I was inspired after reading a blog to share some of her ideas of what things of importance should be discussed with growing boys. And because I too have procreated and spewed forth (probably not the best way to describe it but whatever) two boys into the world I suppose it's best if I parent them to be contributing members of society or at the very least decent human beings. I continuously feel like I'm participating in an up hill battle with the ex because he's probably not what one might consider the world's best role model. Two steps forward, 3 steps back seems to be my mantra lately when it pertains to the father of my boys.
These are some things that the parents of boys should discuss with their kids. Some of these I've voiced already to my own, and some I really need to get a jump on quickly. I can only hope that in that glazed over look of theirs, they've heard a portion of what I've said to them.
1. Your son should play a sport. Even if it's not the traditional sport in the sense of the word. Being part of team shows him how to work with others and be responsible with time management. In a round about way it's introducing him to work ethic (if he commits to a team he must show up for the game). He'll learn respect for authority (those coaches, refs and umps can be harsh!). Most importantly put him in a sport where there are still wins and losses (these helicopter parents and the "everyone gets a medal" mentality is doing us no favours). Hopefully he'll learn how to lose with style and win with modesty. But most importantly, statistics show that those involved in team sports are less likely to be out causing trouble in the streets. Food for thought.
2. As the male, your son will essentially set the tone for the sexual part of his relationships. He should know it is not his place to take something away from a girl that he doesn't have the power to give back. He should learn to ask himself questions like, is this how I'd want someone to treat my mom or sister? He needs to be aware that his actions have consequences, both good and bad. Teach your son that everyone has a voice, even a mate. Respect in a relationship is critical and starting young will teach him to be an amazing man.
3. A foundation of education can never be taken from him. Being too smart will never be a detriment. He should never want to stop learning. Show him that knowledge is power. Try your best to instill the desire to learn. Show him with education, good things will eventually come his way (even if it's just always winning at mindless bar trivia nights - free drinks and food are an added perk for being smart).
4. Boys are never as particular with their appearance as girls, but he should take pride in his. Personal hygiene is one of the first things girls notice (ya we're vain like that). Start young and teach him how to match clothes, wash his own hair, brush his teeth, etc., and help him understand why he should want to do these things.
5. The art of urination. It is supposed to go in the big porcelain bowl, yup all of it! I suppose there is no real proper way to teach them how to perfectly aim that stuff, but make sure you stay on him until he masters it. Sometimes boys don't understand that it doesn't get cleaned up all by itself. (A mother's work is never done.) Maybe if you make him do it once in a while he'll master the art much more quickly.
6. It's going to prove fruitful if you can teach your son to be a leader, not a follower or bossy. Far more success is accomplished with a good teacher who shows his group how to work together to get the mission accomplished. Peer pressure is less of an issue with a leader than a follower as well. And we all know peer pressure causes poor mom's to lose sleep at night.
7. Learning how to save money is one of the hardest things to do but something that habit is best taught at a young age. Your son needs to understand that saving when he's young is required for him to have money when he's old. It sucks but one day he'll be glad he has those skills.
8. Teach your kid to never be a bully or pick on another human being. But at the same time teach him to stand up for himself, his family and his friends when he needs to. Make sure he knows the difference. I also told my boys I'd have their back every step of the way as long as they weren't the instigators of the fight and they were doing it to protect another person or themself. I have no regrets having said that to this day.
9. How he treats women will be a reflection of what he sees and lives with. Teach him to treat women with kindness and respect. Being alone in life can feel like an eternity, but being with someone you hate or who hates you can feel even longer. Be kind.
10. Teach your son housecleaning skills as soon as you think he's able to not break your washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, toilet brush, etc. In the event that he moves out and gets his own place he needs to know how to keep it clean. And more importantly he needs to want to!
11. There is still no sweeter sound than manners coming out of someone's mouth. Please and thank you still takes you pretty far these days.
12. Fart and poop jokes shouldn't be the only funny thing in his repetoire. Teach him to find humour in lots of other stuff too. There's not much better than a great joke with awesome delivery.
13. Help him understand that a woman can do everything that he can do. This includes, but is not limited, to her having a successful career and him raising the kidlets. Mutual respect in a relationship is key. Everyone has different skills and different roles, embrace them all.
14. Beg him, if need be, to choose his spouse wisely (this is one of my biggest fears when it comes to my boys aging). She will hold the key to how often you are able to spend time with your son and grandchildren. He needs to know it's extremely important to pick a mate that gets along well with his mom (this will lead to a much happier son and mama!).
15. Explain to him that private parts are called that for a reason...Because they're private. Keep the public scratching of said parts to a minimum eh?
16. And last but not least, teach him your phone number and the importance of using it frequently. Somedays you might be missing him more than others and a random phone call is all it may take to make his mom smile. Boys love to make their mom's smile.