Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be A**holes

Back in the ’70s, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson warned moms not to let their boys grow up to be cowboys.  Today, I think the bigger challenge is not letting our kids grow up to be rude and arrogant a**holes.  I’ll take a cowboy any day.


1978 hit record (on vinyl!)

Raising kids is tough.  They say parenting boys gets easier as they get older.  I don’t know who “they” are, and my oldest is only 11, but I think I need to call bullsh*t on that.  It seems to get harder.

I’m a worrier.  It’s not my finest trait, but it’s who I am.  When my kids were younger, I used to fret about them getting hurt on the playground or being kidnapped by some crazy lunatic.  Now as my boys get older, my worries are less about their safety and more about their character.  My biggest fear is that they’ll grow up to be bastards.  Not mass murderers or bank robbers (I’m pretty confident that the “no killing and no stealing” lessons sank in), just jerks.  Nobody likes a jerk.

This past weekend, while at a lacrosse tournament, my 8-year-old son learned two valuable life lessons after a boy his age stole a ball from him and then lied about it:

  1. Write your name on anything you don’t want to lose if you take it out of the house
  2. Some people are just jerk

Yes, I know it’s wrong to call a kid a jerk, but let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?  We all know the kind of kid I’m talking about:  the bossy one who argues every point because he has to be right all the time; the cocky one who thinks he’s better than everyone else so he talks trash on and off the field; the rude one who uses fresh language to both kids and adults alike; the brazen one who steals and then lies about it all too easily … Sadly, today’s stinkers are often tomorrow’s rotten eggs.  I desperately don’t want my kids to be that way.

Above all else, I want my boys to become gentlemen, so my standards for proper behavior are high:

  • Be polite (say please, thank you and excuse me; use “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” in responses; etc.)
  • Display good table manners (swallow before speaking; ask to be excused from table; etc.)
  • Be compassionate (say you’re sorry, lend a hand, etc.)
  • Be respectful (use kind language; take turns speaking, not over each other; etc.)
  • Act responsibly (think before acting; make mature decisions; etc.)
  • Be honest (own all mistakes; don’t lie, cheat or steal; etc.)
example of r house/family rules

No one ever became President with bad table manners

To me, these six behaviors are the mark of good character.  The character of a gentleman … like one of our kidsitters, C.  He’s a high school senior and member of the varsity football team.  He could be a cocky, trash-talking teenager, but he’s the complete opposite:  he’s friendly, kind, polite (very polite!) and respectful … and my boys think he’s super cool, fun and easy-going.  Win, win.

words to live by

words to live by

So strict as it may seem, I will continue to enforce my rules in the hopes of raising two wonderful, young gentlemen … and if they want to be cowboys, too, then so be it — no matter what Waylon and Willie say.


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4 thoughts on “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be A**holes

  1. Lauren I love this. My worries are the same and trying very hard to keep my kids moving in the right direction. My problem is that this lovely man I married though very funny to others is not so funny to raise kids with. I believe his way of thinking is hurting my family. He has no problem disrespecting women more importantly women with “ANY” weight on them. He has this “it’s all about me” and who cares who I hurt attitude. How do I teach my kids to be better when the grown ups in there life have some really bad “dinosaur thinking” going on? I myself have such a hard time being a better Mother when all I feel is judged on my looks rather than the job I am doing. With all my kids it takes a while before the weight come’s off because of all the care they need. I refuse to change on that, they will alway’s come first until they don’t need me like that anymore and then the work start’s on me. Home life is a mess and can only hope that that won’t be my kids on the field acting like that. So far so good but it could change very quickly. “UGH”

    • I wish I had a better answer for you, but the best you can do is continue to teach your kids the right way to behave and treat others, despite what they see/hear from their father. I know this is difficult because kids learn from example, but as their mother you can pull them aside and explain why that’s not the best example to follow. It doesn’t mean he’s not a good father, but it also doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable behavior. Raising kids is hard work and all-consuming, I get it. But it is important for you to take care of yourself, too. I’m not saying to focus on weight, just being healthy and strong. For your kids’ sakes — so you can continue to be there for them. You’re a strong woman who can handle more than you think.

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