By Vicki Little
Raising a son is a beautiful privilege. It can also be a messy, smelly, loud and boisterous experience! When our boys are little it is so easy to get caught up in their cuteness that we don’t want to think about them growing up and leaving home. But one day they will, and hopefully they will become upstanding members of the community and wonderful husbands and fathers. As moms it is our job to get them there, but that path can be confusing. However, there are some basic things every mom should teach her son.
1. How to be chivalrous and respectful towards women. Although it seems that these two things go together easily — sometimes they don’t. Finding this balance and making it a habit will help that sweet son grow into quite the gentleman — one that will hopefully keep this habit even when the honeymoon is over.
2. Take care of and clean up after yourself. Ladies nights are often filled with banter about how similar households can be. Wives half-halfheartedly giggle as they bond over the shared frustration of dishes left in the sink and socks next to the hamper. Start early and do a favor for your future daughter-in-law. Make it a habit for your son to pick up after himself.
3. Never let a girl come between you and your best friend. Especially during your son’s younger years, girls will come and go, but their closest friends will stick by your son through life’s journeys. One day, your son will know who he is truly meant to be with — and even then, he will still need his best friends. Show your son that special friends are like family. They should be treated as such, and nobody should diminish their role.
4. If someone tries to change you, they do not deserve your time or effort. Whether it be a girlfriend, a buddy, a roommate or whomever — if someone doesn’t like your son for who he is, they are never going to. And if he tries to change, he won’t be happy anyway because he isn’t being true to himself.
5. How and when to offer a firm handshake and to always look someone in the eye. These two mannerisms are very important for earning respect, applying for a job, and showing respect. It is also important to offer a handshake and a congratulations to an opponent when they lose.
6. That it is OK not to be strong ALL the time. Sometimes life is just plain hard, and no one should have to conquer those hard times alone. Learning early on that it is okay to break down now and again will help them avoid bottling things up inside later.
7. No means NO. But sometimes “nothing” means “yes something is wrong.” No matter who it is, if someone says “no, ” it means no. No they don’t want to go further, no they don’t want to take that dare, no they don’t want a beer, no they aren’t OK. If someone says “no, ” that answer should be respected and not pushed. If they ask, “What is wrong?” and the answer is “nothing” … well, then, maybe something is wrong. Usually there is a reason that question is asked in the first place, so going back to figure out what may be bugging their friend or significant other will be worth it.
8. Walking away from doing something wrong is not being a coward — it is being a man. Agreeing to go along with the crowd is far from cool. It will be the hardest thing he will ever have to do, and he will be tested many times. If his friends can’t understand this, they weren’t true friends in the first place.
9. Never kiss and tell. Period. What he does with someone else is no one else’s business and bragging about it is not only unseemly, it could also put him in hot water.
10. If you make a mistake, own it. This is one of the biggest lessons everyone should learn. If you make a mistake, own up to it and apologize for it! Don’t pass the blame, don’t try to hide it, just own it. Then learn from it and move on.
11. Family comes first — always. As with everything we teach our kids, this one should be taught by example. When we are old and gray, we won’t wish we spent more time at work or with the people we once knew for a brief season in life long ago. We will wish for more time with our loved ones who are with us for life.
12. It is OK to come to us for advice, questions, or just because. Don’t laugh at the small problems because they will soon turn into big ones, and we should be available for both the good and the bad. Be honest, but not harsh, in your answers and advice, and pick your battles. Our sons will only come to us if we make them feel that our arms are safe and comforting.
What would you add to this list?
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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