As our sons grow from boys to men, it's important to make sure they have all the tools they need to blossom into those fully functioning adult males we've heard so many wonderful rumors about. That doesn't just mean a fully stocked fridge and gas money, there are some life lessons they should learn along the way that will help them become a solid individual.
We've already covered the girls, now it's the boys turn. Here are 8 things your teenage son needs to know how to do before leaving the nest.
- Embrace their inner nerd. Sure, college is filled with parties and girls and freedom, but it's also about, you know, books, and learning, and "finding yourself." There's no shame in turning down a rager to study for a mid-term, even if that mid-term is Biology 101 and no one else is studying because the professor grades on a curve and COME ON, DUDE, ONE BEER WON'T KILL YOU. Make sure your son has a sense of humor about the situation, but knows how to put his foot down. (A reminder about how expensive his school is never hurts.)
- Use birth control. Is it more awkward asking your son if he knows how to use a condom, or raising your grandchild while he finishes up sophomore year? He should know every last thing about safe sex from pregnancy to STDs to Plan B. If you have to, sit them down for a Teen Mom marathon -- that should make him buckle up below the belt.
- Venture out of his comfort zone. Trying something new is scary, but pretty much necessary. See to it that he's got enough confidence to try a studio art class, or a speech-writing class, or a Poly Sci class, or whatever diverges from his path. Plus, ladies dig a well-rounded guy.
- Prioritize. There are only one billion distractions in a college student's daily life, so talk to your son about how to decide what's important, and what's not.
- Cut you some slack. You've been raising him since he was a baby! Of course you want to hear how things are going. Would a text every now and again kill him? Make sure he knows how important it is to stay in touch, even if talking every week seems sooooooo annoying.
- See the bigger picture when it comes to fraternities. If he's heading to a school where Greek life is important, make sure he's savvy enough to do his research. One may throw killer parties, brah, but another may have excellent alumni connections. Also worth noting: Frats aren't cheap.
- Ask a girl on a date. And by "date" you don't mean taking her to the dining hall for breakfast after a night passed out on a pile of books and beer cans. Does he know how to use the talky part of the phone? Make sure he knows how to treat a women right, and most importantly, with respect.
- Stay healthy. Washing your sheets is not that fun, gotta be honest, but it's necessary. So is wearing clean clothes, exercising, and eating right. You used to be there to see that all that was taken care of, but now that you won't be, take a moment to drive home the importance of taking care of one's self.
What are your tips for boys heading off to college?
Photo via justine reyes/Flickr