Raising Boys

Here are 20 basic manners all boys should know.


The following manners are ones that are easy to teach and a great starting point to build on later. Let’s teach our boys to:

  1. Speak slowly, clearly, and graciously when talking to adults.
  2. Always stand when introduced.
  3. Look others in the eye when speaking to them.
  4. Offer a firm handshake to adults. When adults offer you a handshake give one back.
  5. When shaking someone’s hand while being introduced, say, “Nice to meet you.”
  6. Answer when spoken to, even if you are only saying, yes sir! Grunting, mumbling, or offering a wave don’t count.
  7. In most cases, it is appropriate to use “sir” and “ma’am.”
  8. Open the door for women and girls by pulling on the handle and remaining outside of the door. Do not hold the door open by learning on it with your back in the doorway.
  9. Pull out the chair at the dinner table for women and girls.
  10. Help women and girls with their coat – putting it on and taking it off, saying, “May I help you with your coat?”
  11. Allow girls to go first when there is a situation where turns are being taken.
  12. Always take off your baseball hat when praying, eating a meal, or singing the national anthem.
  13. Using basic please and thank you can’t be left off the list.
  14. Try to avoid simple yes and no answers.
  15. Never address an adult using their first name, unless told to.
  16. Compliment the person who made food for you on what they made—always.
  17. Offer your seat to a woman or girl if you have a seat and they are standing.
  18. Excuse yourself from the table to burp, sneeze, blow your nose, or perform some other bodily function.
  19. Ask to be excused at the end of a meal after everyone else is done eating. Asking to be excused in the middle of a meal because you are done is rude.
  20. Offer your coat to a woman or girl if they are cold.IMG_1556.JPG

    25 Things a Dad Should Teach a Boy

    Use this helpful list as a springboard for spending quality time with your sons.

    1. Speak in public—there’s power in the spoken word.

    2. Read good books—leaders are readers.

    3. Play an instrument—especially because of the discipline required.

    4. Play individual, two-person, and team sports.

    5. Build a fire.

    6. Camp out—pitch the tent, cook stuff over the fire, the whole thing.

    7. Carve a turkey.

    8. Light a grill.

    9. Jump start a car.

    10. Tie a knot—such as a bowline, square knot, taut-line, and figure eight, among others.

    11. Use basic tools—hammer, saw, wrench, screwdriver.

    12. Paint a room—trim and all.

    13. Handle a gun and a knife—for safety, protection, sport, and hunting.

    14. Skin an animal.

    15. Be a gentleman—open doors, stand when a woman approaches at dinner, etc.

    16. Grow stuff—and not just a Chia pet.

    17. Iron a shirt—and do laundry and other work around the house in a manly way.

    18. Manage money—keep a balanced checkbook, show generosity, and learn basic saving and investing.

    19. Shake a hand—strong shake (save the tuna for dinner) and look ’em in the eye.

    20. Give a man hug—skip the side hug, and go arms spread eagle with bold back slaps.

    21. Keep vows.

    22. Dress like a gentleman—coordinate pants, shirts, jackets, ties, belts, socks, etc., appropriately to the occasion.

    23. Tip—for example at least 15% for a waiter, $1 for a checked coat, $1 per
    bag for curbside check in at airport, etc.

    24. Serve others—shovel walks, help with heavy loads, etc.

    25. Handle loss—sports and games in preparation for loss in work and relationships.IMG_1613.JPG

Here are the 10 things your growing son needs from his mom

  1. Acknowledge the things he does. Whether he is accomplishing things on his own or following the directions, guidance, or requests that you have given him, acknowledge and affirm his efforts, even if they are not perfect.
  2. Tell him you love him – a lot. Even if he rolls his eyes, blushes, or pushes you off in some way, tell him you love him anyway. He needs it. He also appreciates it, even if he doesn’t say it.
  3. Show him love even when he has pushed you away or has been disobedient– even if he has been majorly disobedient. Remember when I wrote about loving and what happened with my son? You just never know. Don’t live your life with regret.
  4. Reciprocate. This is a hard one for me because my teen son’s timing is so bad. He will come up to hug me when I am in the midst of doing something important, but I know that I need to take the time to reciprocate. If your son hugs you, hug him back. If he compliments you, compliment him back. If he tells you he loves you, reciprocate.
  5. Build him up. Remind him that the things he is doing now are training him for who he will be in the future. Even at the young age of four my son loved hearing how taking out the trash was “boys work” that he will be responsible for in his home where he is the dad someday. As he is doing his laundry or mowing the lawn, remind him that someday his wife will love that he can take care of these things for her.
  6. Be there. Just as with teen girls, when teen boys decide it is time to open up, you will want to drop whatever you are doing and focus on him. Listen to him. Converse with him. Problem solve with him. Encourage him. No matter what you are doing, listen.
  7. Remind him that you are there for him anytime. For my girls this is an invitation that is immediately collected on, but with boys, this is often something that is just an open invitation to be cashed in at a future time. Consistently reminding him that you are there when he needs you will remind him that you can help. He will take you up on it at some point.
  8. Keep things short and sweet. When you need to talk to him, don’t be a woman about it. Be a guy about it. 100 words or less, well, not really, but get to the point and don’t beat around the bush.
  9. Remind, don’t nag. Reminding is a gentle nudge, nagging is a demanding and often demeaning command. Just as we don’t want to hen peck our husbands, we don’t want to hen peck our sons, either.
  10. Give him some freedom. Does it really matter if he wants his hair long while you prefer it short? What if his clothing choices are still respectful but just not what you would choose? Does that matter? His desire to play sports, or not to play sports—does this matter? These are among the questions that you may be needing to ask. Just make sure he has some freedom over his own life.


How can a mom encourage her boys

to seek after God?

Don’t make mama the answer.  When our sons are little, it’s only natural for mom to be their source of wisdom and comfort. But as they get older, we need to encourage them to increasingly go to Christ with their questions and problems. When he’s facing an issue – rather than handing out the answer – challenge him to pray about it and search the Word for himself.

Model what you want for him. Quietly. Be a godly example to him and then invite him to follow. For instance, when our son was about 12 he was invited by his dad to join him for his morning devotions before everyone else got up. It wasn’t something they did together, just side-by-side. Somehow this felt more like a privilege than a burden to our growing man. Not ahave-to, but a get-to occasion. Two men coming together before The Lord in the early hours.

Don’t blink when he stumbles. My inclination is to panic when our son struggles, or even when he falls. But he needs to see that I’ve not lost my confidence in him or the God who holds him. If your son makes a mistake? Don’t condemn and don’t give up. Give him the chance to make it right. Give him the chance to grow.

Talk less and listen more. I think one of my biggest challenges as his mom is to bite my tongue and simply listen. To hold back my fountain of wisdom and hear him out instead.

Fight for him through prayer. I don’t think I really understood “wrestling prayer” until I had a teenaged son. Not that he was so much trouble, but that he faced such intense disappointment, challenges, and temptation. The Enemy seems rather determined to take these young men out – before they ever have a chance to grow strong. So his dad and I have often laid awake at night, agonizing in prayer for him.  We prayed for protection, strength, and courage for him. Still do.




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