All children need their mothers’ care and attention but sometimes we fall short of giving our kids the quality and quantity time that they crave. While this is true of parents who have children of either or both genders, moms, especially, need to remember to take extra care and build their relationships with their sons.
Parenting expert Cheri Fuller, author of What a Son Needs from His Mom, emphasizes the importance of the mother-son relationship, encouraging moms to find different ways to bond with their sons. “Shared times like this make regular deposits in your boy’s emotional account,” she says.
A 2010 study done by researchers at the University of Reading’s School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences also points out the crucial role a mother plays in the development of her son.
According to Dr. Pasco Fearon, who analyzed the study, “children with insecure attachments to their mothers, particularly boys, had significantly more behavioral problems, even when the behavioral problems were measured years later.”
It makes perfect sense, then, that mothers of boys should take the time to develop their relationships with their sons. Here are some ways by which they can do so:
1. Get physical. Boys are known for their ‘rough-and-tumble’ play, and for being hyperactive. Moms can make the most of this by ‘getting physical’ with their sons in their own simple ways, like playing catch with a ball, or even just taking a walk (or a run!) together.
Joey Sychingco Ver, an ophthalmologist, says she bonds with her nine-year-old son Ethan by having “one-on-one time” with him — “even something as simple as walking home from school — he really loves that and tells me more about his day.”
Taking walks together is also something mom Kim Timbol-Reyes, a freelance project manager specializing in online work teams, says her two-year-old son Ethan enjoys.
“He loves taking long walks with me,” Kim shares. “On days we can't go out, our bonding moments include playing with blocks, coloring/painting, and cuddling.”
“I take time to bond with my son every day because it makes him feel loved, creates trust, develops self-confidence (he feels more secure, hence he is more independent), and gives him a sense of belongingness. These, I believe, are essential as he grows up,” she adds.
Other physical activities you can do with your son could be playing ‘tag’ or ‘taya’ outside, or throwing a Frisbee around.
For boys in the toddler-preschooler age range, you can try simple activities like rolling a ball to each other or playing running/jumping games.
2. The mother-and-son tandem that eats together, stays together. Rizza Gustilo-Francisco, a part-time writer and homeschooling mom to Jet, 14, and Jerson, 10, says her sons truly appreciate it when she or their dad blocks a portion of their schedule to be with them one on one.
“Since we love to eat, I try to cook the food they love to eat, especially during weekends and holidays,” she shares. “Sometimes, we prepare the meal together. During mealtime (when they like the food served) they tend to be more open, talkative and interactive.”
Rizza adds, “Such bonding moments create memories. I usually learn about their struggles and fears and plans during these moments. I am also given the chance to speak out my thoughts to them and to pray with them.”
Eating together also helps create bonding moments between freelance writer and businesswoman Mauie Flores and her only child, Ralph, who is now in high school.
“When he was still in grade school, we’d usually eat out first before heading home,” Mauie shares. “Now, we only have food trips on weekends when I bring him home from the dorm and vice versa.”
3. Go somewhere together. Joey says her son loves bonding with her — and the other members of their family (Daddy and little sister) — during trips, “or even just swimming at Ace Water Spa.” Taking the time to build their relationship this way is important to Joey.
“I want my son to know that no matter how busy I am, he matters [to me] and I have time for him. I want him to feel that his dad and I are his go-to persons for anything — his needs, problems, and when he wants someone to talk to,” she expounds.
“I want that even when he grows to be an adult, he knows that we will always be there for him. All these will be difficult if we didn't bond properly as mother and son, or father and son, in the case of my husband.
“Lastly -- and this is far-fetched -- but I hope my son finds a life partner who will love him for what he is. I hope that he will model that relationship after ours. I want him to set standards as to the vision of what his family will be in the future.”
Meanwhile, Rizza says she loves going out with her sons, too. “I schedule a time for each of the boys, so it will be just the two of us at least once a week if our schedules allow it,” she shares.
Rizza continues, “Each son can decide where we go and what we do. I am so thankful my kids love to hang out at National Book Store and Book Sale outlets.”
When her husband has out-of-town business trips, Rizza and the boys join him. Since they are a homeschooling family, it is easy for them to do so.
“We stay at the hotel, watching TV while eating chips. I observe what programs they are interested in and talk with them,” Rizza says. “Homeschooling is also bonding time for us.”
4. Help them with homework and other school-related things. Kaity Bato, a blogger and work-at-home mom to MigMig, 4, and Miro, 7 months old, says that she enjoys helping her preschooler with his homework.
“I love teaching him and reading to him as I can see his eyes light up every time he gets amazed [by something he’s learning],” she shares.
“I think it's important for me to bond with my boys because it strengthens our relationship. I get to know my boys even better,” Kaity adds. “The bonding connects us and it gives me a sense of fulfillment and joy that nothing and no one else can bring.”
Ira Pahanel, a freelancer and mother of three, finds time to bond with her six-year-old son, Nicholai, despite her busy schedule as a yaya-less, exclusively breastfeeding, work-at-home mom.
“As much as possible, we do our ‘bonding time’ during study or artwork time, because he prefers to study with me only, rather than with his siblings,” she shares.