I have a beautiful eleven month old boy. He is my first child; often times I wonder how I will raise him and how that will affect who he will become. Will I be too motherly and coddle him too much? What essential values can I press upon him at a young age? I think most of us mothers-of-little-boys just want our children to grow up to be happy, decent human beings.
We all know the way we raise our children will shape who they are as adults. It’s necessary to raise responsible and self-sufficient people so that when we leave this earth, our sons and daughters can thrive without us. How he is brought up will greatly impact how he views and treats women, his work ethic, his approach to life in general. So how will we raise Mr. Right?
Here are some thoughtful ideas from one mother who is learning as she goes. In no way am I a professional, but I gladly share any positive ideas with mothers who are seeking inspiration.
1. Living in Faith: No matter what your religion is, you must believe in something. Without hope, what reason is there to live? Right?
2. Love and Affection: Hug your son. Kiss him. Tell him you love him. Little boys should feel that they are unconditionally loved and supported by their parents.
3. Manners: Please, May I, Thank you… I sincerely hope common courtesy and manners are not becoming a “lost art”. Etiquette should not be overlooked; they will need to apply what they learn to their lives as adults. Who wants to see anyone chew with their mouth open? Not me.
4. Cleaning: Teach your son to make a bed, scrub a toilet, do a load of laundry. One day he will move out on his own and he will need to know how to do this. He may even impress his future wife with his super cleaning skills he learned from mom! If anything, this will bring more order to your household and alleviate some work for you.
5. Cooking: For the same reasons as above. When they go to college, ordering pizzas and eating take out will get costly after a while. Our sons should know how to cook a healthy meal (or two) on their own. Something beyond eggs & bacon, perhaps?
6. Respect and Humility: Do I really need to delve into why here? This is one of the most important things to teach. It seems children these days feel entitled; as if the world owes them something. We may be able to turn things around with the chance we have been given to raise our boys. We all need a slice of humble pie now and again.
7. Saving Money: In these economic times it may be difficult to get out of debt and stay on top of the bills. My family is living on one (modest) income, and I can definitely relate. Despite your financial situation, it is never too late to teach your son the importance of earning and saving money.
8. Decision Making/Maturity: To be a responsible adult, a future leader of a household, or possibly the CEO of a company, he should be taught how to make wise choices and trust his intuition.
9. Good Listening Skills: His future wife (and teachers) will thank you for this! Let’s raise a considerate, empathetic human being.
10. Having a Positive Mental Attitude: This will get him through every stage of life. Look at the glass half full, for the positive in everything and everyone. He can and will overcome any obstacle in his way with the right attitude.
11. Choosing Friends Wisely: He should know what characteristics are to be valued in people. Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Integrity, Morality… people with these traits should be people he finds himself flocking to. As a young person, you easily become who you hang out with.
12. Reading: In a high-tech world, books may be seen as archaic to some. My son gets read to every night, and will for as long as I can. To teach a child to read is important, but to get him to fall in love with reading, and to have a thirst for knowledge is a great feat.
13. Get Creative: Encourage the left side of his brain. Especially if he may not be the athletic type. If he has an interest or talent for music, arts, crafts, whatever it may be–he should be praised for it.
14. Play outside: Remember the days where we’d play outside until it got dark? Whatever happened to that? Boys are now hiding out in dark rooms playing Call of Duty and we wonder why there’s a childhood obesity epidemic. A little Vitamin D (with SPF 50) never hurt anyone.
15. Anger Management: How he physically responds to emotions, mainly anger, will significantly impact his future relationships. Not to mention, how he treats his wife and children. Start early with this one. Little boys need to know how to get their frustrations out in an appropriate way, to become gentleman.
16. Individuality: Individuality is everything and should be celebrated! He should know it is perfectly alright to be wonderfully unique. That is how we were made.