8 Things Every Dad Should Teach His Son
How to Be a Good Son
It’s not always easy to be a good son. Sometimes, you’ve made a mistake and can’t find a way to fix it. Other times, you fundamentally disagree with your parents and don’t know how to approach them without starting a fight. The most important thing to remember is that, while being a son has its challenges, so does parenthood, and the best thing you can do is to give your parents your love and support. At the end of the day, the thing that will please your parents the most is to see their son growing into a happy, responsible adult.
Showing Your Love
Spend time with your parents.One of the best ways to show your parents how much you love them is to simply spend time with them. Though you may feel like you have a lot going on, between school, friends, and your personal life, you should always spend quality time with your parents as often as you can. This can mean having dinner with them every night, having family board game night, watching TV with your folks, or just hanging out around the house instead of running off to hang out with your friends. You’ll never know how much the time you spend with your parents means to them.Moms especially love it when their son will love them.
- When you do spend time with them, don’t roll your eyes or act like it’s mandatory. Instead, you should look forward to the special time you have together.
- Have routine nights where you spend time together, such as Sundays or Monday evenings, so you don’t have to try to work the time into your busy schedule.
Tell your parents what’s going on in your life.Your parents love you and want to know what’s going on in your life. While they may not need to know all of the daily friend drama in your social circle or the ins and outs of the baseball game you saw with your friends, they would love to know what’s on your mind, from your struggles with your studies to any big problems you’re having with your friends. They really do care, and even if they can’t always help, they’d just like to know what’s happening. Your parents will feel upset if they’re completely shut out of your life.
- Try to leave your bedroom door open as often as you can, so you welcome your parents in to have a conversation with you when they want to. Don’t make them feel like you want nothing to do with them.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for their advice. Believe it or not, your parents were once your age, and they’ve gone through the same struggles that you’re going through. They’ll appreciate that you value their opinions, and you may learn a lot in the process.
Express gratitude.It’s easy to take your parents for granted. After all, there was a time when they did absolutely everything for you, from bathing you to keeping you fed and well-rested. As you grow older, it can feel natural for you to forget the fact that it takes your parents time and effort to take care of you, and you have to remember to thank them for all that they do. Whether you verbally say “thank you” every time your parents do something kind for you, write them thank you cards or letters, call them, or do them favors in return, it’s important to let your parents know how much you appreciate them.
- Don’t think that it’s pointless for you to write your parents a card or a letter just because you live in the same house. They’ll love the gesture.
- When you say “thank you,” look into your parents’ eyes to show that you really mean it and that you’re not just saying it because you feel obligated to say it.
Teach your parents things.Your parents may not be incredibly tech savvy and may not know some of the things going on in the modern world. If your mom wants to know how to work her new iPhone or your dad wants to start a Facebook account, be there to help your parents learn how to navigate some of these modern challenges. Try not to laugh at them or make them feel inadequate for not knowing these things, and instead, be there to help them learn new skills, remembering all the times they have taught you how to do something.
- Teaching them things will make your relationship feel less one-sided. You won’t feel like you always have to learn from them, and your time together may feel more interesting.
- When you do help them, don’t sigh or complain about it, and show them that you’re happy to help out.
Do bonding activities with both of your parents.In addition to spending quality time with your parents around the house, you can also show you care by doing a variety of bonding activities with your parents. These can include going fishing, hiking, or camping with your dad, or going for walks, going out to the movies, or having a nice meal with your mother. Don’t think that all son activities have to be done with your father, and make sure you spend an equal amount of time bonding with your mom, whether you’re cooking, walking your dog together, or spending an afternoon at the library with her.
- Go on a camping trip with your family a few times a year.
- Spend the holiday season cooking together.
- Do a housework project with your mom or dad, such as tiling floors, glazing furniture, or even building a bookshelf.
- Find a TV show that you and your parents can watch and enjoy together and make it part of your weekly routine.
- Try volunteering at a local park or library with your parents.
- Go to watch your favorite sports team with your mom or dad.
Don’t turn your parents against each other.If you want to be a good son, then you should help keep your parents’ relationship strong (if your parents are still together). Relationships are difficult enough as it is, and you shouldn’t try to drive a wedge between your parents. Accept your parents’ rules as a unified mandate, instead of trying to get the more lenient parents to let you get what you want. Work to keep their relationship strong; if nothing else, it’ll make you happier to see your parents happy together.
- If you tell your mom, “But dad says it’s okay!” when she won’t let you do something, then you’re only creating friction between your parents by pitting them against each other.
Take the time to listen.You may think that your relationship with your parents is one-sided, and that they should listen to you and your problems and offer advice and then call it a day. In fact, sometimes your parents may also need you to listen to them, whether they’re struggling with one of your siblings or having a difficult time at work or with your grandparents. They may not even have a problem, but may just want to share something interesting that happened at work or something they read. The important thing is that you’re there to listen instead of acting like you’re too busy or only half-listening and checking your phone every five minutes. Give them the time they need to tell you what’s on their mind; they more than deserve it.
- When your parents are talking to you, give them your full attention. Don’t shift around on your feet or look longingly towards your bedroom. Don’t ever make them feel like you have better things to do than to talk to them.
Developing Strong Character
Help out around the house without being asked.You may have a set list of chores to do or there may just be a general understanding that you will help your parents out when they need it. Whatever the rules are in your own household, you should take the initiative and help out your folks even before they ask for it. Whether this means washing your dishes, doing your own laundry, mowing the lawn, or picking up groceries, you should make a point of helping out without being forced to or without expecting a reward, because that is one of your duties as a son.
- The least you can do is to always clean up after yourself, whether this means doing your own laundry or dishes or keeping your room clean. But after that, you should go above and beyond and help scrub the bathroom floor, take out the trash, or even clean out the fridge.
Do as well in school as you can.Your parents don’t expect you to be a rocket scientist or to get into Harvard. However, they would be happy if you respected your teachers, did your homework, and kept your grades up to the best of your ability. If you need help in school, ask your teachers or your parents for help, and make studying a priority over socializing. Not only will this set you on a path to succeed in your future endeavors, but it will also make life much easier for your parents.
- The best you can do is to respect your learning institution instead of playing hooky or complaining about it all the time. Your parents shouldn’t have to force you to see the value of your education.
Establish your independence.As you grow older, you’ll find that you can’t depend on your parents to do everything for you. Your parents will appreciate that you’re independent and willing to do things on your own — though they’ll still want to love and care for you, of course. Once you’re in the neighborhood of 10-12 years old, you can start thinking about cleaning up after yourself, not asking your mom’s help with basic tasks like laundry or washing dishes, and starting to think for yourself a bit more. This will help you develop strong character and will make you a better son.
- Your parents will appreciate it if you learn to do things on your own, from making your own meals to cleaning up on your own initiative. Your foresight will help them out a lot.
- Don’t be afraid to be different from your parents. They don’t expect you to be a clone of them.
Be kind to your siblings.One of the best things you can do to be a good son and a good brother is to be kind to your siblings. It’s not always easy to get along with your siblings, whether they are older or younger, but you should try to develop relationships with them that are encouraging and non-competitive. This will not only help you be a good role model to your siblings, but it will help your parents out more than you know.
- You can also be a good son by helping your siblings do their schoolwork, clean up, or learn basic skills. This will give your parents some more time to relax.
Know when to agree to disagree.As you grow older and develop your own personality and ideals, you may find that you and your parents fundamentally disagree about many things. Maybe your parents are devout Catholics while you struggle to believe in a higher power. Maybe your parents are conservative while you identify as a liberal. The important thing to keep in mind is not that you have to agree with everything your parents believe, but that you have to know how to respectfully disagree with them instead of starting a fight over every little difference you may have.
- If your parents want you to do something you don’t want to do, such as go to church, try to explain why it’s not the path for you. Don’t just outright refuse, but make a point of staying calm while you explain your own beliefs. If your parents won’t budge, find a way to keep things civil and even friendly and to avoid topics that will cause you to fight.
Learn to see your parents as people.As you grow older, you should begin to see your parents as people who are more than just “Mom” and “Dad.” They have busy lives, friendships, relationships with their own parents, careers that they may or may not be happy with, and at least one child to take care of. Take some time to consider how busy and overwhelming life can be for your parents, and consider how certain difficult situations may make them feel before you start an argument or protest too much.
- It takes character to be able to step into someone else’s shoes. The next time you have a fight with one of your parents, try to see the situation from his or her perspective to see if it gives you a better understanding of why they disagree with you. This can help strengthen your relationship and will give you a deeper understanding of who your parents really are.
- To see them as people, you can also ask them questions about their friends, their job, their childhood, or anything else that will shed some light on who they are.
Apologize when you’ve made a mistake.It’s okay to make mistakes as a son, and your parents won’t expect perfection from you. However, they will expect you to be accountable for your mistakes, and the best thing you can really do is to apologize when you’ve made a mistake. If you’ve done something wrong, no matter how big or small, it’s important to sit your parents down, look them in the eyes, and tell them that you’ve really messed up. It’s also important that you make a point of not repeating the mistake again.
- Make sure that they know you really mean it, and that you’re not just saying it so they’ll stop being mad at you.
- If you’ve upset one of your siblings, it’s just as important to apologize to them as well.
Being a Good Son as an Adult
Communicate with your parents as often as you can.Once you move out of the home, whether you’re in college or living in another state for a new job, it’s important to stay in touch with your parents. Call them at least once or a few days a week, send them emails when you think of them, and make a point to visit home for holidays, long weekends, or just as often as you’re able. They’ll appreciate the time you’re giving them and will feel loved and cared for because of the effort you make to see them.
- Remember anniversaries and birthdays. It’s important to send your parents birthday cards or gifts on their anniversaries or on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day (if your family celebrates it). This shows them that they’re on your mind even when you’re apart.
Be happy — and reassure your parents when you’re not.Studies show that parents are the most happy when their own adult children are happy in their lives. This doesn’t mean you have to have a perfect life or that you should feel bad if things have taken a bad turn for you, but it does mean that you should work to live a meaningful and fulfilling life. If every time you talk to your parents, all you do is complain about your job, romantic life, or living situation, then they will begin to think that they have failed you by giving you a bad life. Talk to them about the good things in your life and sugar-coat the problems you’re facing, whenever you can, as long as you don’t feel like you’re being dishonest.
- With this in mind, know that it’s much more important to your parents that you’re happy than if you make a six figure salary, live in a posh neighborhood, or are dating the most beautiful woman in the city. It’s more important that you do the best you can with what you have, instead of striving for some impossible-to-reach version of happiness.
Ask for and accept help when you need it.You may feel like your parents will be disappointed if you ask for financial, or even for emotional support as an adult, but studies actually show that parents are happy to provide support to their children. They’ll like the fact that they can still be useful to you and you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help once in a while. This will keep your relationship strong and will allow you to grow up, too.
- Though it’s important to be independent from your parents as you become an adult and develop your own views about the world and follow your path, you can get some help from them once in a while.
Don’t try to parent your parents.As you get older, you may have the temptation to tell your parents how to live their lives. While they may need your support as they get older, especially if they have trouble taking care of themselves, you should still try not to condescend to them or make them feel like they are helpless on their own. Give them the help they need without talking down to them or acting like they have no agency, and they will love you for it.
- Avoid condescending to them, nagging them, or giving them a hard time for doing something their own way. Even if your way is quicker or more efficient, they may want to stick to their old routines, and you can’t hold that against them.
- Be patient with them. As they get older, it may take them longer to do things than it used to, but that doesn’t mean you should get frustrated.
Treat them as fellow adults.Another thing you can do to keep your relationship strong as you grow older is to treat your parents like they are fellow adults, instead of always thinking of them in the “Mom” or “Dad” role. This can help you discuss topics like finances or child rearing on an even playing field, and may lead you to get some great advice. Though it’s important not to condescend to your parents when you feel like you need to take care of them, seeing them as fellow adults can help add dynamic element to your relationship.
- If you see them as fellow adults, you’ll be able to be honest with them instead of just telling them what you think they want to hear from a model son. They’ll appreciate your candor.
- Think before you talk! Every single word coming from your mouth affects them. (These are your parents we are talking about), so be careful.
- Hugging your parents when they come back from office and when you wake up in the morning will help to build a very strong bond.
- Do favors for your parents here and there. They will appreciate it!
- Know what they like. Each person has their own style, feeling, hobbies and others. If you want to become more intimate with your parent, it helps to have a sense of what they like and dislike.
- Remember that you can rely on most parents, so tell them anything that bothers you, so that they can help.
- You have to let your parents know you care about the family though you really want to go out with your friends.
- You can share something interesting or some jokes with your parents when you have dinner.
- If your parents aren't in the mood to do something with you, wait until they are.
- Trying to be a good son is to be trying to be a good friend to your mother and father.
- Never try to be to bossy over your parents.
- Never curse your parent.
- Try not to lie to your parents.
- If your parents are wrong, don't correct them immediately.
- Never try to prove your parents wrong.
Sources and Citations
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