Is it possible in today’s society to teach your son to be a gentleman? Yes, definitely!
How to Teach Your Son to Be a Gentleman
You’ve heard the saying “Boys will Be Boys”. In my experience, it is true…to an extent. But I don’t believe it means that our sons are just creatures of instinct who can’t learn manners or respect for others. I know that “Boys will be Boys” really does apply at times, and sometimes I just stare at my boys wondering what is going through their heads, but I hope I am teaching each of my sons how to be a gentleman.
It seems as though crude and rude is becoming more acceptable, but just because something is accepted as a societal norm, doesn’t mean it is the way I hope to raise my boys. I want to start creating habits of good behavior while my sons are young so that they can see the importance of respecting other people as they grow.
Things Boys Should Learn to Prepare to Be a Gentleman
Use Table Manners
Let’s start with the obvious! To be a gentleman, boys need to learn table manners. I’ll be honest and say that this is something we struggle with at our home. But we are trying to teach our boys table manners such as chewing with their mouth closed (Seriously!), keeping bodily noises away from the dinner table, not reaching across the table for things but asking politely for food to be passed, using a napkin instead of a sleeve and not eating with their hands (You would think they would have learned by now). And, now that they are getting older, we also are teaching them to keep electronics turned off during family dinner and participate in family discussions. All of these things prepare boys for dating and being in professional situations. Teaching table manners takes time and daily reminders.
Have Good Work Ethic
I want to teach my boys how to work hard in life so that when situations come up to serve others, they are willing and able to do it. Too many youth (and adults!) don’t want to be inconvenienced by hard work. I especially want them to be outside getting their hands dirty. When they are older, I hope they will work hard and be able to take on any responsibility given to them.
To be a gentleman, boys should learn to be confident. This is a struggle with a couple of my boys, but we are teaching them to look people in the eye and speak clearly. Also to shake hands when necessary and say nice to meet you. It is a big challenge for my older boys, but something that will help them out in life in the long run. To help them learn confidence in social situations, I give them a challenge when we are at church or when they are at school so interact with at least 2 adults and practice looking them in the eye and speaking up. It is a work in progress, but it is getting easier for them as they do it each week.
Show Good Sportsmanship
My boys are involved in a lot of sports and we have seen some pretty poor behavior from many adults at games. Part of being a gentleman is learning how to win and lose graciously.
Watch for Ways to Assist Others
To be gentlemen, boys need to learn to offer assistance to others. I want them to learn to hold the door for someone, give up their seat on a bus, open the car door and hold the chair for their dates (when that time comes). I was completely shocked on a recent flight as I watched a young mother struggling to fold down her stroller before loading a plane while juggling a small baby, diaper bag, carry-on bag and other essentials. I was back in the line but watched as person after person walked by her and watched her struggle, never offering to help. A gentleman would have at least offered to help her fold her stroller up and carry her bags, even if they weren’t comfortable helping with her child. By the time I reached her, the baby was crying and the mom was obviously frazzled. I offered to help with her bags and she was so grateful. Now I understand that kindness doesn’t just have to come from a gentleman, but I couldn’t believe that nobody offered to help her out. I want my boys to always be on the look out for someone to help, even if it is inconvenient. Our society has become so selfish.
Learn By Example
I understand that not all boys have a father in the home, but I believe the best way to learn to be a gentleman is by following the example of someone who shows respect and generosity to others. That person might be a coach, teacher or leader from church. But having an example to follow, is a great way to teach your son to be a gentleman. And moms, if you are raising your sons alone, I applaud you for your hard work, love and devotion that you are giving as you strive to raise respectful and kind sons.
In a world where they say chivalry is dead, I hope to show that our sons can grow in to strong, capable men who have learned respect, generosity, and confidence. It starts at home as we work to teach each son how to be a gentleman.
What are some things you are doing to teach your son to be a gentleman?
This post is a part of our series 31 Days of Tips for Raising Boys. Each day throughout the series we are discussing a different topic regarding raising boys. I’d love for you to follow along and share this series with other parents of boys who may need some support or just to hear that they aren’t alone in their journey of raising boys.
Check out our next post in the series: 10 Tips for Raising Confident Boys
Find all of our posts in one place on our series home page: 31 Days of Tips for Raising Boys
If you are raising sons, you should also read:
10 Tips for Raising Confident Boys
Jodi Whisenhunt says
Great tips, Kara! As a mom of 2 boys (ages 20 & 10) and 1 girl (age 12), I agree with each one, and I appreciate that it’s important to you to raise your young men to be gentlemen. You are making sure chivalry is not dead! 🙂 I think the only other thing I would add is to show girls/young ladies utmost respect as well, and as they mature, to appreciate the women in their lives and not to treat them as sexual objects.
Stopping by from #Write31Days.
When my sons started dating, I would make them meet a girl’s parents before a school dance.
Kara Jaeger says
I was in the process of looking up tips on teaching boys to be gentlemen when I stumbled upon your blog! I have two sons, ages two and three and am in the process of homeschooling my three year old. I’ve always been saddened by the fact that chivalry is slowly slipping away from our culture and when I was blessed with two sons I determined I’d do my best to teach them to be gentlemen. We have been working on learning to open doors for women and girls and I’m excited that my oldest is catching on quickly! He opened the door for me the other day at the library and an older gentleman stood back behind us watching and he praised my son for being a gentleman to his mother. Thanks for the great tips and I look forward to reading more of your helpful blogs! Thanks!
Becky Lange says
Great to see articles like this and know there are other parents out there putting importance on raising gentlemen!
It’s so important and seems to be a bit of a lost art. My goal is to raise boys who are well-behaved and who treat the women in their life with respect.
At what age you start teaching them table manner? I’m a mom of 2 boys (2yrs and 3 yrs) and it quite hard to get them do what I ask for…