Raising boys not just to be men, but to be gentlemen, starts long before they are tweens or teenagers. This post is the perfect place for any mother of boys to start teaching her boys to respect women. There are so many small things that we can teach and model - starting even when they are toddlers! www.themidlifemamas.com

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  1. Thank you for this. We wrote in a previous newsletter about the importance of raising boys (and not just girls) to be compassionate human beings. Through our conversations, role modeling, and deliberate choices we make in what books, movies, and other media, we can steer our children toward kind behavior and thoughtful interactions. Indeed, what we teach our children today will be the foundation for the adults of tomorrow. http://www.doinggoodtogether.org/2015-dgt-newsletters/nurturing-compassion-in-boys

  2. Maybe if you used fewer slurs of the ableist type I would have been able to read what seemed like a great article.

    The word “crazy” is offensive for people dealing with mental health issues. Though to you it may seem colorful language, to many people it is hurtful.

    So, in the spirit of the article (learning to respect oppressed groups), I thought you might want to get this feedback.

    Thanks for speaking out about this issue.

    1. I’m sorry to have offended – it was certainly not my intent. I am aware that the term “crazy” as an adjective would be offensive or hurtful to some with mental health issues. As I used it, as an adverb, the dictionary defines crazy to mean “extremely” and that was my intended meaning. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  3. I am a mother to both boys and girls. While I agree with some of what you said some I do not. Respect goes both ways it is a two way street. If we as women want men to respect us we need to respect how men are wired and that is visually. So if a woman is dressing provocatively most men will get aroused by that even happily married ones. They can turn away or bounce after training themselves to do so and we have already started working on that with our oldest son but that arousal is still there – it can be especially hard as a teenager with raging hormones but it can be done with focus and dilligence. Most men are not taught to look the other way or focus on a woman’s face so they will stare and see her as sexually available or easy. So I am also teaching my girls to expect respect from men but also to give respect back by dressing in a modest way and not drawing attention to their “assets”.
    Unfortunately we live in a fallen world where if you are in a vulnerable position someone will try to take advantage of you. So I will teach all of my children to avoid those vulnerable positions – getting drunk or stoned, bad loans, relationships, etc. – and I will teach them if they are in that position to be able to find and identify good help and to be weary until they find it. I will also teach them that they should make good choices and obviously getting drunk is a bad choice and leaves you incredibly vulnerable. I teach them to help those in a vulnerable position if they can or to help that person to find some good help.

    1. I agree that any time you place yourself in any sort of a vulnerable position, you must be wary. But I don’t think that a woman deserves to be in a “vulnerable” position because a man is aroused by her appearance. Many men become aroused but do not rape. Arousal isn’t the issue; men aren’t animals who can’t control their desires. Many therapists and doctors contend that rape is not about arousal or sex at all; it’s about control and violence.

  4. It is absolutely NOT time to stop teaching girls “how not to be raped.” It must be both. To think there will be a time where girl’s will never have to fear is utopian. Boys must be taught not to rape AND girls must be taught to always be vigilant and aware. But for that matter, anyone can be taken advantage of: raped, robbed, beaten. We should be teaching all of our children to not take advantage of others AND how to avoid being the victim. There is no one or the other.

    1. I agree! It is unfortunate that we can’t stop teaching girls about personal boundries and safety. But we SHOULD NOT have to. Women should not have to learn to walk to the parking lot with their keys splayed in between their fingers. Men don’t. Women should not be afraid to have a drink if they so choose. Men don’t. And any of a hundred other things that women shouldn’t have to become used to. Unfortunately, girls must still be taught safety. I simply think that the burden has been placed on women for too long to learn how not to be victimized. But I absolutely agree that all children need to learn not to take advantage of others and about their own personal safety!

    2. Yes! Erica…This comment is exactly what I was thinking. I am a mom to 4 boys under 8 and am so over the phrase “boys will be boys” and “too bad you didn’t get your girl”. My husband and i decided that when we knew we were having all boys that our job would be to train them to be good leaders in their home and good leaders in their community. This is what we are aiming for but despite this, there was still an “incident” where our 5 yr old was cast as a “perv” for curiously looking downthe back of a girls skirt after she asked him to. That doesn’t make sense to me! We can teach our boys to be good leaders and defenders of women, but if no one is teaching these women their self worth, it’s not going to work. I hope that as a society we can work together as men and women instead of having to fight against eachother and strive to be the “better” sex.

  5. I, too have a daughter and a son. We have had many conversations about respect. Children tend to learn from what they see, more than hear though. What they saw were parents who valued each other. I do not put down my husband (or men, for that matter) by speaking in generalizations about men. My husband treats me and all women in our family and work place with respect. I have spoken to my daughter about respecting herself in relationships as she grew older, but I also told my son that he will need to be the person to show self- control in relationships.
    In the age of women’s rights many young women don’t respect themselves. It seems to be a right of passage today to engage in sex without any feelings for the partner. This is, in my opinion, an issue for both sexes.
    I would like to see a follow up article on the things we should teach our daughters immediately.

  6. Just watched a documentary on Netflix a couple of weeks ago that should be recommended for all parents to watch, “The Mask You Live In.” It’s an incredible look at how we can make the difference in how our boys see themselves and express themselves in the world. The “boy crisis” in America is so much more pervasive than the media. It’s quite daunting to realize that my little boy who is not even 5 and has only been in school for a few short months and not been exposed to the media most of us blame for this rape culture has already been infected by the need to squelch his feelings and not been seen hurt or crying by his peers.

  7. Maybe in the future men can wear clothes that provacatively reveal their testicular cleavage and have the right to be offended if a woman looks at it in disgust.

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