Friday, April 26, 2013
Book Review: What a Son Needs from His Mom
So, I had a baby boy four months ago. And this happening prompted the reflection: What the heck do I know about boys?! I knew there were a lot of things I could do wrong. I just didn't have any idea what the right things were to do as the mother of a little being so entirely different from me. Yes, love the little bugger. But how?
Just as I was in the midst of musing over these questions, this book by Cheri Fuller came before me for review. I immediately snatched up a review copy and read it quickly, underlining a lot. What a Son Needs from His Mom is a book chock-full of wisdom and good advice for moms who are raising sons.
In this book, Fuller provides wisdom on topics as diverse as faith, confidence, communication, emotions, and school. She provides a lot of anecdotes from moms of boys, as well as comments and stories from the boys themselves on what their mothers did that was helpful or not helpful for them. Through her own journey as a mom to boys, Fuller helps moms understand how best to relate to a masculine personality.
Confidence and formation into a strong young man as the goal is a strong theme in this book. Fuller advises gradually releasing our sons and trusting them to make the right decision instead of overly controlling their decisions. Helpful to me was her discussion of how off-putting over-protection due to a mother's fears can be to sons and how it can undermine confidence as they grow and develop. I know this will be a battlefield for me and that I will need to work hard to combat my own fears and anxieties so that my boy can thrive and be the courageous young man God has created him to be.
In one illustration, she shares about a friend who had a teenage son with whom she was experiencing friction. "He was becoming edgy, sharing less, and pulling away." However, "God showed Peggy that her son was the budding head of a new household. The season of God's nurturing John through her was coming to an end and a new season was beginning for him. It was no longer fitting for her to dominate this young man whom God was calling to be the eventual head of a new household." This was a really helpful insight for me. Granted, realizing when this stage has come to pass will require some careful discernment. But eventually my son will begin to take on a role of leadership as a man. He will probably have some growing pains as he comes into a new stage of life. But I will need to get out of the way as God begins to form him and to move him into this new stage.
In the area of communication, Fuller provided a wonderful, helpful illustration: boys' "emotions and thoughts are a little like oatmeal. If you heat up a pot of oatmeal and it gets hotter and closer to a boil, bubbles come to the surface. In a similar way, as our sons get heated up through doing active things, their thoughts bubble up to the surface." Generally speaking, while girls may focus a lot on direct relationships and talking, boys focus on doing. I'll need to understand this major difference between the genders as I parent my son. In regards to communication, Fuller also recommends lecturing less but instead using stories, strong and succinct quotations, and the like to teach.
In another part of the book, Fuller challenges moms to come up with five to eight core values that she hopes to instill in her son (this would be helpful for daughters as well!). Then, she encourages moms to look to the long-term plan to teach those values. It won't happen overnight but with steady effort, your child can come to know those all-important values.
I do have only one real critique of this book. In the way in which Fuller describes the faith life of children, she seems to lean towards a view that a very young child cannot generally be saved and in possession of their own faith. I believe even very young children can have a saving knowledge of Christ. I wouldn't say that Fuller fully discounts this reality, but I think she leans slightly away from it. I'd like to see her embrace God's saving work in very young children more fully. However, this is a doctrinal matter that the reader can work through on their own.
Overall, this is an incredibly wise and beneficial book. I will be returning to it often as I raise my own little man.
4 stars. Highly Recommended.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advance digital copy of this book free from Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”