15 Nice Things to Say to Your Grown Son (He’ll Appreciate!)

Not all parents find sharing their affection intuitive. It might be a struggle, and you may be worried that you haven’t been able to communicate just how much your son means to you.

You love your grown son, and you’re proud of who they are and what they’ve achieved, but that love needs to be felt to make a difference. What could you say to make them feel appreciated?

Praise needs to suit the situation, as otherwise, it might come across as empty or patronizing. Make sure any praise you give is earnest – and never make comparisons!

There are a lot of nice things to say to your grown son, but focus on how you want to make them feel. You want them to know that you’re proud of them, that you love them, and that you’ll support their journey no matter what! Acknowledge their worth openly, and don’t ever let them doubt how much they mean to you.

It’s hard to figure out exactly what your grown son needs to hear from you, but thankfully you won’t have to work from scratch. Below are a few nice sentiments a parent can’t go wrong sharing.

How to Show (and Tell!) Your Son That He’s Deeply Loved

A Note: Match the Situation’s Mood (Be Sincere!)

father and son fisting each other

Compliments have to suit the moment to matter – you can’t just throw praise at someone hoping that it’ll be enough. Read the room and consider how they’d like to be acknowledged right now.

Did they get a recent promotion at work? Congratulate them for earning the position!

Has he gotten married? Tell him he’ll be a good husband (and one day, an even better dad!).

Did he cook a fine dinner at your last reunion? Don’t compliment his taste in shoes!

Nice things have to be appropriate to the situation. Praising someone for the sake of it can come across as hollow, and in some tense relationships, you might even be viewed as manipulative. Your grown son wouldn’t feel loved or respected– instead, they’d feel patronized and annoyed!

Another Note: No Comparisons with Others!

Another thing to remember is that comparisons don’t go well with praise. Putting others down will certainly sour the mood – even if you’d only intended to pay your son a compliment. It’s not going to be a very nice thing to say to your grown son!

Think of it this way: you’re showing your son your judgments and taking away from their success. Why can’t they be good on their own – why bring in examples other people set (or failed at)?

They’d also be fair to assume that you’re saying similar things about them behind their back. Even if it’s not true in their case, you’d still be showing that you weren’t above such behavior. Adding comparisons with others won’t ever improve the message you intended to convey.

There might be an exception for comparisons: namely when you’re congratulating your son about how much they’ve grown as a person. It needs to be done carefully though.

It’s nice to hear people recognize your personal improvement, but a degree of tact is needed here. You might accidentally end up putting down their past to praise their present self, which would be a backhanded compliment at best and deeply insulting at worst.

Nice Things to Say to Your Grown Son

  1. Admit That Your World got Better After They Joined It

father nose to nose with son

A lot of people feel that they need to earn their place in the world, and the lack of confirmation can be a big bother for them. They want to know that they made things better for someone and that they managed to add contribute something positive to humanity.

They are your son, and they did just that the moment they were born. Make them feel that.

How to Say It:

“You are the most important person in the world to me.”

“We brought you into the world, but you added so much to ours.”

“The good things in life become greater with you, son.”

“You’ve helped me become a better (father/mother), and I’m grateful to you.”

  1. Reaffirm how Proud of Them You Are

father and son on a couch

Children want to earn their parent’s approval, going about this in a lot of different ways. It doesn’t matter how old they are – the drive for it might wane, but it usually won’t stop altogether.

They want to earn your respect and regard – it’s one of their ways of showing love. In fact, they might even have your approval now, without even knowing it.

Some parents do have a tough time getting that across, so try to say it often enough to dissuade those worries. Have them learn that you are, without a shadow of a doubt, proud of them.

How to Say It:

“You’ve done some amazing things, and you should be proud of how far you’ve come along.”

“If you haven’t heard this from me today, I’m proud of you.”

“You’re setting an amazing example for your friends and family.”

“You’ve exceeded my expectations and beyond – don’t be too hard on yourself.”

  1. Share that You Truly Believe in their Ambitions

People go through a lot of different goals in their life. Maybe your son wanted to be an astronaut one day, but now that he’s all grown up, he’s redirected that passion toward medicine or something else entirely!

Children believe in their dreams, but being able to share that with loved ones is a deep comfort. As a parent, you should try to concretize and validate their enthusiasm. These ambitions deserve to be recognized before they can successfully be realized.

How to Say It:

“Your goals are worthy of you.”

“I want to see you the day you’ve earned your dreams.”

“You’ll find a way to make your dreams happen, one way or another.”

“Nothing and no one will ever stop your ambitions.”

  1. Exercise some Interest in their Hobbies for a Change

father and son looking at an ipad

It’s common for parents to introduce their children to some hobbies they enjoy. They want to share the happiness they find, and it’s an excellent gateway for children to be exposed to new things.

As the child grows, they’ll likely pick up other interests – interests that their parents haven’t taught, and maybe even some interests their parents haven’t even heard about!

You might not be very invested in your grown son’s hobby of choice, but it’s important to them – at least try to keep an open mind. Who knows? You might even pick up a new pastime.

How to Say It:

“Do you want to do (X) together for a bit? I can clear my schedule – just say when!”

“You’ve gotten so good at it, son.”

“What’s got your interest lately? Do you mind teaching me a little bit about it?”

“Are you having fun there?”

  1. Remind them That You’ll Never Stop Supporting Them

Your grown son might feel pressured to make something of themselves independently. That drive is good, but not when it feels like an obligation.

They need to be responsible adults, but your son might be due for a gentle reminder that you’ll still be family – even when he’s living elsewhere!

He deserves to hear that he’ll never stop being your son. He deserves to understand that it doesn’t matter if he has a wife or kids of his own – he’ll still be your child at the end of the day.

Even if they don’t take up your assistance, they’ll be sure to appreciate the intent behind the offer. Small assurances add up, providing a solid foundation for maintaining a good familial relationship.

How to Say It:

“Just say when you need us, and we’ll come running.”

“Your (mother/father) and I will be looking out for you, no matter what.”

“If you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask.”

“You’ll always have a home with us, son.”

  1. Validate their Struggles (Even the Ones You Don’t Understand)

mom hugging son

No matter how much you love your son, you won’t be able to see everything they’re dealing with. Even when you’re aware of their problem, its relevance might not register properly.

This comes due to different learning environments and generational gaps, but we can try to bridge those concerns with some empathy. Understand that they’re affected by things, even if you can’t understand why that’s the case.

Your son needs to know that you won’t judge them for struggling with difficult situations. They need to be reminded that they are allowed to feel what they feel – no justifications are required.

How to Say It:

“You’re allowed to be tired.”

“Failing isn’t always your fault – sometimes, it’s just life.”

“Don’t be afraid to catch your breath.”

“You don’t have to earn the right to care for yourself.”

  1. Promise that You’ll always be Ready to Listen to Them

Sometimes, what people need most won’t be advice, support, or distractions. Sometimes all a person needs is to feel heard. There are certain responsibilities we have to handle on our own, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be alone for it. Be sure your son knows that too! 

How to Say It:

“Don’t be afraid to tell me how your day went – for better or worse!”

“Feel free to speak your mind with me.”

“I’m here if you need to vent. If you need someone else for it, I can call your (mom/dad).”

“I’ll be more than happy to listen, son. You can trust me.”

  1. Insist that They’ve got a Good Heart and Wonderful Soul

father and son taking a selfie

No matter how far they’ve come along in maturity, your son will always be this doe-eyed child who found themselves fascinated by the world.

They might be worried that they’re changing or losing themselves to the stress of adulthood. It’ll mostly be fear speaking – as a parent, it’s your job to assuage them of those scary concerns.

How to Say It:

“You’re still the same person at your core, son.”

“You’ve never stopped being a gentle soul.”

“The world is a better place with your kindness in it.”

“I hope you’re as happy as you’ve made me!”

  1. Keep it Simple: Just Outright Say That You Love Him

It’s easy to get stuck trying to figure out the perfect thing to tell your grown son. Feel free to take some time to gauge the right words for the situation, but don’t overcomplicate things. If you want to show your love, sometimes it’s easier to just spell it out plainly.

“I love you.”

How hard was that? Your goal is to make your grown son feel loved and appreciated. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple – that might just be exactly what your son needs to hear.

Other Nice Things to Say to Your Grown Son

  1. “You’ve grown too big to carry in my arms, but you’ll never outgrow my heart.”
  2. “I pray that one day, you get to give a father’s love to your own child.”
  3. “I might not have been the best parent, but I couldn’t have gotten a more amazing son.”
  4. “You’ve been my firmest rock in life for so many decades.”
  5. “You can change everything about yourself one day, or stay exactly who you are forever, but I will love you regardless – because you’re my awesome son.”
  6. “If you tell me I’m wrong, I promise to hear out why you think that’s the case. I promise to keep an open mind because I love you and respect your judgment.”

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of nice things you can say to your grown son – and they deserve to hear it all! They deserve to feel seen, loved, and appreciated – but communicating that can be tough. Your son might be an adult, but they’ll always be your lovable boy at heart!

Treats and games worked back then, but now that they’re adults your son will want recognition. Acknowledge their efforts, validate their struggles, and support their dreams.

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