Boys - like many of us - desire connection and belonging, but can struggle to maintain loving and emotional connections with other boys due to aspects such as cultural norms and definitions of masculinity. Although it isn’t always easy, developing and building a healthy and strong relationship with your son is crucial to his health and wellbeing.
The ability of your son to build healthy and strong relationships is very important, particularly in developing his social skills. Social skills – such as the capability to communicate, engage, show empathy and build trust with others – are essential for boys to flourish at school, at sport practice or in the workplace. Research shows that young people who experience a nurturing environment and are provided with emotional, social and physical support are the most likely to experience positive wellbeing and reach their full potential.
We’ve discovered some helpful tips from Aha! Parenting to get you started.
1. Make time to get to know your son
Spending time with your son is essential to building a strong relationship with him. It will be difficult to strengthen your bond if you are always preoccupied and he spends all his time playing video games. As hard as it can be with our busy lives, prioritising some regular and dedicated time with your son is key to strengthening your relationship.
2. Build trust
As a parent, you ultimately earn your son’s trust over time by following through on what you say you will do. This is achieved by the little things – by playing catch when you said you would, by picking them up on time, or by going to their football game when you promised. In the same way, your son knows you expect certain things of him as well.
3. Encourage him
Children form their perception of themselves and the world every day. Your son needs your encouragement to develop a healthy self-perception, and to see himself as a good person who is capable of good things. If the majority of the things you tell him is correction or criticism, then he won’t feel good about himself and you’ll lose your leverage with him.
4. Make yourself available
Boys will open up when they are ready. Let your son know that you are available if he wants to talk – regardless of how big or small an issue may be. It’s important to remember that staying available is an attitude. Your son picks up on your emotional availability – he needs to know that you are there to give him your full attention and meet his emotional needs.
At Christ Church Grammar School, we encourage our boys to support one another and explore the concept of positive relationships through The Wynne Centre for Boys’ Health and Wellbeing. If you are interested in learning more about good health and wellbeing for boys, download our Building Good Men Magazine.