How To Tell Your Son ‘I Love You’

It’s been one of those days around here. It’s almost 7 pm, we still haven’t eaten and, as Robert Frost would say, I have miles to go before I sleep. So today, I offer you one of my all-time most popular posts,

14 Ways to Tell Your Son “I Love You”


1. Take him to your favorite restaurant

Not McDonald’s. Not Burger King. Take him to a real, grown-up sit-down place and share a meal. Trust me: he already knows that this is where you take important people.

2. Let him stay up past his bedtime

And do something together. Stare at the stars. Make fudge. Build a model. Being up with Mom or Dad alone in the dark is a powerful memory.

3. Play Risk with him

Or Monopoly. You know – the kind of game you never have time to play. Just get out the dice and roll.

4. Hug & kiss him
 All boys need to be hugged and kissed. Even (or maybe especially) the ones who tell you they don’t.

5. Make his favorite meal

For no apparent reason. He’ll know and appreciate it.

6. Play cars – or dinos or whatever – with him

It’s so hard to find the time to get down on the floor, and so hard to put away your grown-up-sized worries and concerns, but nothing means as much to a boy as playing with him.

7. Don’t complain the next time he comes home muddy

This comes straight from the mouth of my eight-year-old. What more can I say?

8. Watch his favorite movie with him

Pop some popcorn and settle in. His taste in movies probably isn’t exactly the same as yours, but who knows? You might realize you like foreign films.

9. Introduce him to your hobby

Golf, knitting, rock climbing – whatever you do, he knows it’s important to you. Show him the ropes and invite him into your world.

10. Ask him where he’d like to go. Take him.
 But feel free to set boundaries. You might be surprised at where he wants to go.

11. Listen to him

Really listen to him the next time he starts talking about his passion. Ask questions. Challenge him. Show genuine interest.

12. Read him your favorite book.

You know, the one you loved when you were a kid. Tell him why you loved it and read out loud, with enthusiasm. He just may see you in a whole new light.

13. Let him help you

Do laundry. Fix the car. You’ll get to spend time together and he’ll learn new skills.

14. Talk calmly, even when he frustrates you
 Again — straight from the mouth of my eight-year-old. Keeping a level head shows your son that you respect and value him as a person.

The Building Boys Bulletin

The Building Boys Bulletin Newsletter gives you the facts, encouragement, and inspiration you need to help boys thrive. Written by Jennifer L.W. Fink, mom of four sons and author of Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World That Misunderstands Males, Building Boys Bulletin includes:

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“I learned a lot about helping boys thrive over the past 20+ years — most of it the hard way! I’m eager to share what I’ve learned to make your path a little easier.”   – Jennifer

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8 Responses

  1. Love the list! I just finished the 5 love languages of Children because I was feeling overly frustrated with my 3 year olds need to be super physical (hands in your face, spastic “touches” and just overtly physical acts) …and then it dawned on me. His “cup” isn’t filled up with physical touch! Dad is deployed and all that rough-housing takes a backseat (who can throw 38 pound kid around?) Yikes!
    I think tomorrow night will be a movie in bed…and I’ll actually lie there with the older two boys for the whole movie…and be present.
    Thank you!

  2. Oh yes, I so agree with this!!! Just tonight I made my son’s favorite dessert (blackberry cobbler) with berries we had picked over the weekend. He came inside from playing and asked what was in the oven and I told him “it’s just for you” — I got the biggest smile, wink, hug and kiss. Priceless…

    1. I’m right there with you — 4 boys who are loud and mess and chaotic and frustrating at times. (And with 4 in the house, it’s very common that there’s at least 1 frustrating thing going on at every given time.) Sometimes, I need to look at the list again too, to remind myself how easily and simply we can show them our love. It makes a difference!

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