Being a single mother is a tough job. You constantly go back and forth between acting like a mom and dad. Playing two roles is an even harder task when it involves a boy. We are not men so it’s hard to teach our boys how to be one. Many of us wonder which important lessons we should be focusing on, and which ones we should let them learn on their own. Below are 22 things I think every single mother of boys should teach their sons.
1. To be a kind
This is the second most important lesson you can teach your son. Its not your job to toughen him up. That’s the world’s job and I promise, it will do a good job at it. Teach him to be kind. Kind to people. Kind to animals. Kind to himself. And kind to you. But most importantly teach him to be kind to those weaker than him. Kindness is a strong man’s virtue.
2. To always be a gentleman
In today’s world sometimes acting like a gentleman can be looked upon as sexist. Its not. Start by teaching him to open the car door for you. To hold the elevator. To carry the groceries. Teach him to pick up the check if he can afford it. To buy flowers. To walk a girl on the inside of the street. To give her his coat if she is cold. To get the car while she waits if she is in heals. Being a gentleman NEVER goes out of style.
3. To be selective with his sexual partners
This is probably the hardest lesson to teach a boy these days. Boys are expected to have as much sex and with as many women as they can. Teach your son to be selective. To value his body and his time.
4. To play a sport
Every boy needs to play sports. They need to burn off that energy and they need to learn to compete. Make him pick a sport he enjoys and teach him to focus and better himself.
5. Discipline and self accountability
Teach him discipline and self accountability. To wake up on time. Go to bed on time. Turn his homework on time. Don’t enable his bad behaviors. Don’t let him get away when he does something wrong. Teach him that there are consequences to his actions. Punish him when necessary. There is a difference between raising a man and raising a delinquent.
6. How to throw a punch
Being gentle is a virtue but knowing to defend yourself and others around you is an even better quality. Teach him that there are only three circumstances in life in which he can and SHOULD throw a punch: To defend himself. To defend his lady. And to defend those being physically attacked by bullies, racists and homophobes.
7. To be none of the above
Teach your son from an early age that bullying, homophobia and racism is unacceptable and he will grow up believing it. There is nothing more manly than a man who defends those oppressed by society.
8. When to walk way
As important as it is for him to learn to defend himself, its also important he learns when to walk away from an argument or situation. Either be with you, his wife, his boss or a stranger. Knowing the difference between standing up and walking away is wisdom.
9. How to tie a tie and tie a knot
Both are essential skills. And while you are at it, also teach him to iron his shirts.
10. How to change a tire
If you don’t know how find a friend who does. Teach your son the importance of knowing how to change a tire. One day it might go flat when he is driving that special girl home.
11. How to cook
Cooking is an art. Teach him to be an artist and to never depend on others for his meals.
12. To apologize
He can’t always be right and he needs to learn to apologize when he is wrong. The world is not a kind place to those who are arrogant enough to think they don’t make mistakes.
13. How to drive a stick
Every man needs to learn to drive a stick. Maybe he will always buy automatic cars or maybe he will be into manuals. Either way, teach him to drive both. For both emergencies and self pride.
14. To lose with dignity and win with humility
Sometimes he will win and other times he will lose. Teach him to lose with dignity. Without excuses. Without pity. And to win with humility. No cheating. No making fun of those who lost.
15. To be strong
Its okay to cry. Its okay to feel pain. But every boy needs to learn how to be strong from early age. Teach him to be tough and brave. Teach him to pull his own bandages. To fall and get up without crying. Pain is weakness leaving the body so teach him to endure physical pain with strength. And be there for him when emotional pain brings him to his knees.
16. To drink responsibly
Almost every person drinks alcohol. When he is old enough, teach him the art of alcohol as well as the dangers of it. If you teach him this, the police won’t have to.
17. To never hit a woman
Violence is never okay. A woman should never hit a man and a man should never hit a woman. But teach your son that if he is ever hit by a woman it’s NEVER okay to hit back. Teach him to walk away. Teach him to restrain her kindly. But teach him that he is never allowed to hit her. He is a man. And being a man comes with advantages as well as responsibilities. Never hitting a lady is one of those responsibilities. There is no exception to this rule.
18. To tip
It’s important to learn to appreciate the service others provide us. Teach your son to always tip. And to tip generously. If he can’t afford to tip he shouldn’t be going out.
19. To choose his shoes wisely
Nothing says more about a man than the shoes he wears.
20. How to fix things
Every man should know how to fix things around the house. Teach him how to change the light bulb, to hang frames, to put together furniture, to unclog the drain. Once he learns how to do them, let him do it for you.
21. To dress with class
Teach him to coordinate pants, shirts, jackets, ties, belts, socks, etc., Its important to let him create his own fashion and be his own person but it’s just as important to teach him to dress appropriately to the occasion.
22. To be an exceptional father
This is the most important lesson you can ever teach your son as a single mother. Maybe your son has a good relationship with his father or maybe he has never met him. Either way, teach your son to be an exceptional father. Teach him the responsibilities of fatherhood and that its never EVER okay to abandon his children. The value of a man is not measured by his muscles or paycheck. Its measured by how he cares for his children. Make sure he learns this.