theindiechicks, renee claybion,parenting advice, parenting tips, 5 lessons to teach him today, raising a boy, how to raise a boy

Dear Son: 5 Lessons to Teach Him Today

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Renee Claybion

Renee's knack for telling it like it is and looking at life with a bit of humor gives her a unique voice and perspective. Renee can be found singing at the top of her lungs in LA traffic, enjoying her favorite horror films and playing around with her rambunctious 8 year old son Aidan.

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Raising a child isn’t easy; I didn’t exactly make it any easier on myself by having my son at the tender age of 18. But I found that I took to motherhood quite well and was given the opportunity to shape a young human, even at a early age I never took that responsibility lightly. I feel fortunate to be a younger mom and with that I feel that I’ve got a unique perspective and take on lessons I teach my little man. Now he’s entering the third grade I find myself thinking where did the time go? More importantly I’m happy to see him becoming such a well-rounded individual. So I thought what better place to share my unique expertise than here at the Indie Chicks, these are the 5 lessons to teach him today, so he can be a better man tomorrow!

Schools in session: 5 Lessons to teach him today

Compassion is a gift

Having a boy in America there’s a certain standard of what’s considered masculine. Little boys should be rough, they should be tough and they shouldn’t show any sign of weakness. My little boy has always been extremely empathetic and we’ve chosen to really foster that gift. I tell him every day that it’s OK to cry if something hurts; it’s OK to want to dance instead of play football, none of that makes you less of a man. Caring for others is something that the world is in short supply of, I’m responsible for the little person that will represent me in the future I want him to be a compassionate giving man.

Save, Save, Save

As much as I hate it money is drastically important in life. Aidan’s an only child and first born son, safe to say he’s been spoiled rotten, with that he’s racked up a nice stack of money. As an only child myself I never want him to be a spoiled brat, it was always important to me that he understood the value and hard work that it took to get nice things. After all that’s what my parents always showed me. When he was old enough to understand the concept of money, I told him about saving. I’ve always offered him a choice; I want to teach him financial responsibilities not tell him. He took some time and came back to me saying that he’d planned to save his money until he can buy a Bugatti. A bit ambitious, but in the end what he’s learning is the value of money, that’s it’s not something to just throw away at a moment’s desire and that you can get more by being a little patient.

Don’t Force

It Finding what you love can be hard; I always tell my son that finding your passion is the most beautiful thing in the world. It will take time but once you find it everything makes sense. With that an important lesson I teach my son is never force it. With anything in life, the moment you feel you have to do it you stop wanting to do it. When he was first learning to read I made a point of asking which books he’d like to start with, some of the traditional picks were there sure, but I found that he really excelled when he was reading comics. Now any book he reads he excels and has creates a broader visual picture. He went from hating to read to loving it all because he stopped trying to force what he should be reading.

Get Ahead, Stay Ahead

As someone who spent a few summers trying to catch up on math classes, I always tell my son getting ahead will make your life easier. Who knows if this will work, but I’ve taken the early stages in planting the idea that if you go to summer school by choice, you can take a class, pass it and then be ahead of the game next year. If you don’t pass in the summer it’s OK because you have a whole year to get it right. The other day my beautiful little boy told me he wants to attend USC for film school, so with that he needs to be in all AP classes by the time he’s in 10th grade. Now I’m not pushing my son to be a crazed student, but having gone through the LAUSD school system I know the expectations. You have to be the top of your class, have extracurricular activities, speak another language and maybe you’ll be considered. I remember the stress; I mean how did we do it? If I can offer any advice, let’s get as much done as possible so that you can have the life you want.

Little Gentleman

I’ve always wanted to have a boy, maybe because I’ve always wanted a brother. I knew that I had a chance to help mold the perfect little man. Manners will always be the top of any parents list, but I’m setting Aidan up old school style. He opens doors for women, cleans up after us when we finish dinner, shows respect for his elders and always greets people with a smile. It seems simple but these are all things that just aren’t done anymore. We’ve all become a little too complacent in our behavior and well with my mother there was no way that manners would be skipped.

These are just the tip of an iceberg full of lessons that one can teach a child, but I have always felt the most important thing you can do is show your life experience in relation to whatever it is your teaching. Aidan is still a child and will always push back a little, when he does I just tell him what I went through. I let him know that I’m not perfect, that I made all the same mistakes and have many more ahead of me; my job is to help him make better choices. I don’t take life too seriously and I always make sure that Aidan knows what’s truly important is being happy within; and that his mommy and daddy will always have his back.

Share some of your favorite lessons with me below, did you get them from your mom, your dad, or are they all yours?

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  • Annah Elizabeth

    These are beautiful gifts to your son, Renee. And what a tribute to you and his father that you can be so grounded and so well-rounded at such young ages yourselves. Gives inspiration to many!

    • Renee Jean Claybion

      Aw thanks so much Annah, we owe that to our parents and hope to pass it down to our son, as is the wish of any parent really.

  • Jewels

    I’m not a mommy so I can’t say what gifts I would give my son (or daughter) but I can say that I love the ones you are giving Aidan. I think it’s important to tell them that it’s okay to be upset, that it’s fine to not want to play football and draw instead, and that respecting women is KEY. I LOVE that you are teaching him financial responsibility young and that you’re making sure he knows that he has the ability to be anything he wants so long as he works mother father hard at it. :D He’s a lucky boy to have you for a mommy.

  • Joanna Joy Prescod

    I love those lessons! I have a little girl and I can definitely relate to “Compassion is a Gift” because I feel for some adults the ability to care for people beyond their family structure disappears. I was watching the documentary, I AM, and it was saying that we, humans, are structured to empathize with other humans that’s why when we see someone cry we natural feel an emotion towards it. It’s sad how some people, especially men, feel that having that reaction is a sign of being weak. I think it’s great that you are teaching your son those qualities.