Parenting comes with its anxieties, struggles, and pressures. It’s safe to say that raising a boy and being a parent is not a cakewalk or an easy task. However, with the political climate of the 21st century with gun violence, bullying, events of drug abuse, and the #MeToo wave, it’s time to rethink the ways in which we raise boys.
Being a parent and raising boys in today’s day and age is difficult compared to what it was in the 1970s. Today’s boys have to be raised with a different set of values, prioritizing empathy and respect for all, amidst other important things.
Why is raising kids today is a lot different than what it was 30 years ago?
It would be unfair to say that our parents did a bad job in raising us, considering that no young couple has the parenting job down. But things have changed drastically, especially in the past few decades.
Earlier, raising kids was simpler. Boys were groomed to be “men” and girls to be “women”. Now, the entire definition of “men” and “masculinity” has changed. It is not entirely wrong to say that the previous generation grew up in a toxic masculine environment.
Don’t get us wrong, there were good things too, like, the previous generation was more tolerant and you didn’t have to be politically correct 24/7.
However, today, in the 21st century, with the fragile cultural and political climate, every notion which was previously learnt and taken for granted has to be questioned. That includes questioning traditional notions and roles of masculinity and femininity. Today, we are not raising a boy to just be a “man”, the breadwinner and the sole authority. We are raising a boy to be a human first, to be sensitive and empathetic.
If you’re a new parent who is riddled with anxiety and the question of “How to raise a boy?”, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are the values every young parent should inculcate while learning how to raise a boy.
Values you should inculcate while raising a boy
Even though the jury’s still out on the traditional concept of chivalry, we believe that it is necessary to teach a young man how to be chivalrous. You can’t raise a boy without chivalry. It’s important to bring back chivalry since our society has forgotten basic etiquettes and manners towards each other.
Chivalry is simple. It’s a basic moral compass of kindness and courtesy. Everyone needs chivalry. Developing respect for each other is a value that needs to be inculcated at a very young age, and it’s better now than never. Certain old-school manners like holding the door open for someone and saying “please” and “thank you” go a long way. If you’re wondering what value to teach first while you raise a boy, then you’ve just found it!
The age-old conception of “Boys don’t cry” is out the window. Everyone needs to be vulnerable. It’s important to tell your boy that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone needs vulnerability in their life, in fact, vulnerability is an act of courage.
There is nothing courageous than owning your emotions and being accountable for them. Thinking about how to raise a boy? Tell your child to trust his feelings and that his feelings are valid.
Listen to what your child has to say. Listening to kids helps in inculcating empathy. And, there is nothing more important in life than the value of empathy. Remember that you do not have to wholeheartedly agree with what someone has to say to be empathetic.
Empathy doesn’t mean endorsing someone’s feelings, it means merely affirming them. This is the number value when it comes to the question of how to raise a boy.
4. Boundaries and Consent
The importance of these two things while raising a boy cannot be stressed enough. Boys become men when they learn about boundaries and consent. It’s important to practice these things in order to instil values. Merely lecturing your boy won’t work.
It’s important to let your son know that he has every right to determine who touches his body and the same goes for everyone. If someone refuses a touch, then he shouldn’t force it. Everyone needs to take permission before hugging or kissing, even if it’s someone as close as his aunt.
5. Preventing the Superiority Complex
A survey discovered that about 40% of elementary school boys in the US feel that they are smarter than girls. When you’re preparing how to raise a boy, you should prevent this type of condescending feeling at any cost. This goes way deeper into the value of respect. If young boys and girls don’t learn how to treat each other equally, they will never learn respect. Remember that there isn’t any pride in being condescending or thinking you’re superior to someone else. And, boys need to learn how to see girls equally from a very young age.
On a much deeper level, this shouldn’t be just focused on gender. Boys need to get along with everyone different from them. Raise a boy to teach him that he should be respectful of people regardless of sex, religion, race, socio-economic status, etc.
6. Control Aggressive Behaviour
It’s important to tame “tough guy” and “hyper-masculine” behaviour. Data show that boys are much more likely to be bullies and commit crimes compared to girls. The majority of mass shootings are also carried out by men.
Limit the amount and content of violence your boy is exposed to, even if it’s coming from comics, video games, or the television. Remind him that even if anger is a valid emotion, it should be controlled. He cannot express anger in a way that is menacing towards others. Disapprove violent behaviour from a young age. Raise a boy with peace and tolerance.
We know that parenting and trying to raise a boy can be hard, but it’s nothing you can’t conquer with the rights set of values and lessons. Be a good role model while raising a boy. Young children learn the most from mimicking and imitating their parents. Therefore, behave the way you want your son to behave. If your son follows in the right footsteps, he’ll be a great man.
And talk to your boy now and then. There is no greater gift in life than a conversation with your father!