Young boys are exposed to a variety of positive and negative influences each day. They are bombarded with images from television, movies and the music industry on a regular basis. Boys begin to understand what manhood is from these images and the environment around them. This is why it is crucial to begin teaching boys respect for women and girls at an early age. Parents, teachers, coaches, mentors and relatives, both male and female, all play a part in teaching boys respect for women.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Be a role model. Boys imitate what men do. If your son, brother, nephew or student experiences you disrespecting women, he will believe this behaviour is acceptable and will learn to treat women the same way. Remember, he is always watching, so practice what you preach. Show him that verbally or physically abusing women and girls is out of the question. Demonstrate respectful ways of dealing with conflict such as talking or taking a timeout to cool off.
Teach him responsibility. A mother should be careful not to spoil her son. Teach him how to pick up after himself instead of allowing you to do all the work. Assign him chores and make him responsible for pitching in around the house. A boy who grows up thinking that housework is "women's work" is likely to carry that misogynistic attitude into his adult relationships.
Condemn disrespectful treatment of women. Avoid listening to music or watching movies and television shows that openly disrespect women. Preaching respect for women while bopping your head to the latest lyrics degrading women will send mixed signals to the young man in your life.
Demand respect. Women play a vital role in teaching boys respect for women. Show your son, nephew, grandson or little brother that you will not tolerate being disrespected by him, or anyone else and he will learn that disrespecting women is unacceptable behaviour. On the other hand, if he sees you allowing yourself to be disrespected by men, it will send him the message that this behaviour is acceptable.
Instil character in your son. Mothers are often a child's first teacher. Use your mother/son time to teach your son to value women. Instruct him to help an older woman across the street or open the door for a young woman as she enters a building. Instil these values in him as a boy and he will continue this behaviour as a man.
Tips and warnings
- Young boys usually idolise male sports stars, super heroes and rock stars. Encourage them to see women as equals in these fields, so they will learn that women are equals and should be treated as such.
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