Parenting boys requires balance, which is why the traditional family structure calls for both a mother and a father. The mom provides things that the dad can’t, and vice versa. But you could argue that a boy’s need for his father is irreplaceable in the sense that there are certain lessons dads should be teaching their sons.
Fathers understand sons in ways that mothers simply can’t. In no way is that a knock on moms—because we’d all be lost without them—but it’s just a simple truth. Fathers know how to prepare their sons for the imminent challenges they’ll face as young men.
As you raise up your teenage son and prepare him for the “real world,” here are some lessons you need to be sure you teach him:
(1) How to Respect Women
Today’s society teaches young boys that women are possessions, not beautiful and intelligent people that deserve respect. This is partly due to the proliferation of pornography that degrades women, as well as the demeaning language that tends to be pervasive in locker rooms, bars, and break rooms around the country. If you leave one lesson with your son, it should be that women aren’t toys – they’re people who need to be treated with respect at all times. The easiest way to do this is through your own words and actions.
(2) How to Care for a Car
On a much less serious note, guys need to know how to care for their cars. There are certainly times that warrant taking a car into a shop and getting a professional to do the work, but knowing how to perform basic tasks like changing tires, replacing air filters, changing oil, and swapping out brake pads should be mandatory for entering adulthood. When your son knows how to care for a car, he also knows how to accurately value cars so that he can get a good deal when buying or selling. This sort of practical knowledge will prove very useful in life.
(3) Understanding the Value of Hard Work
If you do well financially, then your kids have probably never had to worry about where their next meal would come from or if they’ll have presents under the Christmas tree this year. This is great, but you don’t want their privileged childhood to skew their view of how the world works. They need to understand the value of hard work and that things won’t always be “free” to them. Even if money isn’t an issue, find a way to get your son a job during the summer.
(4) How to Deal With Adversity
Finally, every teenage boy needs to know what it looks like to deal with adversity. This isn’t necessarily something you want to force on your child, but don’t always let them take the easy way out of things. It’s okay to let them struggle with something – sports, jobs, household projects, etc. – before offering assistance.
(5) Give Your Son the Start He Needs
Your son will eventually reach an age where he’ll move out of the house and starts his own life. Depending on how old your son is right now, that stage could be just a couple months or years away. It’s imperative that you utilize the time you have to impart the lessons you believe he needs to experience in order to be happy, healthy, and prosperous.
The lessons included in this article only scratch the surface. Think about the things that are important to you – and the things you wish you would’ve known at his age – and work through each of these issues when the time is right.
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