Mothers and their sons have a special bond, and your bond with your little man probably formed the second he wrapped his tiny newborn hand around your finger. The relationship you have with your son while he’s a toddler and preschooler helps set the stage for the relationship you’ll have as he grows up and leaves home. He might not leap into your arms when you pick him from preschool anymore, but that bond will still be there and it’ll still be one of the best parts of being his mom.
Prevents Behavior Problems
When you son is at the toddler or preschool age, it’s hard to imagine what he’ll be like when he’s a teenager. The relationship you form with your son during these early years can impact how likely he is to get into trouble or engage in risky behavior as he gets older. A 2011 study from Wayne State University suggests that engaging in high levels of conflict when your son is little increases his risk of behavior problems as he reaches his teen years. A close relationship that allows your son to express his opinions and enables you to validate his feelings, good or bad, is one key to a bond that lowers his risk of issues as he gets older. Listening to your son and considering his ideas is one way to build that bond because he’ll feel safe coming to you when he’s upset.
Encourages Emotional Development
Having a close relationship with your little boy as he grows into a toddler and preschooler can encourage healthy emotional development. A 2010 study from the University of Reading found that boys who have insecure attachments to their mothers are more likely to have behavior problems as they get older. A poor relationship with your son can cause him to lash out with bad behavior, such as hitting, biting or calling names, because he doesn’t know how to deal with his emotions. When you parent your little man with compassion, he’s more likely to develop healthy ways to deal with his emotions that don’t include physical or verbal violence.
A healthy bond with your son helps build his self-esteem. Boys who don’t have a mother they can turn to when they’re frustrated or angry experience a lower self-esteem than boys who have a mom they trust with their feelings. No, having a close relationship with your son doesn’t cause homosexuality, notes Kate Stone Lombardi, author of “The Mama’s Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger.” You might be laughing, or blushing, but this is a real concern that holds moms back from forming a strong bond with their sons. Rest assured that, in fact, the opposite is true. When boys have a strong relationship with their moms, they are more likely to be comfortable in their masculinity and in their personality. This gives them the confidence to try new things and take risks, always knowing that mom has their back.
One of the best ways to build a strong mother-son relationship is to spend time with your little guy. Get down on the floor and drive cars or put on capes and pretend to be superheroes. Listen to your son when he comes to you with his toddler and preschool-aged complaints. Just hearing what’s bothering him and responding with compassion goes a long way toward building his emotional development. Don’t hold back on the hugs and kisses. Let him know how much you love him, and chances are, he’ll grow into a strong, independent and compassionate man who still comes to with his problems because he knows he can trust you.