50 Ways to Connect with Your Son

Say, “I trust you.”

Meet eyes when you speak.

Say “please” with your requests.

Say “thank you.”

Speak kindly to your son.

Cheer proudly for your kid.

Keep confidence.

Discipline in private.

Let your “no” mean no.

Let your “yes” mean yes.

Ask, “Do you want to talk?”

Listen. Listen. Listen.

Be ready to be there.

Make free time.

Allow mistakes.

Laugh out loud.

Ask, “How can I help you?”

Give and respect privacy.

Welcome your son’s friends.

Say, “I’m proud of you.”

Set boundaries.

Give clear expectations.

Set attainable goals.

Say, “I’m sorry,” and ask forgiveness when wrong.

Tell the truth.

Say, “I don’t know” when you don’t.


Ask, “How do you feel about . . .?”

Be home when they are home.

Give freedom.

Create rules together.

State limits and consequences clearly.

Implement consequences consistently.

Acknowledge feelings.

Ask for ideas and suggestions.

Celebrate success.

Laugh when you are happy.

Cry when you are sad.

Explain why you are angry.

Accept responsibility.

Use a soft voice.

Hug often.

Catch your son being good.

Make “I love you” the last thing you say every night.

Say, “Good morning!” cheerfully every morning.

Stop what you are doing and listen.

Accept no excuses, bargaining, or whining.

Wish your son a “great day” when off to school.

Keep your promises.

Say “I love you.”

Adapted from 
Safe Children and Healthy Families
Susan Orr, Ph.D.
Associate Commissioner
Children’s Bureau
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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