Teaching our children values is arguably the most important role we have as parents. Our son’s perception of women and the relationships he has with them will set the foundation for his life. You play a big role in determining how he sees and treats women. The crazy part is that most of the time we are unconsciously teaching them. Our actions are powerful. Here are 3 lessons that mothers can teach their sons every day without knowing it.
1. A women’s primary role is NOT to care for a man’s needs
My husband wouldn’t even think of picking up the kids’ socks! Don’t get me wrong, he wants them picked up. Some days I think he’s more of a clean freak than I am. But there is one difference. He doesn’t want to do it for them. There is not a bone in his body that instinctively takes that responsibility.
I, on the other hand, have to discipline myself to not pick their socks up. There is something in me that doesn’t mind attending to those things. However, I need to remember that boys who grow up helping around the house are taught that mum doesn’t solely exist to cook and do the laundry. I believe that every boy needs to know how to cook one good meal. He also needs to know how to care for his mother and not demand she care for him.
Reflection questions: Do I do everything for them?
2. Men are not inherently better than women
Testosterone does funny things to 13 year old boys. They can turn into all knowing, all powerful beings overnight. In their effort to grow into strong young men, boys can often put down others intelligence or ability. They often flex their muscles and try to take charge of their mother.
I won’t allow my boys to correct me or verbally push me around, especially when their dad isn’t home. I want my boys to grow up with an understanding of equality between genders and learn to hear women’s ideas and opinions even if they are different to theirs. Women are not weaker or lesser. We are different.
Reflection questions: Does your son talk over the top of you or correct you? Does he think he knows better than you?
3. There is an art to expressing feelings as a man
Despite all the progress in society, boys still tend to struggle talking about their feelings. Male sensitivity and emotion is often seen as weakness. Our sons need to know it’s normal to feel sad sometimes. It is appropriate to cry. They need to know how to express their emotions, not like a woman but a man. Therein lies the difference.
Mothers can coach their boys to communicate well and feel at ease with emotional conversations but your boys will probably never discuss their feelings the way you do. Too much talking about feelings (or anything at all!!!) can cause boys to back away. Talking about emotions without ‘being emotional’ always strikes the right tone in my household. I find that boys repel excessive female emotion, so if they think you will get overly worried or involved they will clam up.
Reflection questions: How well does your son articulate his feelings? How comfortable is he listening to others feelings?
THANK YOU to everyone who has been passing these blog posts on, and for all your kind emails about their impact on your family.
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