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Raising a son is one of the greatest jobs that you will ever have in life. And as a mother, I love watching my sons grow into the best version of themselves.

One aspect of this is raising them to be strong, loving, and empathetic people, so that we can set the stage for a better world. While it might seem like a tough job, someone has got to do it. Even better, while you cannot guarantee who your son will become, you can most definitely instill the right values in them to help guide them along in the right direction and help them become the best man they can be.

Here are 8 ways you can instill the right values in your son to help encourage him to grow into a strong, brave, empathetic, and loving man.

1. Teach him the importance of unconditional love.

Unconditional love is extremely important, for everyone. And the best way to teach it is to demonstrate it, by loving him unconditionally. Unconditional love is accepting him for who he is, holding space for who he will become, and loving him through all of the tough spots. Make sure he always knows he can come to you, no matter what, and be welcomed with open arms. Even when he isn’t perfect.

2. Show him it’s okay to admit you are wrong.

When you make a mistake, admit it to him. Make sure that he understands that we are all wrong sometimes and that it’s okay. But emphasize how important it is to be humble enough to say, “Hey, I was wrong. I messed up.”

3. Teach him to take responsibility for his actions, right or wrong.

Always, always push him to take responsibility for his actions. Not just when he does something right but also when he does wrong.

4. Allow him to feel his emotions and help him to manage them.

When he comes to you crying, don’t tell him to stop. Don’t tell him he’s acting like a girl or to man up. Instead, give him love and affection. Be empathetic. And teach him how to manage those difficult emotions.

5. Teach him boundaries.

Boundaries are so important. Not just the boundaries that you teach him to instill with others, but the boundaries you have with him. Having boundaries and knowing when to say no to him is what will teach him how to create limits with other people.

6. Show him that respect is important.

Emphasize how important it is to have respect for others. Teach him this by being respectful to him. And by being respectful to others. And if you ever notice him being disrespectful, call him out and then, explain in detail why respect is important.

7. Teach him about healthy competition versus unhealthy.

There is nothing wrong with a man being competitive. A healthy sense of competition will push them to be motivated toward their goals in life. But, there is a difference between unhealthy competition and healthy. Unhealthy competitiveness is when someone becomes jealous and even obsessed with winning or outdoing others, to the point of becoming consumed by it. Most people who are sore losers weren’t taught healthy competition. So, instill what it means to be a healthy sense of rivalry and competition.

8. Show him how to be a gentleman.

Teach him how to be a gentleman. Do this, by encouraging him to help others. Show him respect by displaying respect and teach him the basic rules of chivalry. There’s nothing wrong with a young man opening doors for others, or treating others gently and kindly and with respect.