I will say this about how I raise my boys…
In and out of our house, we have rules. If they ask for something, they must use the words, “Please” and “Thank you.” They must be respectful to their elders, and any adult in the room. If they get out of line (use a tone or language that we don’t like) they will get a slap on the hand, mouth or bum so they learn their lesson. They must clean up after themselves, do chores and help around the house in any way we see fit. They must ALWAYS be there for each other, because at the end of the day, they are brothers and they have each other to lean on for support.
I am a strict Mom. I can also be a bit uptight. When we go out in public, I fuss over them, and make sure they behave themselves. I dislike it when they try to overstep the boundaries, and they do test the limits ALL THE TIME!!! I’ve yelled at them in public, I have made an example of them in front of other kids, and they know I will call them out at any time.
Why do I do this? I am their MOTHER!!! I am not their friend, I am not their equal. I am their superior and they must respect my authority. They MUST listen to their parents, they must follow OUR rules. I’m not here to cater to their every need or give them everything they want. They’ve heard me say “No” to some of their requests, they’ve seen me blow my top; they’ve seen me cry. They say they will listen, not do it again, but 9 times out of 10, the cycle has started all over again.
There are times I wonder if the words I’m saying get through to them or if I’m just talking to the air. I know they understand me and get what I’m doing. I’m also not a complete ogre who walks around with the yardstick. We have other rules that we live by in our home. We sit down at the table for meals all the time. We say grace before every meal. We say prayers every night before bed. We say “I love you” more times than you can imagine. We give each other lots of hugs and kisses and we say “Sorry” when we’ve done something wrong.
My boys won’t be boys for very long. Next month, my oldest starts the 3rd grade and my middle is entering Kindergarten. By next year, ALL 3 boys will be in school and there are going to be pressures from kids at every angle. They are BOYS. They are impressionable. They are smart. They are talented and they have a bright future ahead. As their Mother, it is my job to ensure they are prepared for the world – the good, bad and ugly. They will make mistakes, and hopefully they will learn from them. We have a pretty strong bond and they feel comfortable telling us their troubles and I hope it continues as they become TEENAGE BOYS.
One day, they will grow up and become MEN. They will hopefully have a great education, a successful career of their choosing (even if they decide not to partner up with me) and eventually (hopefully) they will fall in love, get married, and have children of their own. Then and ONLY then, will they understand WHY I was so strict with them as babies. One day, they may even have a baby girl (or 2 or 3) of their own who will grow up to be a teenage girl and eventually a WOMAN. They will want their daughter to respect herself, her body and treat it like the temple it is. They will want their daughter to know that her beauty comes from within and not have to seek it in the wrong places. They will want their daughter to know and understand that saying “NO” is okay if something doesn’t feel right and that at ANY TIME, they can call on their Dad for help if needed.
My boys may not like and or appreciate all the rules and structure now, but when they get older, they will thank me later. Why? I am their Mother, I love them very much and it’s MY job to help raise them to become true GENTLE MEN!!!
Take care, and be well.