I wish people feared their sons becoming rapists as much as they fear them being gay.
While teaching our daughters to be strong in a patriarchal society, did we teach our sons to understand the concept of women’s autonomy and choice?
Raising a son is scary. One day a girl is going to fall for him and I hope he treats her right, respect her no matter what.
I noticed that dozens of women these days post pictures with their baby boys with the following quote~
“I’m raising a son that your daughter will be safe with, I Promise!”
Now I’m the first to agree that parents hold a huge responsibility when it comes to raising a child who respects women, understands women, and treats every human alike.
One thing that I have pondered is that I feel so passionate about raising my son but together I feel scared and pressured with this heavy responsibility to raise a son who’s gentle, kind, supportive, loving son, friend, brother and partner.
I feel that men experience more pressure or self consciousness around “being manly” than do women on being “womanly enough”, and I have to say that it was an initial point of insecurity that I had in considering my ability to raise a male child.
One of the main suggestions is to teach young boys about their emotions. Encourage them to talk and avoid telling them that “boys don’t cry’. Ensure that we don’t teach them in any way that they are smarter or powerful than girls. This starts with the chores we set them around the house not being stereotypically male.
Teach them ‘No Means No’. Teach them what inappropriate behaviours look like from a young age. Teach them consent. Call them out if they make sexist comments or jokes.
Let him be himself- For children to reach their full potential, they need to follow their interests. So let them.
Encourage friendships with girls
Research at Arizona state University found that by the end of pre school, children start segregating by sex and this reinforces gender stereotypes. But children who are encouraged to play with friends of the opposite sex learn better problem solving and communication. Boys who have friendships with girls are also less likely to think of women as sexual conquests.
Never use “girl” as an insult, “Girl” is still the most derogatory insult that can be hurled at a boy.
As parents, you have some power to change this simply by ensuring our sons don’t grow up thinking that anything traditionally feminine is negative or somehow less than.
I want them to learn that it is important to value everyone’s contributions. I want the boys to know that earning the money is just one part of contributing to the household. The person who makes money is no more important than the one who does other jobs, such as cleaning, organizing and caring for others.
Our son needs to see the male figures in his life- his dad, grandfathers, uncles, teachers, coaches and what respect for women looks like. And he also needs to see the female figures who expect to be treated fairly and kindly.
There cannot be a perfect equation for how to ensure you raise your kids to be non-violent empathetic adults but every skill you equip them will make us closer to that goal. It will raise awareness, it will change attitudes and it just may save a life, afterall you’re not just raising a son, you’re raising someone’s husband and somebody’s father, RAISE HIM WELL !
About our Guest Author:
Aayushi Arora is from Indore and is currently pursuing her graduation in pharmaceutical sciences. She has been writing in her diary since she was 12 but it is only recently that she opened herself on the digital media to let people read her writings.