I just read a blog post that might be the best piece of writing since Grapes of Wrath. While this post applies to all mothers, it’s especially apropos for mothers of boys. My daughter constantly is lecturing my younger son on how not to be a d-bag. It’s quite entertaining to hear, but I think the advice she offers her brother is summed up in this post. So, my fellow parents of teens, I hope you heed the advice that this mother of four boys, Kristen Thompson-Riley shares. I know I’m going to take it to heart.
How Not to Raise Total A$$holes
Being the mom of 4 boys is not without its challenges.Understatement of the century! Every parent says they wish they had a handbook for these male beings that possess our hearts, yet test our patience daily. How in the world will we make it through childhood and teen years without raising a serial killer? Wait….you never asked yourself that question?
Well then, maybe you need to be writing this blog.
- Teach them manners. There is a lot to be said for not just for saying “please” but also in my house, “ma’am” and “sir”. It was how I was raised and how I expect my kids to respond. I have to admit it makes me feel old when I hear another kid refer to me as “ma’am”. I have a moment of turning around looking for an old lady, followed immediately by “What a nice boy”. If my kid offends you by responding to you with “yes ma’am”, blame me. Kids should at least know the basics of “please, thank you, and excuse me” even if “ma’am and sir” aren’t your parenting cup-o-tea.
- Teach them to look up when someone is talking to them. Be engaged. My 3 younger boys struggle with this ALL THE TIME. Whether it’s a boy trait, an inherited response (I was a very shy kid), and/or social anxiety of some sort, it’s something we continue to work on. Realize this starts with you, the parent. When they speak to you, be engaged. Show them the same respect you ask of them.
- Explain to them when receiving a compliment, to always say “thank you”. If someone goes out of their way to praise my son, he needs to acknowledge their words in appreciation with a simple “thank you”. I’ve seen my kids turn away in embarrassment/shyness/stupidity when receiving a compliment. Then I realized I had dropped the ball on something very simple in explaining the importance of acknowledgement and appreciation. Recently my youngest son has smartassedly started saying “I know” when someone compliments him. At this point I want to throw in the towel as a parent and crawl in a hole but instead we are now working on #4.
- Teach them not to be cocky. To my boys; you aren’t the greatest thing since sliced bread. Granted, I think you’re awesome, but it’s because I have to. Others may not think you’re all that and a bag of chips. Like most parents, I am proud of my boys. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t lazy, sloppy, moody, pains in the neck too. You wanna be cocky? Scrub your toilet, take the dog out in 9 degree weather every morning, empty the dishwasher & refill it, vacuum the basement, iron your clothes (all without being asked), make 100’s on everything, volunteer every hour you’d rather be playing Xbox, save all your birthday money to buy your first car, and use your manners 100% of the time. THEN you can puff out your chest, mister. In the meantime, it’s my job as your mom to bring you back to reality.
- Help build their confidence. (not to be confused with #4) It’s hard as a parent to instill self-confidence in your son, especially as a mom because, remember, they go through the “Mom doesn’t know anything” phase. Encourage your kids daily even if you think they aren’t listening. They are. Help them set realistic goals that they can achieve. Praise them when they do something well, yet give encouragement when they fail. Help them to focus on their strengths. Even work on the siblings to help out in this department, too. I’ve found my eldest son’s encouragement and praise goes a long way with his younger brothers.
Click here to read 11 more tips. I like #16 the best!