12 Most Fundamental Skills Every Mother Should Teach Her Sons

12 Most Fundamental Skills Every Mother Should Teach Her Sons


The world has changed and evolved over the last few decades. These days, boys are growing up in a world that expects more and more of them.

Gone are the days when a man’s only responsibility was going to work and bringing home a paycheck. Gone are the days when a man would come home from work and be waited on by his wife and do nothing else.

These days most families are in need of two paychecks. Some families do make the choice to live on one paycheck, but even if the wife is able to stay home and not work for pay (because there is plenty of work at home), chances are she still expects some kind of help from her husband.

As a mother to more boys than girls, I have my eye on the future. I want my boys to have all the skills that will assure my future daughters-in-law love me, or at least not blame me for their husband’s ineptitude.

So what should a mother teach her sons?

1. How to cook

Boys don’t need to need to know how to cook gourmet meals unless they happen to love cooking. They should at least know how to make eggs, pasta, chicken and have familiarity with the basics of cooking and ingredients.

2. How to clean

No one likes living with a slob. Someone who knows how to dust, vacuum, wash floors and clean is a gem.

3. How to clean toilets

This deserves a mention separate from the “how to clean” because for some reason, the men in my life think toilets clean themselves. THAT IS A MYTH.

4. How to sew buttons

Anyone can master simple mending skills. Why should boys be reliant on someone else to sew a button back on their shirts?

5. How to use a fork and knife correctly

Eating a nice meal in a nice restaurant (or actually anywhere) with someone who eats like a cavemen is a real turn-off.

6. How to sort and wash laundry

Imagine a guy who not only picks up after himself but also knows how to wash his own smelly socks without turning the whole wash pink?

7. How to food shop

Food shopping is not just about going into a store and loading up a shopping cart. It’s about learning what products your family uses, what is considered a good price and what sales are really a savings. It is, alas, about packing up the bags and unpacking them and putting the groceries away.

8. How to wash dishes

It’s rude and inconsiderate to leave dishes in the sink for someone else to do. You ate, you wash.

9. How to give compliments

Sincere compliments are a learned skill for most people. The earlier that kids are taught the importance of compliments and how to give them, the better off they will be.

10. How to change a diaper

Nothing is cooler than a guy who is a natural at changing a baby’s diaper and does it willingly.

11. How to iron

This is a another skill everyone can learn. The more you practice, the easier it gets.

12. How to treat a women with respect and courtesy

Most importantly, teach your sons that women are their equals and should be treated with the same respect and courtesy that they themselves would want to be treated with.

How many of these skills have you taught your sons? For the men out there — how many of these skills have you mastered? Are there any other skills you would add to the list?

Featured image courtesy of UggBoy♥UggGirl licensed via Creative Commons.

Susie Newday


Susie is a wife, mother of 5, blogger, RN (ER & Oncology) and a creative jack of many trades. Her passion is helping and connecting with people and she does her best to learn something new each day. Susie lives in Israel after having emigrated there half a life ago.

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This is so true! I love the points about how to shop & cook. My brothers are reasonably self suffiecent but grocery shopping was one thing they'd never really had to tackle. It takes time to learn how to be organised and budget well in this respect.


This is great info for daughters as well as sons.  I didn't know how to do a lot of this stuff until I was out on my own.  How to food shop and use utensils correctly are my favorites!


O.K.  NOW - how about teaching your daughters that boys / men are HUMAN?

  ("Remember girls, misogyny is Evil but misandry is GOOD!") 

    - Guest (male who doesn't want his mail box e-bombed)

P.S.: I learned the list of twelve from BOTH of my parents. Don't you think fathers 

        have the ability to teach their sons these things?

          Shame on you.


I still do the ironing in the house, and I love to cook (generally grilling or frying). I can thank my grandmother for teaching me those things as well as washing the dishes, laundry, etc (which I'm pretty bad about doing nowadays).

She definitely impressed upon me #12 - and that is the #1 behavior I'm looking for with boys courting my two daughters!



I was waiting for No. 12. I was going to be upset if it wasn't there. Thanks for not disappointing. 

I am fortunate to be married to a man who had an independent and active mother. She worked outside of the home, went to school at night to receive her master's degree and always maintained interests outside of her family life. Now this is not to say that my mother-in-law is a bad mother — quite the opposite is true. But, from my perspective, she also does a good job of maintaining other roles as well. As a result, this is the "norm" for my husband. I reap the benefits of his upbringing. 

I teach internationally for two months of the year and am actually insulted for him when people say "What do you do with your children while you're away?" Well, I leave them with a very nice man who they know well and who is perfectly capable of caring for them — their FATHER. 

I also work full-time outside the home and am completing a doctorate. When people ask me how I "do it all," my answer is simple. I have an amazing husband who does more than his share of the work in our household. For him, it isn't a question. It's just the way life works. This also likely will be the case for our son as he grows older and begins a family of his own.

I really enjoyed your post. I just couldn't agree more with your perspective. We need to prepare our children (boys especially) for a different type of lifestyle than in the past. 

I also must say that No. 5 rang so true to me. There is perhaps nothing that is a greater turnoff to a woman than a man with poor table manners. Yuck!

Thanks for the great post!


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You wacky women and your weird rules. Toilets clean themselves, disposable clothing takes care of laundry and finger food removes the need for forks and knive.

Problem solved. ;)

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Someday, I hope to learn some of that stuff...


@newdaynewlesson As a Mom to 2 sons and 1 daughter, I got a kick out of this list.  My sons can cook, sew on buttons, do laundry, and sort of clean.  #12- Respect and courteous treatment of women is perhaps the most important thing on your list. I would just add :  Be a leader, not a follower, especially if your friends are doing crazy, unsafe thing and want you to take part in those activities.  

Becky Gaylord
Becky Gaylord

Love, love, love this post, Susie! My two young sons know when their "aim" is off, and they miss the toilet, that they -- and not Mom - must get a Lysol wipe out and clean it up. 

I figured their future life partners will thank me for this, too ; ) 


By this list, I'm awesome!