I grew up with one sister. No brothers. My sister and I were pretty typical little girls. We liked to dress up, play with Barbies, read our books, and engage in other calm, quiet activities. I knew about girls. I didn’t know much about boys.
And then I married the ultimate manly man. A hunting, shooting, outdoorsy, work-with-his-hands, bearded manly man. It was a bit of a shock to my system.
When we were pregnant with our first child and we found out it was a boy, Levon encouraged me to learn more about the world of boys. He was concerned (and justifiably so) that I might not understand his “boy-ness” and try to parent him as I would a girl. I had watched other little boys and often remarked at how “wild” they were and how “my sons would never act like that.”
Then we had Aidan. And it didn’t take long before I recognized that he was not like me. And I needed to learn about this new world of adventure, conquering, and so. much. noise.
As of right now, I am the mom of two boys. And I have now read five books specifically geared towards moms (or parents) of boys. Three of them I absolutely loved and wholeheartedly encourage every mom of boys to read. Two of them, however, were highly recommended but ultimately fell short of my expectations.
Take a look and decide for yourselves, but I know you’ll walk away with at least one book to add to your reading list.
**Links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that if you click that link and purchase the product, I may receive a small compensation. I am, however, committed to honestly assessing the products mentioned. Please read my disclosure policy for more details. **
5 Books for Moms of Sons
Mother & Son: The Respect Effect | Emerson Eggerichs
I’ve read several books about raising sons now, but Dr. Eggerichs’ Mother & Son is still my favorite. It’s the book on this list with the most eye-opening information, and the one I found most helpful. Mostly because, had I not read this book, I would have done a number of things wrong in my parenting of my sons.
I’ve read a lot of books on marriage that have taught me about the inner working of my husband and his need for respect. But I never really thought about my sons needing the same. Or that how I naturally relate to them might frustrate that God-given need.
Dr. Eggerichs has helped millions of marriages with his book, Love & Respect, and I am so thankful that he noticed the need for this follow-up book for mothers and sons. It is a much-needed book, and I am so glad I read it while my boys were very little. It is a book that I will read many times over as they grow.
Moms Raising Sons to Be Men | Rhonda Stoppe
I first heard of Rhonda and this book from her interview on The Simply Joyful Podcast with Kristi Clover. After listening to her hour interview, I promptly ordered the book. I knew I had to hear more.
I loved this book. It was more than just a list of reasons sons are different than daughters — I had quickly figured that out! It wasn’t just a manual on how to take care of boys. It was a call to action to raise our sons with their future in mind. To envision them as men as we take care of them as boys. To mold them into the kind of men God has called them to be.
This book so inspired me to see past the repetition, the mundane, and the exhausting work of parenting, and to keep the end goal in mind. To do better than “surviving” or “getting through it,” but rather to use even the smallest tasks and everyday moments to do what God has called me to do in motherhood.
But this is not just an abstract, “sounds-good-but-how-do-I-do-that” kind of book, as some can be. This book is FULL of practical tips and Biblical wisdom that is rooted in Scripture and experience. And every chapter ends with time in God’s Word, questions to help you internalize the information, and practical steps to put it in to action.
Next to Mother & Son, this is the next book I would recommend all moms of sons read.
Get your copy of Moms Raising Sons to Be Men
Raising Men, Not Boys | Mike Fabarez
This is the most recent book on raising sons that I have read. It was very similar in subject and scope as Moms Raising Sons to Be Men, but I don’t think you can read too much about that. Plus, this book was written by a man to both moms and dads, so it offered a slightly different perspective.
I loved everything about this book. Like the previous book I mentioned, he encourages parents to “approach each day with their son in light of his future.” The subtitle says, “Shepherding Your Sons to Be Men of God,” and shepherding is the perfect term for the parenting he endorses. He doesn’t promote an overly authoritarian, dictator style, and in fact puts as much responsibility on the parents to exhibit the kind of character they wish to see as he does on the sons. But he also stresses the importance of firmly and resolutely correcting our sons and directing them down the path of Godly manhood.
This book covers an impressive range of topics, including physical activity, work ethic and responsibility, encounters with the opposite sex, the teen years, rebellious hearts, and finances. It also teaches parents how to create a home environment that builds Godly men, lead by example, and discipline effectively. Like Rhonda’s book, it was both highly motivating and highly informative.
I very much enjoyed his writing, as well. He struck a perfect balance between strong imperatives and understanding encouragement. He wasn’t afraid to push parents and say the tough things, but it never came across as judgmental. I never felt beat over the head or condemned … just motivated.
This is a book I will want to read more than once. It’s not a very long book, but it packs a powerful punch in a relatively short package. There is so much wisdom to be gleaned in it, and though I kept a running list of favorite quotes (my standard practice with any book I read), I know one reading won’t do it justice.
**Note: I received a free copy to review from Moody Publishing, but my opinions and decision to include it in this list were completely my own. If I hadn’t liked it, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you, as you’ll soon find out!
Bringing Up Boys | Dr. James Dobson
This book is a classic, and I know several moms who found it extremely helpful in raising their boys. However, I have to say, I didn’t love it.
The insights into boys’ minds and physiology were helpful, and I did learn a lot from the chapter about boys in school. I also liked the emphasis on allowing boys to be boys while training them to be men of character.
But on the whole, I found this one to be unremarkable, especially compared the the three I’ve already discussed.
Strong Mothers, Strong Sons | Dr. Meg Meeker, M.D.
This was the other book that I wanted to love … but just didn’t. Not as much as I had hoped, anyway. The first few chapters were a bit slow and dense, and it got a bit repetitive after awhile. However, it was highly informative, and provided me with a lot of practical advice for raising my sons from a woman who has not only raised her own, but helped thousands of other women do the same. Overall, though it wasn’t my favorite book on sons, I did find enough redeeming qualities to deem it worth the read.
For more details on what I liked and didn’t like about the book, you can read my full review here.
People can say what they want about boys and girls being no different, but as someone who grew up as a little girl with a sister, I can assure you, the world of boys is a very different one than the world of girls. When I first arrived, it was a very foreign land – new territory, new customs, new languages – but thanks to the books on my list and a few years of experience, it’s becoming more comfortable and familiar to me all the time. I now consider it “home.”
If you’re a mom of boys, I would highly encourage you to read any of the first three books on my list. I know they will motivate you, inform you, and equip you to carry out this awesome responsibility God has given you as the mom of boys. (And keep an open mind about the other two books — those are just my opinions, and one man’s nay is another man’s yay!)
Your turn! Have you read any great books for moms of boys? What were your favorites – I would love some new ones to add to my list!
You Might Also Enjoy:
- 5 Books Every Mom Should Read
- 5 of the Best Books to Fortify Your Marriage
- My Top 5 Favorite Books for Women
- 3 Books That Changed Me This Month