As a Marriage and Family Therapist. I am struck by how often men seem not to have learned the basic skills required to engage a healthy and emotionally intimate relationship with a woman. It is so important that we teach our sons the skills necessary to develop and enjoy healthy and emotionally intimate families as they grow into adulthood. Obviously both boys and girls benefit from these principles, but…
- Mom and Dad must respect each other. When women allow themselves to be abused or mistreated by the men in their lives, boys learn it is ok to do the same.
- It’s ok to feel and express emotion. Boys learn that ALL emotions are acceptable when their parents can express joy, sorrow, disappointment, sadness, loneliness, and yes, even anger appropriately and openly. Their sons must know that tears are OK too. Too often our culture teaches that men are only allowed to be happy or angry, the rest they have to hide.
- Running a house is a “family affair”. Boys learn that cooking, washing clothes, cleaning, even mending clothes are useful skills and essential for survival as an adult when their Dads are engaged in those activities.
- It’s important to notice when a person seems upset and ask if they need help. Both parents need to model care and engagement when either of them or any other family member is unhappy.
- None of us are mind readers. Be explicit with your children and with each other when something needs to be communicated. Way too often I hear “If you don’t know why I’m upset, I’m certainly not going to tell you!” By engaging each other in clear and accurate communication we teach our children how to do the same.
- Boys learn that men and women have value when Dads and Moms engage each other in all levels of discussion and decision making.
- Boys learn about gentleness and kindness when their Dad is gentle and kind to their mom.
As parents engage these skills with each other, their children learn… Our children are amazing imitators of the adults around them. Let them learn gentleness, kindness, forbearance, grace, and love. These are the foundations of solid families.
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Hope Counseling Center Inc.
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