Lessons for my teenage son

Dear Teen Boy, to my lovely, awesome, sometimes pain in the arse teenage son, here are some life lessons you should probably take on board. Then pass on to your lovely, awesome, sometimes pain in the arse teenage friends…

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1. Just be nice.

This has always been lesson number one in this house. Shows of brute strength or masculinity mean little, but by following the rule of ‘just be nice’ you won’t go far wrong in life. Hold doors for others, use your manners, show kindness, respect and courtesy. Seriously, people like that. It will help you go through life smoothly. Don’t be a bully. Don’t intimidate, hurt, humiliate or taunt others. It's not cool and if I catch you being a bully, no matter how old you are, I WILL call you out on it and it won’t end well.

2. Clean, cook, do laundry.

Dude, these are just life skill you are going to need. It may seem ok now to step over the crap in your room, eat cereal straight from the box and ‘clean’ your clothes by giving them a shake and perhaps a bit of body spray but as you get older, it's just gross and a bit sad. You will feel good about yourself, independent and as you get older you will definitely impress the ladies or gents that come into your life.

3. Aim before you shoot.

Seriously, its not difficult. Lift the toilet seat, aim penis, have a wee. Pissy toilet seats, floors, WALLS for gods sake are GROSS. It's not ok. Also, if you poo, clean the bowl. Its not rocket science. I guarantee that no partner finds cleaning another persons bodily fluids from a toilet bowl sexy.

4. Don’t take photos of your bodily parts.

It is NEVER a good idea. Ever. Unless you want me, your father, your grandmother and your teachers to see that photo of your penis, don’t send it to anyone. In fact, don’t even take the picture. It's stupid, dangerous and when you become a rock star or prime minister it WILL come back to haunt you.

5. Real women don’t look like the ones on TV or magazines.

Most women have body hair, yep, legs, armpits, genitals. It's normal. Get over it. Women’s breasts and genitals come in all shapes and sizes. The average woman in the UK is a size 16. The size 0 celebrities are not the norm. Whatever size your future partner is, treat them with love and respect. If you are lucky enough for a woman to allow you to see or touch her body, be respectful and grateful!

6. Sex is about trust and respect

Media and peer pressure may make it seem that sex means nothing and that everyone is doing it with everyone. But sex is a beautiful sharing of love, and sex without trust and respect is crap. It's not about notches on bedposts, it's about having an amazing time with someone really special. No one wants to think they are another in a long line of partners. I'll also remind you now that sex under 16 is against the law. Remember that.

I'm hoping it will be a long while before you have sex. But when you do…

Use a condom. Every time. Yes, every time. Even if she is on the pill. Or it's the second sunday on the month. Or the world is ending. Every time. Without fail.

No means No. There is no grey area. You don’t need to try and figure it out. If the girl is drunk or high, that too is a no.

7. If you mess up, tell me.

I love you dearly, but sometimes you are a bloody idiot and make mistakes. I know you will make mistakes because I did, and so did your dad and everyone else in the world. If you mess up, tell me. No matter how awful it seems, I promise I will help you and make things better. I may shout at you first, but it won’t be half as bad as if I find out later.

If you mess up and need me, I will be there, if that is 3am on a sunday morning, or when I am busy at work, poorly or in the midst of my own problems, tell me and I will be there.

And if you can’t tell me or your dad, tell an adult you trust.

8. Be a feminist.

A feminist is someone who believes that people are truly equal whatever their gender. You believe this. Be a feminist and proud. End of.

While we are at it, don’t ever be homophobic, sexist or racist. I know you aren’t so never fall into the trap of thinking that a bit of casual, comedic bigotry is ok. Because it isn’t.

9. Have a shower.

Clean body, hair, teeth, fingernails, clothes… Clean everything. It's about respect for your own body. Taking care of your appearance makes you feel good, it gives a good impression to others and is a really important basic life skill. Want a partner? Chicks (or guys!) don’t dig B.O…

10. Choose your own path.

Don’t follow the crowd, think about what you want in life, what makes you happy, and go for it. With hard work, perseverance and a good attitude you can honestly achieve ANYTHING you want in life. Those ‘cool’ kids in school who think its clever to cause trouble, mess about and not get on with work won’t be so cool in 10 years time when you see them working in McDonalds. Be unique, be an individual and be yourself, everyone else is taken.

Stand up for what you believe in and speak out if you witness something that you know is wrong. Be a strong person who can be a lone voice, it's not always easy to be the person who shouts no in a baying crowd of yeses. If you believe in it with your heart and soul, then speak out.

And here ends my sermon, just a few words of wisdom from your old mother to a lad who believes he already knows it all. The years ahead of us may be tough, we may stumble and fall, we may fall out, we may fight, we may become so frustrated with one another that we can’t believe we are related! But thats just what coming through teenage years is, remember that no matter what, I love you and you, my son, are bloody awesome!

Love Mum x

Sam Cleasby

Self Esteem and Confidence Expert, Blogger, Writer and Public Speaker, So Bad Ass

My name is Sam Cleasby and I run the blog So Bad Ass, I'm a health activist, writer and public speaker. I write about women's issues, from parenting to self esteem, body confidence, work and life. Living with chronic illness, my life with Ulcerative Colitis spurred me to begin my blog (www.sobadass.me) where I journal my illness, surgeries and recovery. Having an ostomy and now an internal j pouch inspired me to share my passion for loving yourself with others. I write for several publications and do public speaking, events and workshops, bringing confidence, joy and a bad ass spirit to women all over the UK.


Go to the profile of Suzy Walker
about 7 years ago
Love this. I'm printing it out for my son - he's about to turn into a teenager! x
Go to the profile of Coral Musgrave
about 7 years ago
I would add to 3: And when you have finished, put the seat and lid down before you flush. And most of them apply to a teenage girl too.
Go to the profile of David Head
almost 7 years ago
Just read this and love it! Will discuss it with my teenage daughters..