When Reba McEntire gave birth to her son Shelby Blackstock in 1990, she knew she wanted to raise him to become a humble person. Making sure Shelby wasn't "spoiled" was top of mind for her, and there are some specific ways she instilled good values into her son.

"When we would play games or cards, I'd never let Shelby win," she tells People in a new interview.

"He wouldn't have learned anything that way. I always told Shelby, 'I'll always love you, but I want other people to like you,'" she adds, "'So don't be a little jerk. Don't be a spoiled brat.'"

Shelby took the hardworking attitude he learned from his mom into his career as a professional race car driver, and McEntire says people have commented on his demeanor — even to this day.

"A lot of people have told me, 'You would never know [he] had been blessed with the life he was given,'" she shares.

"I'm very proud of him," McEntire continues. "He was a kid who had ADHD and could barely read in school, and now he's read 10 books this year. He's always trying to improve and do better. His daddy [Narvel Blackstock] did a great job too."

McEntire is busy these days balancing her music career and her acting career (she currently has a role on ABC's Big Sky), and when she was raising Shelby, she was just as busy on tour and starring in her sitcom Reba. The singer says she had plenty of help during those days, and she spent as much time with her son as she could between shows.

"I had the best nannies, and I took him on the road with me," she reveals. "When I couldn't, I would fly home after a concert, get him up in the morning, take him to school and pick him up. We'd play until I had to fly out again for a concert that night. I wanted to be with Shelby. Still do."

McEntire also reveals that she felt somewhat "self-centered" before welcoming Shelby with ex Narvel Blackstock, and she and her son remain close to this day.

"Shelby is a gift from God to me," she adds. "We're very close. I was a very self-centered person to a degree before Shelby. But then there's a little character who you are given the job to protect and nurture and love and teach, so all the attention's not on you anymore."

Shelby Blackstock married earlier this year — see photos here.


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