Teaching Your Teen Son to Be a Gentleman

At times, the older generation laments the lack of gentlemen in today’s world. Although we as people have not changed much on the inside in the last several generations, our culture has changed dramatically. There are positive and negative changes that have been made, and all of them have affected the way we interact.

Being a gentleman is not emphasized for young men as much as in the days when their grandfathers were young men, but it will always be in style. Being a gentleman includes manners and courtesies that basically show others that they are worthy of one’s respect. What can you do to teach your teen to be a gentleman?

Model the Behavior

The best way to train your teenage son to be a gentleman is by being one, or giving him another positive male role model to emulate. Choose someone who goes above and beyond in all ways so that your child can copy his behavior when in doubt. Be careful to look beyond the surface into the heart of the man and his intentions.  Real gentlemanly behavior will stem from the soul of someone who truly cares about others.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Real gentlemanly behavior will stem from the soul of someone who truly cares about others.[/pullquote]

Emphasize Respect

The number one pillar of learning how to be a gentleman is understanding respect. Respect is treating others as though they are worthy of your consideration. When respect is one of your son’s most important values, he will naturally want to act like a gentleman.

Teach Kindness and Empathy

Kindness and empathy for others is a great motivator when learning how to become a gentleman. Remind your son that we are all in need of positive treatment from others, and that he can be that person to someone else. Empathy will help him remember why he is making an effort to treat others in this positive way.

For example, when your son is on public transit and an elderly individual gets on and doesn’t have a place to sit, the kindness he feels inside of him will remind him that offering his own seat is considered gentlemanly, and will make it easier for him to remember than a simple and seemingly random rule.

Learn about Manners

Although respect comes naturally from a heart that desires good for others, some of the manners in our society do not come naturally in any way. They must be learned, but thankfully many resources can be found. These range from websites, to books, to classes.

There are many rules to learn. If you can drill your son in the basics, it will make him feel less awkward in most situations. While he is young, get him in the habit of doing things like opening doors for others, using his cutlery properly, and offering to assist others when they are carrying a heavy load.

Point Out Other Gentlemen

When you notice another man acting in a positive way, point him out to your son. Say things like “I like how he doesn’t use vulgar language” or “He sure is dressed nicely. That shows respect to the bride and groom.”

Becoming a gentleman is not an easy task. Be sure to give your son praise at any available moment. When he opens the door for you and shows common courtesies in any way, let him know with a simple “Thank you, you’re such a gentleman.” In no time at all, your young gentleman will be standing out among the crowd.

This entry was posted in Family.


  1. Fiona says:

    I appreciate this useful article. My son is not yet a teenager, and he has always remembered his manners. He models himself on his Dad, and does his best to be caring and helpful at home. We have always told our family that ‘ Please and Thank You are the Magic Words’ This article is a welcome addition to your earlier one about teaching a teen daughter to be a lady. In our fast-paced lives sometimes manners can be overlooked. Thank you for this helpful reminder!

    • Old Fashioned Homemaking says:

      Thank you for your insight, Fiona. You and your husband have done an awesome job teaching your son. And not all children have a positive role model like your husband. You can be sure that your son will keep these manners into his teen years and all of his life. I appreciate your comments!

  2. tealady3 says:

    I so agree, I have always tried to raise my son who is now 32 to be polite and mindful of others. Something really worked because he is all of them.Just a little side note when I am with my husband or son I have never had to open a door,lol.

    • Old Fashioned Homemaking says:

      Hi Tealady! I think that’s wonderful that your son and husband are gentlemen, and treat you as a lady should be treated. Thank you for telling us about your son. This is an encouragement for young mothers who are trying to raise their children well. It is difficult at times, but very much worth the effort!

Comments are closed.