I was in a cafe the other day and I noticed a mother and son seated. Her son was also on the phone. People were also around.
Suddenly the boy asks: “Mom, what porn should I watch?”
People at the tables around us freeze. They direct their attention to the child’s voice (his voice sounded childish then).
“Well, first of all, you should go for good-quality, professional porn. But you might have to pay for it” she responded. “Most importantly avoid those with violence and pedophilia; they are not good for your karma”
People around were disturbed, women disgusted with the incidence while all I saw was a mother nurturing her twelve-year-old’s comfort with such questions,and building his confidence since he need not be embarrassed!
He doesn’t care if anybody listens to him.
I call that trust.
Maybe she was a single mom, maybe. This was a woman who knew her son, has worked on her son’s trust since his birth, and still continues to do so.
I want my son to look to me for everything therefore I walked up to her and asked her a few questions on how she had earned her son’s trust and here’s what she had to say.
1. Never laugh at your son
For a man, a woman’s mockery is always traumatic. A mother’s mockery is an even deeper wound. It doesn’t matter whether you are laughing at him for putting his pants on the wrong way, for a crooked dog he drew or for confessing his love to the girl next door. Your mockery will be remembered forever! And it will never be forgiven.
2. Always answer his questions
At any age! It should never be “just because” or “you’ll understand when you grow up”. You should also respond to any question that he may ask. You don’t know the answer? Say that you don’t know the answer. Later learn the answer and let him know. Are you embarrassed? Did his question make you blush? Great! Now you can analyse one of your sexual hang-ups. Just don’t try to push them onto the conscience of your child. Say that the question confused you and you need time to think. Simply ask for more time to think about the answer. Kids tend to be nice about that.
3. Ask him for advice when making decisions
You can’t imagine the ease with which your child can deal with something you’ve been battling all year. They can solve any problem! From “what should our house look like” to “I am doing something wrong?”, your kid probably has a good suggestion. That is how a boy learns to be a man, by supporting your decision-making. And in return, you show him your trust and respect.
4. Forget the words «I told you so!»
Even if you already told him, and he didn’t listen, forget this phrase forever. You should not compete with a child in everything. “I told you so” reflects a zero-sum competition in which the mother is happy about her victory. You were right? Keep calm about it. He will come to understand.
5. Praise him
Instead of saying, “good, but this needs to be fixed” just say “Cool!” Your child does everything cool! When he grows up, he will see what should have been fixed.
6. Support his dreams
“I want to be an archaeologist” — cool! Buy books on that topic. Now “I want to be an artist”. Also cool. Buy books on that, too. And then “I want to be an engineer”… Do you get the idea? Good! Believe me, he will only decide what he wants to do for real by his twenties.
7. If your child is crying…
It means something bad happened. Maybe it seems like something petty to you (the kindergarten served awful oatmeal instead of his favorite one), but it could be immense for him. Any problem is immense for him because his world is so small that even oatmeal can pose a threat beyond what he is comfortable dealing with. If a bad thing happened, you should calm him down. No matter how old he is. It’s a rule, a law of your mutual understanding. A child shouldn’t cry disconsolately. Ever.
8. Don’t lecture him
I don’t believe any comments are needed on this one.
9. You are always on his side
Not only in words, but also in your actions. You should never be on the side of teachers that complain about him, never scream at him with other the members of your family. In front of people he is always right. YOUR SON IS ALWAYS RIGHT!