Ok so you probably don’t have a son who is next in line to the throne but you still have big dreams for your own little Prince. Princess Diana may have made mistakes in her short life but she certainly did something right with her boys. We’re all big fans of Prince Harry for his character and grit and he’s definitely the Royal we’d all like to hang out with at a party. Considering his bloodline he’s incredibly laid back, a reformed bad boy with a devilish sense of humour and a great work ethic. He somehow manages to merge Royal and ‘real’ in perfect measure.
Here are 5 ways to charm your Prince through life and love:
1. Role Models
It’s often said to look at the way a man treats his mother to see how he will respect a future partner. We do love a good dash of old fashioned chivalry and are certainly not offended to have a door held open for us. This isn’t being anti-feminist, we are fully go-girl-go, but there is no doubt that manners maketh man. As Steve Biddulph puts it (from his groundbreaking book Raising Boys in the 21st Century), “To become a good man, you have to know good men.”
Boys pick up so much from their fathers on the intricacies of relationships and how to interact with girls (and women in the future). Look to your other half to see what example he’s setting. Is he a good listener? (is he checking his phone while you are downloading your day). Does he express gratitude for the little things in life (like ensuring the kids appreciate the great meal you’ve just cooked). Is he self sufficient? (can he find the dishwasher without sat nav).
2. Compassion & Emotion
We don’t particularly love weepy boys who turn on the waterworks at the drop of a hat but there’s something endearing, attractive (and actually pretty masculine really) when a grown man sheds a tear or two over something important. These days you hear men being told to ‘buck up’, ‘suck it up’, ‘be a real man’ which just encourages men to suppress emotions. It’s hard to teach your son to be compassionate to others if he isn’t in tune with his own feelings? Don’t make him stifle his tears, get on the Oprah Sofa and let it all out we say!
Our favourite quote from Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) is so apt. “If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view….until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
3. Courage & perseverence
Raise your boys to be Try Hards. Praise him for his effort, not his ability. If you praise his ability then he’ll think that what’s he’s achieved might be the peak of his success. Praising his efforts helps him understand that with time and patience you can break and pretty much smash any ceiling. Affirm his value and encourage him to step outside his comfort zone. Learning or trying something new is about approaching the unknown with courage. So what, your son might hit one tennis ball out of twenty but if you encourage the positives of that one shot it will teach him that it’s okay to try, miss and try again.
For littler kids (and even big ones) teach them how to win and lose with grace. Try not to let your kids win Connect Four or even Snap for that matter too often. You might have full on hissy fits because they lost to you but victory should be legitimately earned and really what better preparation for real life you can give them?
4. Grit & Gumption
A waxed faced Ken swooping us up on his white horse may have been every girls fantasy circa 1985 but these days girls want grit and gumption. Wet playground pansies are not going to rock anyone’s world so if you are a mollycoddler then you should really let this go. And soon. But don’t be concerned if your child isn’t masculine enough at an early age. Cuddling his teddies develops his nurturing, emphatic side which gives him a kind heart. He will figure out who he is to become in his own time with lots of encouragement from you.
Allow your child to make mistakes and to figure out how to fix them. We do so much, too much even, for our kids these days. Let them be. Switch off your helicopter mode and allow them work stuff out for themselves before coming to the rescue. If you swoop in to protect and cradle your child every time they fall (physically and metaphorically), they will come to rely on you to band aid their problems . They may well surprise you – turn a blind eye to a grazed knee or a falling out with a friend and the chances are they’ll pick themselves up, dust themselves down and get on with it. That’s grit and we love it.
5. Your time
There’s no doubt that spending quality time with your children helps connect with them better and open up the lines of communication. It sounds obvious but spending one-on-one time with your child will help him feel loved and important and ultimately fosters happiness. And happy children can achieve anything.
Even when you have no time you really can make time. You might be busy making dinner or doing chores but ask your son to give you a hand to lay the table or chop some fruit up – having a relaxed no-agenda time together can give him the opportunity to be open about his day or any niggles he has. Apart from creating memories together it allows your son to learn, listen and be heard amidst the craziness of both your worlds.