When it comes to grades, sports, manners and overall behavior, Rabbi Shmuley says boys are often criticized instead of complimented by their parents. "This was done to me and to my father before me and to his father before him and to most other men I know," he says. "And, the net result was to break him and stifle their feelings and emotions." If parents want their boys to be well-rounded young men who feel free to be emotionally open with their own spouse and children someday, Rabbi Shmuley says they need to change the way they raise boys. "Let them know they are loved just the way they are," he says.
If you're able to connect to your son and speak to him sincerely about the special man you want him to grow up to be, then Rabbi Shmuley says you will not invite the kind of rebellion that so often is seen with strong-willed children. Also, he says you will help him feel comfortable sharing his feelings with others and cultivating deeper relationships throughout his life. "All kids want is to be loved, valued and special. It is our job as parents to make our boys feel that way so that they won't spend the rest of their lives trying to prove themselves," he says.
"If we are able to connect with our sons and speak to them sincerely about the special men we want them to grow up to be, then we will not invite the kind of rebellion that is so often seen with strong-willed children. All kids want is to be loved, valued and made to feel special. It is our job as parents to make our boys feel that way so that they won't spend the rest of their lives trying to prove themselves to complete strangers."