16 things I want my son to understand about life

Got some boys under your roof? Chances are when you’re not keeping tabs on their mischief, you’re busy preparing them to be successful, respectful, and loving.

16 things I want my son to understand about life

Got some boys under your roof? Chances are when you’re not keeping tabs on their mischief, you’re busy preparing them to be successful, respectful, and loving.
  • Got some boys under your roof? Chances are when you're not keeping tabs on their mischief; you're busy preparing them to be successful, respectful, contributing members of society. But your best efforts can be undermined by social trends, digital media and the age-old "what everyone else is doing."

  • Think about what you really want your sons to know about life; this is where you can start.

  • Apologizing never shows weakness

  • It's statistically true that women apologize more than men, but it's also true that men have a higher threshold for what they consider offensive, according to Live Science. Teach your son - and more importantly, show him - that when you've done something wrong, "sorry" doesn't mean you're wrong or weak.

  • Learn to clean your bathroom

  • When it comes to cleaning, boys will be boys, but when it's time to head off on their own, boys with dirty bathrooms will just be lonely boys. Teaching your son to clean up after himself will make him a more considerate roommate, boyfriend and husband later on.

  • Don't send inappropriate photos

  • And don't ask for them, either. Sexting might be en vogue with the young crowd. reports 40 percent of teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive messages, but those incriminating photos will likely end up somewhere your son doesn't want them.

  • Video games aren't just about violence

  • So your son might not start a fistfight just because he plays "Call of Duty," but he isn't going to become a rocket scientist or win the Nobel Peace Prize playing those games either. Teach him that video games can be a waste of time - not just because of the violent content. That doesn't mean all boys who play video games are couch potatoes, but encourage him to find other outside hobbies too.

  • Play team sports

  • Your kid might not be that athletic, but if he shows an interest, encourage team sports. Studies show participation in high school athletics is linked with business success later in life. He'll learn leadership, fairness, and he'll recognize how much you love him when you cheer him on.

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  • No means no

  • The situation doesn't matter; when someone tells your son "no," he should know it means just that.

  • Live in the moment

  • According to Pew Research, 88 percent of teens have access to cell phones, and 24 percent "go online almost constantly." Teach your son to live in the moment. Life can be wasted when it's spent virtually. Take advantage of family dinners, vacations, or even small conversations when he gets home from school.

  • Learn to change a tire

  • You never know when your son will need to change his own tire or when the universe will give him an opportunity to do a good deed for someone else. Make sure he knows to be prepared in any situation.

  • Divorce is the pits

  • Teach your sons to take relationships seriously. The American Psychological Association estimate 40 to 50 percent of American couples divorce; so teach them that marriage is a serious commitment. Teach your son to open doors, pay for dinner, and be a true gentleman. Many young boys want to "play the field" and date dozens of girls, but make sure your son has the right goals for his life and family.

  • Bullying makes you look like a loser

  • Whether it's on the playground or on Facebook, your son should know bullying doesn't make him stronger, cooler or smarter - it makes him a coward.

  • Treat your siblings well

  • When life gets tough, your son should know that his siblings are his biggest supporters and cheerleaders. Teach him to make sure he appreciates them.

  • Never get a piercing

  • When your son decides he wants to pierce, well, anything, ask him to find a middle-aged man who doesn't regret putting screws in his earlobes.

  • Don't bathe yourself in cologne

  • If your son's scent precedes his presence, teach him the right way to wear cologne. GQ recommends a squirt on each wrist, followed by a dab on the neck.

  • Be kind

  • Growing up means making mistakes. Teach your son that no matter what choices he makes, he'll never regret being kind. Ever.

  • You can always come to us

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  • Whether he's being bullied at school or just broke up with his college sweetheart, your son should know how much you love him and that he always has a safe place to go.

  • Keeping it to yourself doesn't help either

  • With 43 percent of teens reporting they've experienced cyberbullying, according to Internet Safety 101, it's important to teach your son that he can talk to you about it. Since boys aren't particularly forthcoming with their feelings, the conversation starts with you.

  • For parents who want to stay involved in their child's online activity, WebSafety is the place to go.

  • WebSafety is an app for parents that gives them real-time alerts when signs of bullying, obscenity, or other harmful behavior is detected in their child's life. Parents can gain more awareness of what's going on in their child's life by learning about any bullying or gossiping that happens online.

  • Then, they can start that conversation with their child, whether he's the bully or the one being bullied. To learn more and to download the app visit WebSafety.

Kristen has a journalism degree and has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.


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