When we had The Boy, I was momentarily terrified. I mean, I had a sister, no brothers, my mother was a sister, no brothers, my dad raised daughters, and well, who knew how to raise a BOY? And more importantly, how do we raise a BOY who is sensitive enough that all the girls (and their mama’s and papa’s) will be pleased to know him, but who can also kick as when he needed too? I mean, I WAS a girl. Girls I understand. (and, sorta, ya know, fear. haha.) But a BOY?
Fortunately, as my kids are fond of saying, I have the mind of a 16 year old boy, and I think we’ve managed to do pretty well in the past almost 18 years. The boy is strong, sensitive, knows when to fight, when to back down, and most importantly, treats the girls he knows (aside from his sisters, of course) with the utmost respect. They turn to him as the best friend, the one with the strong shoulders, the one they can talk too, who will respect them and not ask for anything in return.
This of course means he doesn’t have a girlfriend – but as I keep telling him, girls marry their best friends, not the asshole badboys. So hang in there, your time is coming…
So how did it come about? There were a few times of disagreement with my husband, but the one thing he ALWAYS insisted on was that The boy never hit a girl. Ever. He and I even fought over that a bit, because I was of the mind that if a girl hauled off and punched him in the face, she kinda deserved what she dished out. Heh. We compromised by teaching the Boy that to hold her so she CANT hit him again is ok. Then it never ever came up, so we didn’t have to worry – because he IS so sweet to his feminine counterparts.
My dad always said that in raising boys, you only had to worry about “one prick in town” but to raise girls was to worry of “every prick in town!” and I’m pleased as all get out to know that the boy is someone parents are pleased to know, that parents trust with their daughters, because he cares for them and takes care of them too. The boy even hugs his mama in public and still tells me that he loves me every single day – even in front of his friends.
So what advice to I have for the raising of boys?
Let them explore. They’re going to do stupid shit – things we think are dangerous, but that’s how boys learn not to do that again (or to do it differently). Remind them that no matter WHAT they do, you’ll be there to pick them up, so that when someone else does something stupid, they’ll be there to do the same. Teach them to respect women, teach him to defend them, and to defend himself. Teach your sons to listen, to think before they act, that it’s not a bad thing to have feelings, and to question why. Sounds lofty, huh? How do you do that?
Lead by example.
It’s really that simple.
Now go hug your boy, and ask him how his day was, huh?