the house when he could be. He spent quality time with us when his schedule allowed for it.

That is how both of my brothers were raised. They were encouraged to be able to support and provide for their families one day, but also to be self-sufficient and an equal partner. They can both cook and do laundry, and one of my brothers is a very hands-on father himself. I do not doubt that the other will be one day, too.

This is exactly how I wanted to raise my son. To be a provider and protector, but also to be self-sufficient and supportive of his family’s needs. Raising this type of son requires guidance, patience, and understanding. Here are some tips that I have found useful to raise a confident, responsible, and compassionate son.

1. Lead by example.

Model the behavior and values you want your son to adopt. Show him what it means to be a positive, respectful male role model. Demonstrate what healthy relationships look like by treating others with respect and kindness.

2. Encourage emotional intelligence.

Teach your son to recognize, express, and manage his emotions. Also, allow him to express himself and show him how to listen actively. Not only are his feelings significant, but considering others’ feelings and perspectives is important.

3. Foster a growth mindset.

Encourage learning from failures and perseverance while he explores his hobbies, interests, strengths, and weaknesses.

4. Teach responsibility and accountability.

Push your son to take ownership of his actions and their consequences. Encourage him to think critically and develop problem-solving skills.

5. Set clear boundaries and expectations.

Establish rules and consequences while explaining the reasoning behind them. Gradually give your son more independence as he grows and matures.

6. Show love and affection.

Express physical and verbal affection to help your son feel loved and valued. And in turn, he will be able to show love to others. Recognize and celebrate your son’s accomplishments and progress.

Every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. The people who are around him for the majority of his time should be his chosen role models. Be patient, flexible, and responsive to your son’s needs and personality. Consistency over perfection is key to raising a good man.

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