Mothers of boys I need your help 24

This parenting lark is hard work.  Just when I think I am doing well, something comes along that gets me questioning what we are doing or how we are doing it.

femanist boys

As a woman I find the fact that I am the mother to two boys something of a challenge and a huge responsibility.  Now before I continue I just want to say this is not about whether or not it is harder to parent boys or girls.

I want my boys to treat women as equals and that will be completely down to the way that we as parents bring them up.  I know that I need to stop just focusing on getting through the day and week with them and start to think about the future and how to mould them in to the men I hope that they will be.

Feminism starts with Men.

I am a firm believer that feminism is as much down to men as it is women,  That men have a responsibility to feminism as much as women do.

So feminism starts with me raising feminists, but how do I do that?

This is what I don’t have answers too.

I know that when one of the boys is crying that terms such as “crying like a girl” should not be used.  That words have so much power.  That we should not use the phrase battered women (the woman didn’t have any power over the abuse), no, it was the man was the abuser, so let’s get rid of that term and put the onus and the man.

I hope that me and MadDad are good role models and examples for the boys.  We both believe that women and men are equal and we have an equal relationship.  I demonstrate that women can do most things as well as men and some things much better.

I show them how to cook and clean, I get them involved.

When they were smaller we didn’t have boys boys and girls toys.  We had a toy kitchen in our kitchen and encouraged the boys to play with dolls and buggies.  In fact they were just copying their daddy’s actions.  They loved pink.  We didn’t reinforce sexual stereotypes.

Then they started school.  Wow, that was a change, soon pink was for girls, blue for boys.  Crying was for sissies and more.

My boys do not need to “Man up”.

I need to work not just raising boys, but gowing men.  I know that they are like dogs, they need exercise, good food and lots of praise, but what else do they need?

So mothers of boys I need your help.  How do I do this, what advice can you give me?

24 thoughts on “Mothers of boys I need your help

  • Pinkoddy

    You’ve said it yourself – their main influence are the men in their life (usually their dad). As long as you ensure he is treating you with respect and as an equal they will grow up to see that it is the norm and model the behaviour.

  • Julie

    Well I’m not a mum of boys, nor a mum at all so not sure what I can say to maybe offer advice. Personally I think it’s not about raising boys to be feminists BUT it’s about raising them to have respect for everyone, regardless of gender. Respect your parents, respect your elders, respect strangers. If your husband shows you respect (which from the post it’s clear he does) then your boys will naturally believe thats how a man should be.

    JustJulie | Beauty Blog

  • Polly

    I don’t have boys, but I’d say that their father is where it has to start – if he models the behaviour to them, they’ll see that that is normal.

    My husband helps out at home, he’ll clean or cook or play with the kiddos so to my girls that is normal, and they don’t think men can’t do these things

  • Kate Thompson

    Joy is right. You and the men in their life lead by example. Kids learn from what they see at home, on TV, read, games they play. Everything influences them as they grow up and you are their biggest single influence.

  • Foz

    Sorry can’t be much help as I don’t have any boys…but all you can do is lead a good example and hopefully they will follow

  • Michelle

    You are leading by example Jen. I remember when my boy was little I bought him a toy cooker, and the bits and bobs that went with it. His grandmother (paternal) ridiculed me for it! I almost told her to piss off! I had a toy cooker when I was younger, and I wanted him to have one too – he loved playing with it, and playing shops etc.

    Raise our children to be GOOD people, that should be our goal as mothers and fathers xx

  • Ali

    I think everyone is equal but mother nature did make male’s and females different there are no two ways about that. In fact she made us all different.

    Respect is so important but it always works both ways. I have known lots of women to be totally disrespectful to men too. Which I find equally unacceptable.

    Just dangerously throwing the other side out there! 😉

    I have one of each, does that make for my balanced parent…perhaps! My two I would like equal respect from both sides. Do I teach Oscar to respect girls more than I teach Bex to respect boys, no.

    The fact is we are equal but different and when that is accepted surely it will make for a happier world! 🙂

    I am sure you are do a fantastic job with your boys! xxxx

  • Sonya Cisco

    Sounds like you are doing a great job to me! We too share domestic duties etc, so my boys will grow up with that as normal. The harder bit is intervening on the external influences I think – even my two year old has come out with some corkers already (which just shows how undermining the influence of the media can be!) about pink being for girls, and oddly that girls are nurses not doctors (which I am blaming Get Well Soon for!) I correct these straight away, but with my older boy we have a discussion on it, why do you think less woman are in parliament etc. Hopefully he will grow up and sort out childcare or something! As for being respectful of women – I am very mindful of avoiding statements like ‘dont hit girls’ preferring ‘dont hit anyone!’ so for me it is about teaching respect for everyone, whatever sex they are. Never hurt someone else, always be mindful of other peoples feelings etc. Ooh i could go on and on, maybe I need to write about this too! 🙂

  • Zena's Suitcase

    I have a 16 yo, and it’s definitely about the example that is set. My lad has never been boisterous and is very caring and understanding. The ethos of the school helps too when it comes to encouraging equality. You are doing a grand job!

  • Rachel

    I’m going to dangerously agree with a comment above, and say I don’t necessarily believe on raising a feminist.,I believe in teaching that everyone is equal – and that girls should also treat and respect boys as equal. It is about mutual respect for both sexes from both sexes for me! That’s just my opinion though – I’m not really into feminism at all!

  • Louisa

    This is an issue I debate after listening to some of the corkers that my teenage son come out with. I cam’t contend with the influences of his peers but we try to lead by example at home. There are no gender specific chores or hobbies. I do enforce treating everyone equally regardless of their sex.

  • Kathryn (@KatGotTheCream)

    I’m with Polly on this one. I think my husband Greig is a great role model for our son and our two daughters just by the way he treats me; sharing the household chores, being supportive and respectful towards me, being strong through his gentleness, kindness and showing that it’s ok for a man to be sensitive and show emotions etc.
    You and your husband are doing just great I’m sure xx

  • Bek

    I think that you sound like you are doing a great job! Positive male and female role models are the key to it all. ‘Do what I do, not what I say’ is a useful thing to remember. The old, ‘Do what I say, not what I do,’ that my Grandparents and parents used never worked as I learnt from what they did repeatedly and continued to do those things in my everyday life.

  • Kara

    I treat mine the way I would want to be treated myself. They learn from role models and have to say that my boys are polite, courteous and (mostly) helpful. They have their moments as all children / teens do, but I am always complimented on their behaviour.

  • Sandy Calico

    I believe you just have to lead by example. You also have to be ready to explain why certain language or behaviour is unacceptable or unnecessary. My boys parrot the phrase ‘there are no boy colours or girl colours, they’re just colours’ whenever anyone tells them they can’t have the pink cup or whatever. Also, if you raise respectful, tolerant, civil human beings, you will raise feminists, by default. You and MadDad are doing a great job.

  • Cass@frugalfamily

    I want to teach my 9 y/o that it doesn’t matter what sex someone is, what colour they (or their hair) are, how much money they have, how brave or clever they are or even whether they love boys or girls. We should respect everyone equally.

    I’m really proud of the way he considers people feelings and cares so much for others and I want to try and keep him that way – a big worry for me will be when he goes to secondary school as I don’t want him to feel he’s got to act differently to be accepted!

  • Helen @ Witty Hoots

    I think teaching respect for themselves and the women in their lives. That women are not possessions to be bought or fought over and that men are not hunters or bread winners/providers. I think that if you try to bring your sons up to be the men you’d want your daughters/nieces/daughters of friends to call friends/partners then you are well on your way. After that it is up to the adult son to make his own decisions. Very thought provoking post.

  • Kate Williams

    Sigh, no real advice but I feel your pain. My son is three and already has been going on about ‘girls toys’ and pink being a girls colour so I dread to think how much worse it will get. I do correct him but I’m not convinced he agrees 🙁

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