Thursday, August 23, 2012

How Can We Raise Boys With Healthy Attitudes Toward Women?

I ask myself this question on a daily basis, because it is my job, and the job of my boys' father to make sure that they understand how women are to be treated.

I'm not trying to say that they should let women steamroller them, but in the light of all of the idiocy being spouted by people like Todd Akin, I try to reinforce to my boys-particularly Bug, since he's of an age where he really interacts with other kids-to respect boundaries.

Let me give you an example.  Bug is an extremely affectionate and loving child, and he likes to greet his friends with hugs and kisses.  He has one little girl in particular that he's very fond of, and his first instinct when he sees her is to run over and give her a hug and kiss.  Well, one day he tried to do so and she screamed, "NO!" and ran away.  Bug looked confused, and attempted to go after her, but I pulled him over to me and said, "Sweetie, Eva doesn't want a hug or a kiss right now, and that's okay.  Sometimes other kids don't want hugs, and so that's when you just need to leave them be.  However, if you want to give Mommy a hug and a kiss, you can, because Mommy ALWAYS wants your hugs and kisses!"  This made him happy and I was rewarded with a hug and a very big, sloppy kiss.

My kids are little, but I strongly feel that it's important to start teaching them these lessons early.  It's okay for others to set boundaries.  It's okay for you to set boundaries.  Sometimes I ask Bug for a hug and he tells me no, and I tell him that's fine, because it is.  I expect Jon to treat me a certain way, especially in front of our boys, and if he falls short I call him on it.  He does the same for me.  Kids learn so much from how their parents interact, and it's our duty to teach our kids that it's okay to say no.

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