EDMOND — An author and ministry leader with two sons said she grew up in a “girlie world” with five sisters and a much younger brother and knew little about raising boys.
“For me who grew up in a girlie world it was a big learning curve to be a mother to boys,” Cheri Fuller, of Edmond, said recently.
“I had not been through the things that my sons were going through. Boys have boy energy and they have adventure needs we don't have,” she said.
Fuller said her new book “What a Son Needs From his Mom” (Bethany House, $12.99) is designed to help mothers understand their role in guiding their boys to manhood — whether they grew up surrounded by girls as she did or if they just seek wisdom on raising sons.
She said the insights that she gleaned as the mother of her sons Justin, 41, and Chris, 38, inspired her to write her latest book, plus she wanted to be helpful to other mothers.
“This is a way to share what makes boys and young men tick and how to become a welcome and warm influence at every stage of their life,” she said.
Fuller, a former Oklahoma Mother of the Year, author of “When Mothers Pray” and founder of the Redeeming the Family prison ministry, said the book is designed for mothers of sons of any age, from very young all the way to adulthood.
The big picture
“It gives moms a very big picture of this whole journey and what it's about: we're preparing the kite for the flight,” she said. “We're preparing for them to leave us — not to hang on. We want to help them develop confidence and become independent.”
Fuller said she has met many mothers who feel inadequate raising boys because they feel like “this isn't my territory.”
“They had several girls and then they were surprised by a boy,” she said, chuckling. “But it's very rewarding. I wanted moms to know they can have an indelible influence on their son's lives. Yes, boys need their dads to model masculinity, but the mother contributes so much and each chapter talks about a different need that a mother fills for her son. She is his greatest encourager, his confidence builder.”
Fuller said chapters include ways to be a better listener and communicator, how to develop a boy's character, how to nurture his face, help him mange his emotions and build his confidence.
Fuller said a key part of helping to build his confidence is learning to accept that he will make mistakes.
“It's important not to be too critical when our sons make mistakes because when we're critical on a regular basis, they grow up to feel inadequate and are not confident. If we are very overprotective, they grow up feeling very needy and dependent and we don't want that,” she said. “It's about balance.”
She said the book includes experiences from her own life as a mom of boys (she and her husband, Holmes, also have one daughter, Alison Plum) and grandmother of three boys, as well as interviews with other mothers of sons and even sons themselves.
“I do share some stories from my own life, but I have stories about a lot of other mothers throughout the book because there's so much we can learn from each other. I think this enriches the book,” she said.
Fuller said she also gleaned helpful information when she interviewed sons about their mothers. For instance, she said fourth- and fifth-grade boys told her they felt their mothers weren't listening to them when the women spent a lot of time on their smartphone or iPad.
“They begin to feel your Facebook friends are more important than listening to them. They feel we are so distracted that we are not tuned in,” she said.
Most importantly, Fuller said faith should play a key role in developing healthy sons just as much as meeting their other needs.
“We can have great influence on our children through our prayers,” she said. “Instead of being anxious about every single thing, we can weave prayer into our daily lives and praying for our sons. There are going to be things in every son's life that we feel like are out of our control, things that are anxiety producing.”
She said she is very proud of both her sons who are now parents themselves. She said Justin lives in the metro area while Chris lives in the Dallas area.
Fuller said parents have a huge task in raising children in today's society and she hopes her book will help in some way.
“I think it's a challenging time to be parenting today so I hope that this is going to be encouraging to mothers,” she said.