I have two sons, and I will confess that, other than my husband and my father, I’ve never spent a lot of time around men. So, sometimes the way that my boys react to the world is a totally unexpected and alien thing to me. I’ll say what I think is the right thing or do what seems right to me and watch them shut down. Through a marriage retreat a couple of years ago, I was introduced to Emerson Eggerichs concepts of Love & Respect, and as I felt the result in my marriage from internalizing some of his concepts and putting them into play in my marriage, I instinctively knew that there was an application for my children. However, I’ve never been able to quite put into place the balance between giving my sons the respect that they need with my role as a mother, so I was very excited to get the opportunity to read and review Mother & Son: The Respect Effect.
Eggerichs starts by sharing what respect looks like to a boy and how important it is. He tells us that it is our responsibility to see the man in our little boys. This makes sense to me because both my eleven and six year old sons thrive on being capable, making me proud and protecting me. Eggerichs gives moms a guide called “G.U.I.D.E.S” to show the ways that she can infuse her actions and thoughts toward her sons with respect.
Once moms are given ways that they can interact with their sons, Eggerichs spends time developing a boy’s six desires. He calls them “C.H.A.I.R.S.”, which is short for conquest, hierarchy, authority, insight, relationship, and sexuality. The remainder of the book is spent exploring each of these desires in turn and showing ways that moms can give, understand, instruct, discipline, encourage, and make supplication for their sons in each aspect of his six desires. Along the way, there are a lot of practical examples, some scripts to memorize and follow, along with an analysis of what “respect-talk” is and what it is not.
This is a book I don’t mind saying that I needed. I’m real enough to admit that. One of the first things that I put into practice was a little snippet of advice that had been missing in my house for far to long. After I emphasize with my son after he’s had down luck, I leave the room. I don’t allow him to whine to me. I want to treat him like the man he’s becoming, and become a sounding board for whining. This usually means that I should just stay out of the room completely when he’s doing math!! LOL The best thing is that he handles it so much better if I’m not there letting him whine because many of our arguments and my disrespect talk have been activated by not being able to get him to start whining once he starts.
Another little snippet that I’ve put into practice with my eleven year old is remembering to affirm what he says when I’m correcting him for saying it with too much yelling. He occasionally has difficulty yelling at his siblings when he gets frustrated at them or knows that they are disobeying me. I get it. I yell when I feel powerless too. I’ve learned to be able to tell him that I get that sometimes he’s right, and I don’t even acknowledge that because I’m so busy correcting his yelling.
And that’s just two snippets of many things I want to put in practice from this book. It’s a book that I’ll be reading again and as I need advice going forward. It’s full of great details for practical advice, but it’s also a firm reminder of the fact that I can correct and instruct in a way that is affirming and respectful of my sons. I don’t want to ever be in the position that my sons can say that “My Mom loves me, but she doesn’t respect me.” I want to be able to give them what they need, and this is a very helpful and eye-opening book for helping me to do that.
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