The father-son relationship is one of the most important bonds in every man’s life. Whether someone had a strong or non-existent father figure will greatly influence that person’s life.

This situation can put a great deal of pressure on dads. They want to teach and protect, and those two things can sometimes be at odds. The reality is that sometimes your child will have to fail in order to learn.

Here are five things that will help your son grow into a kind and capable man. By instilling ideas and values instead of just teaching skills, you’ll give him a blueprint for life.

1. Teach him to think for himself.

This is one of the hardest because it involves letting go. However, fathers will not be around forever, and they need to make sure that their sons are able to evolve with the times.

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Every father hopes that his son will have similar views and opinions as his own. All dads can really do is teach their sons how to think critically and interpret situations.

Every child is likely to grow up with somewhat different opinions than their fathers. But if you instill your values, they will be on firm footing.

2. Teach him to treat women well.

There is one major way to teach a son how to treat a woman, and that is through your relationship with his mother. How a man treats his wife or son’s mother is viewed from the son’s earliest age. From loving gestures to unpleasant remarks, a son will take in everything his dad does.

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That’s why it’s essential for men to hold themselves to the highest possible standard in front of their sons. Being the man you want your son to see will also make you a better person in general. It’s a win-win.

3. Teach him how to stick up for himself and restrain himself.

These two opposite reactions go hand in hand. Of course, dads need to teach their children how to behave and not overreact to perceived insults or taunts.

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At the same time, children must learn how to stick up for themselves. Teach your son to be firm and direct when it’s called for, and he’ll be able to take care of himself in any situation.

4. Teach him to win and to lose.

Games and sports may seem like a small part of life, but in many ways, they are representative of life as a whole. Sore losers and obnoxious winners often display similar traits when things go good or bad in life, too.

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Teach your son how to be gracious in winning and losing. You can love competition and winning as long as it doesn’t ruin your day when you lose or wreck your personality when you win.

5. Teach him how to live.

Don’t worry about your son mastering every skill before you move on. Just give him a taste of as many new experiences as you can, and let him benefit from the exposure.

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Successfully raising a son means teaching how to cook, clean, dress, and act, as well as hundreds of other skills. However, instilling curiosity and adventurousness will help him master all skills. If he knows how to fail, succeed, be kind, and learn new things, you’ll have done your job.