Written by Susie Verrill


Life lessons

The journey from boy to man is a tough one, but Susie Verrill‘s got some tips she hopes will make it easier for her young son.

boy outsideRecently, what with Donald Trump and his honey badger hairstyle of doom being atrocious all over the show, I’ve been thinking about the sort of universe my son has landed in.

From the day he rocked up 15 months ago, the world has seen some pretty catastrophic milestones and while I can’t keep my hands clamped over his eyes forever, I’ve been considering the ways in which I hope I can prepare him for adulthood and the values I can instil before he goes on to live his own life away from his no-doubt very clingy mother.

Obviously, it goes without saying that I don’t want him to become a Nazi or be thrown in prison for screwdriving people to death, so I’m presuming I don’t need to touch on those; I’m talking attitudes to life and the way he’ll conduct himself.

“You can be someone who makes people feel good about themselves; it won’t make you any less popular. If it does, it doesn’t matter anyway.”

I’d also like to stress that I know my son’s his own person and can do whatever the heck he wants (please not the screwdrivery thing) and I’ll always champion the path he chooses in life, but if there are some teeny, tiny pointers I can give him, then these are what they are. Be he grab them by the crotch or not.

• People who are mean at secondary school ordinarily peak at 16 and think being popular as a youngster will get them far in life, then hand you your order at Subway 20 years down the line.

• Be calm and pick your arguments. No one likes someone who’s always cross. Plus it’s very tiring.

• ONLY send dick pics IF THE GIRL HAS ASKED FOR THEM. ASKED. HAS SHE ASKED? HAS SHE? If you have to think about it then SHE HASN’T ASKED.

• Travel the world. Not just Thailand and Australia because you want to buy a bead necklace, drink cherry VKs from a bucket and hang out with Kerry from Pickering. Go explore the world. There’s so much to see and so many fantastic people to meet, it’d be a shame if you never had a thirst to seek it out.

• Clean is sexy. A good haircut is never overrated.

• If you think your father and I won’t approve then really, really think about what you’re doing because we’re very liberal. It’s a real concern if you’re about to partake in an activity you think either of us hasn’t already done and I’m worried you’re about to set fire to something you shouldn’t.

• You will have fashion disasters to look back on but that’s fine. Because it means you experimented with style.

• Even if you don’t go crazy, play sport of some kind or at some level. Find something physical you enjoy doing to keep your body ticking over. No, sex doesn’t count.

• Please like animals. Your dad may otherwise disown you.

• If you see someone looking lonely, being picked on or being made to feel uncomfortable, remember you can do something about it. You can be someone who makes people feel good about themselves; it won’t make you any less popular. If it does, it doesn’t matter anyway.

“I once made a scrapbook about being like Chantelle Houghton from Celebrity Big Brother and your dad had highlights. I think that’s all we need to say on this.”

• Find a job you enjoy because you’re doing it for a long time. If it’s stripping then please remember you have a shelf life. No one wants to pay money to see flat OAP bum gyrating to Livin’ La Vida Loca. Maybe take an NVQ course on the side?

• Dabble in things; there’s a lot of stuff to do in this world and you might as well give it all a go.

• This does not go for clown school because they terrify me, any far right movement or/and being one of those adult babies. Although if you have to do any of them then fine, the adult baby thing.

• Spend time with people who make you laugh and find a partner who makes you belly laugh.

• Your teenage years and early 20s are there so you can have fun, be silly and enjoy having no responsibilities. Don’t get tied down and don’t worry about things which won’t matter in a few months’ time.

• Read newspapers, books and watch the news.

• Don’t use the word ‘hate’ lightly. You dislike things, you don’t hate them.

• If you want a girl to like you, come talk to me, not your father. Your dad really sucked at dating in his teenage years whereas your mum had it nailed (not like that) (a bit like that).

• Drink, but don’t be a raging drunk.

• Music is so important. I don’t care what you listen to, just make sure you listen to something. Maybe not Dido.

• If you like guys, GREAT. If you like girls, GREAT. If you like animals, let’s have a chat. If you like objects, that’s a condition we can seek information on.

• Dream big. You can genuinely do almost anything if you try your hardest.

• It’s OK to be rubbish at things. We’ll search and find the stuff you’re fantastic at.

• If you’re well off financially, help those who aren’t.

• Sometimes you need to lie about things; it doesn’t make you a terrible person.

“If you Google your dad’s name and find naked photos, don’t panic.”

• As with haircuts, good sex is never overrated. If you’re in a relationship and the sex is bad, get out and run for the hills.

• Being honest in a relationship is key. Don’t cheat when you can leave.

• It’ll take a while to figure out exactly who you are. I once made a scrapbook about being like Chantelle Houghton from Celebrity Big Brother and your dad had highlights. I think that’s all we need to say on this.

• Call taxi drivers ‘sir’.

• Geeky things are more often than not, really cool things.

• Pay good money for decent tailoring.

• Be kind.

• You can enjoy learning, be great at sports AND like sci-fi all at the same time.

• Call home if you’re going to be late because otherwise I’ll come search for you in my dressing gown and flimsy nightie. Aged 47, in front of your friends. I will tell them my breasts are saggy thanks to the years you spent drinking from them.

• Porn is fine, just don’t be the weirdo who watches it too much.

• Your successes are your own. We may have helped you but they’re your achievements.

• I’m sorry that we gave you the middle name Nugget but not that sorry because it’s funny.

• If you Google your dad’s name and find naked photos, don’t panic. If you Google my name and find naked photos, please make me aware of them because that means something’s gone very wrong with my iCloud.

• Cheeky is fine, rude is not.

• Please try to look forward to spending time with your family, even if we grate your knackers.

• Remember that your dad and I love you more than we love each other combined, that we will always look forward to being with you and that we’re never far away.



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Written by Susie Verrill

My name’s Susie, I used to work for sport/fashion magazines in London while feeling cosmopolitan. Now I’m a stay-at-home mum in Milton Keynes who writes during nap time and attempts not to drive to garden centres every day in search of company other than that of a one-year-old.