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Raising Compassionate Sons In an Apathetic World

Raising Compassionate Sons In an Apathetic World
February 23, 2018

Being a parent is a huge responsibility. You’re responsible for this tiny human, making sure he is healthy, happy, and loved. You’re ready to give him everything he needs. Food to nourish his body. A roof over his head. Love to feed his soul. 

Despite providing for his every physical and emotional need, you may wonder, “Am I doing this right? Will he grow up to be a good man? Will he be kind? Will he be a friend to those who need him? Will he do the right thing when it is asked of him?”

In a time when compassion, empathy, and kindness are so desperately needed, how can we as mothers ensure that our sons will be compassionate, empathetic, and kind?

We can’t.

There is nothing available in our DIY Motherhood Toolkit that 100% ensures that our sons will be kind, compassionate, or empathetic. We cannot force them to make the right decisions. 

They must do this on their own. 

That doesn’t mean that hope is lost, or that our boys will grow up to be self-centered and unkind. We are our children’s teachers. And in this role we have the ability to give our sons the power to want to choose kindness.

We can show them how kindness feels, and how it impacts the world.

We can show them how compassion towards themselves and others can spur change for good.

We can show them that empathy and understanding in times of distress has the potential to save a life.

How?

By letting our sons feel. 

For so long, boys have been told “Be a man.” “Stop being a girl.” “Boys don’t cry.” “Stop crying and get over it.”

These phrases negate the fact that men have feelings too. To be a man, they must ignore what they are feeling, and use their power to get what they want. If they cry, they are weak, pathetic, and unworthy of comparison to the peers of their sex. 

This blatant disregard for male feelings has lead to countless hardships, for men and women. Men feel as deeply as everyone else. By acknowledging those feelings, men are able to choose kindness, compassion, and empathy in the blink of an eye; rather than considering whether it will detract from their sex.

It’s never too early to start raising an empathetic and compassionate human. As mothers, we can begin to foster compassion in our sons in boyhood. We have the ability to help them understand that feelings are meant to be felt, and that no one feeling is worse than another.

It’s okay to be mad.

It’s okay to be sad.

It’s okay to cry.

When talking to your sons about the importance of feelings, we must validate every feeling they have. Especially when they are upset. A few key phrases to use might include:

Your feelings are valid, and it is okay to feel them.

What are you feeling right now? Does it feel good or bad?

Where are you feeling your feelings right now? Do you feel it in your chest or your tummy? Somewhere else?

How can I help you express how you feel?

If your little one has a hard time with words, it may be beneficial to ask him to color or draw how he feels. It may also be beneficial to ask him to compare it to something he has read in a book or seen on a tv show or movie. Ask him, “Does it feel like when {fictional character} was {feeling} about {situation}?” This can help you get to the root of his feelings, and discuss what the next best steps may be to express himself.

In the end, we may not have complete control over how our sons act, or the men they grow up to be. But we can give them the tools they need to succeed; to be an emotionally well-rounded human that is capable of making kind, compassionate decisions

Here’s to our sons. May they always see the good they can do with a simple act of kindness.

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Mennah A

I like this, think sons and daughters need this, they are growing up in a harsh world!

9 Months / report
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Allie W

Freaking love this. Thank you for sharing.

1 Year / report
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