His First Model for Intimacy and Love

By Megan


“If a mother is the main caregiver, a boy will see her as his first model for intimacy and love. From toddlerhood on, if she sets limits with her son firmly, but without hitting or shaming him, he will take this in stride. He will want to please her, and he will be easier to manage because the attachment is strong. He knows he has a special place in her heart.”

Steve Biddulph, in Raising Boys: Why Boys are Different – And How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-Balanced Men

I have a son, I still often gasp to myself, even as February marks the halfway point in our little man’s second year. And I’ve been pondering since the day we found out he was a he exactly what it means to be the mother of a son. What I’ve learned so far is that a boy is distinctly yet mysteriously male to his mother from the first moment she takes him into her arms, and that although his masculinity may defy definition beyond the very obvious for some time to come, she will sense it in him, take pride in it, bask in it, cherish it and have her heart melted by it in every interaction with him.

I don’t exactly get it, but oh, how I love it!

I have such a strong, earnest and increasingly urgent need to begin understanding and nurturing this tiny but solid and vital little soul in a way that respects and values and encourages the parts of him that make him BOYISH – for already he is so boyish! And there are a thousand caveats that go along with a statement like that, a thousand reasons not to build my entire approach to mothering him on a tiny Y, a thousand defenses and explanations and except thats. If you’ll permit me, I’m not going to enumerate those. I’m going to trust you to understand that I know much of parenting my two kids will be the same, and as well, much of it will be different based on their personalities, not their genders. Those truths aside, I’m going to assert that boys and girls ARE different, and then share with you that I’m very excited to stretch my maternal soul to meet my boy in areas I’ve never been before.

But first I need to learn where those places are and how to get there.

To that end, I’ve got a short list of a few books on the subject of raising boys that I’m going to be reading over the next few months and from which I’ll hopefully be able to share what I learn here. The book I’ve exerpted above is the first of three I’ve selected so far. I’ve made it about a third of the way through, and already I’m feeling enlightened and joyous about this little person God has chosen Al and me to parent.

Steve Biddulph’s book absolutely celebrates the physiology and nature of boyhood as it progresses through three chronological phases, and the practical, straight-forward advice he shares for parents with boys in each phase encourages proactivity with a spirit of acceptance, humor and joy. I’m turning the last page of each chapter feeling more and more informed about and delighted with this incredible gift God has bestowed on us – our little boy.

I have a SON!

Megan also blogs at FriedOkra.

4 Responses to His First Model for Intimacy and Love
  1. Stephanie
    March 1, 2010 | 10:15 am

    Wow. Precious. And I need this book.


  2. Kelly
    March 1, 2010 | 1:50 pm

    I’ll have to check out that book as well.

    I remember being pregnant with Connor and confessing to a friend that I had no idea how to “do boy.” She advised that I read “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge, which was fairly new at the time. It was so enlightening for me.

  3. Hannah
    March 2, 2010 | 12:06 am

    You are really on a roll with the great book recommendations! 🙂

  4. edj
    March 4, 2010 | 5:55 pm

    Huh. I have b/g twins, and by 8 months they were showing gender differences although I was parenting them exactly the same! I even put the girl in overalls! You can’t tell me it’s not inate.
    I love having boys.

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