Mothers, Sons, And Respect Talk

Mothers, Sons, And Respect Talk

One mom applied the respect side of the equation in Ephesians 5:33 to her boys and said, “I'm still amazed how just using the words respect, appreciate, and admire seem to make a great difference so far with my…sons.”

Most wives are mothers, and a good percentage of these moms have sons. After some of these moms read my book - Love and Respect - on marriage, they write things like, “I have seen so much good come out of my reading your book. It literally has changed my relationship with our sons (ages 14 and 10).”

“It seems easier to give ‘love talk’, says one mom, “to our two grown girls because we're both in the pink. It was very easy to ‘love’ my guys when they were younger, but as the boys grew, I found that I had to ‘switch gears.’ This has been a challenge not because they grew to become the troublesome teenagers that everyone says in our culture are ‘on another planet,’ but now they need to be treated with more doses of respect as compared to the love. This tips the scales a little. It seems like the young guys may get the blame many times for the change in the balance, when it's not really in their control. It's in their gender.”

Are you a mother of a son? Did you switch gears from “love talk” to your baby boy to “respect talk” as your son grew? What specifically did you say or do when switching gears? Write to me about this at

Another mother comments, “My son is 18 and even though it's hard to remember that he is a man sometimes, I've tried to give him respect in certain situations and he seems to really respond to it. I always looked at respect as something I give my husband, not my son, but after all, he is a male… and age is not a factor…he is not my baby boy anymore and he needs it as much as any other male.”

One mother emailed, “I know our sons are men-in-the-making, and that they need respect to become manly.”

A mother of an 11 year old son is discovering from her son what he needs. “I had a wonderful conversation with my 11-year-old son that same evening. We went to dinner and a movie together (a rare opportunity without his sister and dad). I asked him which was more important from Dad and Mom: to be told that we love him or that we respect/value/are proud of him? He thought for moment and then definitely stated it was more important that we value him or prize him. This is how he defined respect. I loved his expression to 'prize' him (value him as a person). He added that when he was younger (6, 7, or 8) it was more important to hear that we loved him and to show him outward affection. Now that he is entering middle school, it is more important that we respect/ trust him and allow him independence -- he strongly disapproves of 'nit picking' mothers (sounds familiar to 'nagging' wives).”

A sweet mom pens, “I have been really struggling with my nearly 4 year old son lately. Now I understand why every mother wants a daughter, and every father wants a son: because we ‘get’ them!... Having a son involves all the same pink vs. blue issues except it's with someone who can't even tie his own shoe laces yet!”

Have you seen your son’s need for respect? In your case, what specifically have you noticed? In so many words has he voiced his need for respect? Email me the story.

Beyond Respect Talk, Respect Action also counts! A mom reports, “Since he was tiny, if I spend time doing something physical with him and I do it well (like passing a ball with him), I have immediate and longer lasting obedience... then if I'd spent that time talking and talking about behavior.” Another mom applies the Respect teaching to her son. “I found especially interesting the need that men have for a shoulder-to-shoulder relationship with their wives and after reading about that, I saw it in one of my sons. He's 12 years old, and was heading outside to go to the swing set. My husband and I have observed that he's getting too old for a swing set, but he goes out there when he seems to need time alone. One day, my son and I were both headed out the back door at the same time, and he said to me, ‘I'm going to swing! Want to come?’ I knew right away what he was really saying.”

Beyond respect talk, what respect actions have you taken as a mom that energized your son to respond to you more positively? Again, write to me about this at

Why is this respect thing important with sons? A teacher writes, “The Kindergarten classroom is a little more complicated than a normal family setting, but I have so often wished that I could take the mothers of these boys, turn them invisible, and let them see how their sons are (respectfully) treated in our class. Too often, these… moms… speak very disrespectfully about the father, and have a tendency to make the same mistakes of disrespect with their sons… They tend to bounce back and forth between appeasement and hostility when dealing with their sons…”

One gal said that she “passed a lot of this information onto (her) sisters (because) the disrespecting men and male bashing stuff runs pretty heavy in (her) family.” She then told a story that she passed onto her male bashing sisters. “I have spent a lot of my formal education studying psychology, counseling and especially counseling children… I was going to give the (respect) topic a little more thought and see if I could practice some things with my own 4 and 2 year old sons before writing. I don't have any daughters... so I can't compare but I need to share what just happened tonight before I forget. At bedtime we always do a lot of cuddling, and singing and reading and praying. We always hug and kiss at the end and I ALWAYS tell each of my boys that I love them. They always say, "I love you too, mom." Keep in mind they are 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 so this is such a sweet time. They are so sweet. They tell me often that they love me and always say it back when I initiate it (I'm sure this won't always be the case). Tonight my husband wasn't home so I was putting them to bed by myself. At the end of our time before I left the room I was real close to my 4 year old and I said, "Brendan. I totally respect you." He grinned from ear to ear and almost bashfully said, "Thank you." He is normally polite so it's not like I've never heard "Thank you" before, but in this context it kind of blew me away. I think I either expected a question like, "What do you mean?" or I expected him to just repeat it back to me. But he didn't. He just appreciated it. I then turned to my 2 year old and said, "Wyatt. I totally respect you." He just giggled and said, "Yeah." Sooo cute! And what a great response; powerful and I think confirms what you have been teaching. .. I intend to keep telling my boys that I respect them....because I do.”

Do a Respect Test with your sons! Try this out for yourself and let me know of your son’s response.

As a Mom, you will always tell them you love them, probably several times a day, but as you focus more on expressing your respect you will energize them, soften their spirits, and motivate them to respond to you. After you do this, tell me what happened by emailing me at I want to provide a new resource to mothers of sons.

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