I am raising two boys and most days I feel more anxiety around how I parent them than I do my two girls. I feel a lot of pressure to raise my boys right, to make sure that treat the women they interact with, with respect always.
It would be easy if all it took was for me to be in a happy, functional relationship but it is not that easy unfortunately. We need to actively be talking to our boys not only about respect but also about the abuse of women.
How do you do this?
Explain consent. Repeatedly. When you have the sex talk with your son, explain what consent is. You need to reinforce the meaning of this word repeatedly. It is important to explain that even if their partner seems to be enjoying what they are doing, the minute she says no or resists, they need to stop. When explaining consent make sure you include all forms of intimate interactions like kissing, groping or even hugging. If a girl says no, your son needs to stop immediately.
Don’t accuse. When you talk to your son about this, don’t use an accusatory tone. This will make them get defensive and shut down which will result in them not hearing your message. Try to make it a discussion more than a speech.
It’s not funny. I tend to deal with serious topics with a little bit of humor, this is not really time to do that because it detracts from the serious nature of the topic.
Listen to them. Encourage your boys to talk to you and when they do just listen. Do not judge their questions and if they share a situation where they behaved disrespectfully, help them to make it right without judgement. Teens are still trying to figure out the world so there is a good chance they are going to mess up occasionally. Instead of shaming your child or harshly punishing them, help them to learn from the experience.
Teach them how to deal with their frustrations. It can be incredibly frustrating for a young boy when a girl, who seemed interested turns them down or stops them. The frustration is natural, give your son some tips on how to deal with these frustrations constructively.
Respect them. People who feel respected are more like, in my opinion, to respect others. Respect your son’s decisions and life choices, guide him where you feel necessary but trust that you have equipped him with the skills needed to make the best choices for him.
I believe, as a society, we need to stop saying things like “boys will be boys” when boys behave inappropriately. Boys will only be the boys we allow them to be and I want my boys to be better.
This post is part of the #ForWomen campaign that is not only raising awareness around the abuse of women and children but also equipping parents with the tools they need to raise to children positively.
For more information on this campaign please visit ForWomen.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.
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