8 Ways to Raise Sons Who Lead


My heart melts when I hear single moms talking about raising their sons. I also know dads who are charged with raising their sons alone. In both cases the greatest challenge is to demonstrate how to treat women respectfully so sons can have successful marriages. The great news is any parent can raise sons who lead in marriage and lead in life.

1) Laugh a lot. “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh about it,” said one of my favorite columnists, Erma Bombeck. This is especially relevant when raising boys; they just seem to track in more mud than normal humans. A sense of humor is a sign of intelligence, At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

2) Stand alone. We all hate standing alone. We so prefer consensus. Sadly, though, the best decisions we make along the way are often when we don’t cave in to peer pressure from other parents. This is the only way I know to teach sons to stand alone when they must.

3) Keep coming back. I suspect the devil wants to highjack all boys long before they become men. This is probably why parents keep coming back to fundamentals over and over. For example, “Did you look in the closet for your lost shoes?” Or “What do you mean the dog ate it?” as you realize you may have to schedule a trip to the vet.

4) Utilize human resources. If you want to encourage more positive attention for your son, just stay alert and rejoice loudly when it happens. This must set off some kind of chain reaction in the universe because more encouragement is sure to follow.

5) Teach your sons to cherish their mother. When there are ex-spouses this can seem complicated, but it is as simple as respecting our sons enough to deal with our adult pain judiciously. Being positive about motherhood sets boys free to be positive about all the women in their life.

6) Pray harder. This is easy with sons since there are hundreds of daily prayers for boys that begin with, “Lord, have mercy!” For instance, when the vet bill comes or when you discover their tennis shoes have been wrapped in a wet towel in their gym bag for a week.

7) Speak positive truth. Passing along a verbal blessing is as simple as noticing their special giftedness and pointing them in the right direction so their confidence flourishes. Or, as my son likes to say, “Mom, they just don’t get my genius!”

8) Sleep. Eat. Breath. Take a break. Give thanks. As parents it is so important to meet the necessities in our own life, like getting enough sleep and staying healthy. Finally, gratefulness is the super-fuel for parents who need all the energy they can get.

Raising sons is not for wimps, but what better way to build a lasting legacy?

Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Comments are invited at or on Facebook.