teach your son to be a gentleman

10 Skills Your Son Needs to Be a Gentleman

When our sons are born, we have high expectations for them. We think about the men they will become, and we want to do our part to make sure they reach their potential and develop into charismatic gentlemen. In his book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, John Maxwell says that one way to develop charisma is to put a 10 on people’s heads. By this, he means you should treat everyone like a 10.

For your son to become the man you want him to be, you will need to model that—and to teach him to be a gentleman. Here are 10 skills your son needs to be a gentleman.

1. Put a 10 on people’s heads.

When you teach your son to put a 10 on everyone’s head, you ensure that he’ll treat everyone with respect and dignity.

2. Have a firm handshake.

Studies have repeatedly shown that physical contact has many positive benefits. When your son shakes someone’s hand, he is acknowledging a level of respect for the person and making a connection with him or her.

3. Avoid complaining.

Complaining is a common pitfall that most of us fall into. It’s often easier to complain about a situation than it is to fix or—when necessary—endure the situation. If your son becomes a complainer, he will either bring down his entire group or he will alienate himself from his group. It’s important to teach your son to look for solutions rather than to dwell on problems.

4. Be humble.

Sharing credit and not boasting are excellent ways for your son to make others feel comfortable around him. Any time your son experiences success, encourage him to acknowledge the people who helped him reach his goal.

5. Speak clearly.

Communication is extremely important when making an impression and developing a relationship. If people cannot clearly understand your son, it can make them feel uncomfortable, cause miscommunication, or even create mistrust.

6. Make eye contact when listening.

Communication is a two-way street. By making eye contact while listening to someone, your son will be more likely to maintain his focus on what the person is saying, and it will show the speaker that your son is interested in what he or she has to say.

7. Be honest.

Trust is important, and it can be difficult to regain once it is lost. Teaching your son to be honest in all situations can be crucial in making sure he has the ability to gain and maintain others’ trust.

8. Be thankful.

People like to be appreciated. Simply thanking others makes them feel special. Every day, your son has an endless number of opportunities to thank someone, whether he is thanking a friend’s parent for a ride home, thanking a coach for helping improve a skill, thanking his mother for doing his laundry, or thanking a sibling for helping him with his homework.

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but that small line can make a huge difference.

9. Be confident but not arrogant.

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but that small line can make a huge difference. If your son is confident, it can draw others to him as a leader and a gentleman, but arrogance can turn others off and contribute to a lack of respect.

10. Open and hold doors for people.

Whether he is holding the door for one of his teachers walking into school, opening a car door on his first date, or holding a door for a complete stranger, this simple gesture shows an awareness of other people’s needs, an acknowledgment of the value of other people, and a willingness to sacrifice a few seconds of time to help someone else.

Sound off: What are some other ways to teach your son to be a gentleman?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What makes a man a gentleman?”