KNOW HIS FRIENDS
Your son will not be naturally inclined to develop social graces on his own. He will talk too loud, rudely laugh at inappropriate moments, finish the last cookie, and be selfish toward his friends.
If you do not train him how to interact socially, he will be left to figure out for himself what works and what does not.
I am always surprised when mothers complain about their son’s inappropriate behavior, yet at the same time they neglect to teach him positive alternatives.
While having your son’s friends over for a visit may take up your time and bring wear and tear to your house, each time this happens you are graced with the opportunity to observe your son’s conduct within his relationships.
Did you notice I used the word observe? As you watch your son interact with his friends:
- Make mental notes of behaviors he may need to modify.
- Don’t intervene right away.
- Wait for an opportunity when the two of you are alone (this means away from his siblings as well).
- Talk to your son when you find an appropriate time alone.
- Help him think through how he might be making others feel when he engages in unsuitable actions.
It’s important that you determine to base your concerns on what the Bible says about your son’s behavior. For that will help you guard from nit-picking over every little thing that may have bothered you. Make sure you talk about real heart issues, and not just little things that got on your nerves.
Allowing for your son’s immaturity, address only what you are convinced will help build his social skills and mold his character so he will grow more Christlike.
TREAT HIM WITH RESPECT
Most important of all, you are more likely to get a respectful response from your son when you treat him with respect and deal with your concerns when you two are alone.
If you disrespect your son in front of his friends, or try to manipulate his behavior by embarrassing him, I guarantee his buddies will not want to hang out at your house anymore. They will be humiliated for him.
And your son will feel betrayed by you and will not trust how you might treat him in front of his peers. If you publicly dishonor your son, you will only serve to alienate him from yourself.
If something must be addressed while your son’s friends are visiting, quietly pull him aside and ask him to make the adjustment. Your son will appreciate your sensitivity and your loyalty.
PRAY FOR DISCERNMENT TO RECOGNIZE OPPORTUNITIES
Finally, realize there is wisdom in waiting for the right time to talk with your son about social manners. If you pounce on him with a list of criticisms as soon as everyone has gone home, he may end up tuning you out.
Rather, pray for opportunities to bring up your concerns at the right times, in ways he will understand are for God’s glory and his own betterment.
Taking time to teach your son how to be a good and loyal friend will help him honor the Lord with his relationships, and become someone people trust and genuinely like.*
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*Excerpt Moms Raising Sons to Be Men (Harvest House Publishers 2013)