Raising Sons

(116 Posts)
BertieBotts Thu 29-Nov-12 18:05:41

I'm sure this has probably been done before, but I thought it might be nice to have a new thread on it to discuss opinions/experiences/ideas.

I'm finding my 4yo DS hard work at the moment (I put a thread over in Parenting if you want to know details, I won't replicate it here) and I've had a lot of reassuring replies about testosterone surges but also a lot of the standard "Boys need exercise" and suggestions to read Raising Boys. (And I think these are great helpful suggestions and am very grateful for the responses so please don't think I'm complaining about these blush) - it's just that responses of this type always make me come back to my feminist views and wonder if it's really a boy thing about needing "exercise" and whether you really need a specific book about raising boys, or not.

My gut feeling is that although I don't think girls and boys are fundamentally different, things like hormonal changes obviously will happen at different times and it's worth being aware of these, and also, because we live in a gendered society which has such different expectations for men and women there probably are some differences in approach needed. So I wondered if anyone knew of any books, articles, resources etc about raising boys to be aware of their privilege (without totally disillusioning their sense of self!) respect women/girls as equal, minimising the (societal) link between masculinity and aggression, etc.

The only thing I can offer is the film "Tough Guise" which is very good about society's link between masculinity and aggression. It used to be on youtube but the full thing isn't there any more - it's around 10 years old and American but very relevant here I think too. If you can get hold of it without too much trouble it's really interesting to watch, if not there are various articles, blogs etc about it online.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 19:03:36

My point entirely inde- they learn by example and not by being told. You have to assume that a small DC is intelligent and be subtle otherwise it is counter productive- you get them rolling their eyes at each other and thinking ' mum's on her hobby horse' and they simply switch off. When I tried using stories etc as an example of things I thought were wrong I got, 'it's only a story mum, you don't have to take it so seriously!' - therefore it was much more effective to keep quiet and just set the example- it does go in that way.
I can't see why you would have to say that you don't hit a woman- you don't hit anyone- full stop (with no exceptions)

inde Sun 02-Dec-12 18:26:41

I do swym Bertie and I agree with you. It is the way I was brought up though by my Father and I can't help thinking that if everybody was brought up the same we wouldn't have the problem with dv and men disrespecting woman that we do. I don't think I am unusual. Hopefully the majority of men are the same I'm just explaining why I said it. I really don't know what much else you can say to a four year old. Just set a good example.

inde Sun 02-Dec-12 18:15:54

I think mainly a child will learn from the example set by their parent(s). Especially at the age of four. If boys are brought up in a house where females are not respected they are unlikely to be respectful as adults.

BertieBotts Sun 02-Dec-12 18:09:00

Four year olds should be taught to respect everyone regardless of gender, I don't want to bring DS up to know "You never hit a woman" but that "Hitting is unacceptable full stop". Otherwise you're reinforcing gender roles - that hitting a man is okay, because men might hit first, they're just naturally like that, and force is the way to show that you are dominant and therefore to protect yourself (and your family etc) - IYSWIM?

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 18:08:38

I think guiding children is what you do when I agree with you.

And indoctrinating them is what you do when I disagree with you. wink

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 18:05:34

Sorry, I don't follow this bit: 'I really don't think that indoctrinating boys with the thought that men as a class are privileged if we are agreed that he himself may not be.'

I don't think the OP was suggesting indoctrination, or anyone else, either. But society as a whole inculcates particular ideas, and it's surely not sensible to expect a small child to work out which ones are respectful or disrespectful without any guidance.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 18:04:12

I think privilege is a bit more of a complex issue than a four year old could handle tbh. grin

In fact, lots of adults wrestle with the concept, particularly those who don't want to get it.

inde Sun 02-Dec-12 17:57:15

Yes I so think that as well LRD but I agree with feminists on the DV issue. I don't think that female on male violence is anywhere near as much of a problem as the other way round. On the other point I was replying to the op who said that they weren't talking about individual privilege. I really don't think that indoctrinating boys with the thought that men as a class are privileged if we are agreed that he himself may not be. Even if he is. What are you going to tell a four year old other than he should respect the girls he interacts with?

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:53:01

one of biggest significant influence on children is parents,you impart your values
we teach our children,by our demonstrable behaviors and attitudes
that's why parenting is so imposing,the sheer responsibility of it

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:49:11

and you seem to be over exerting self as to what is or isn't acceptable content
naturally we don't agree

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:48:26

I'm quite keen on both my children (DS and DD) respecting themselves and others.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 17:47:34

Indeed, SM, and MN itself is, I think, a very feminist forum to post on. smile

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:47:07

You're like a stuck record SM.

Any positive ideas for Bertie?

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 17:47:06

Don't you think girls shouldn't hit boys, and boys should respect themselves? confused

I don't get why you think society wouldn't influence an individual, either. If we didn't have society around us we'd never learn to talk, even. How could it possibly be ignored?

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:46:12

mnhq did clarify this in the fem topic debacle fem topic is topic about feminism
mn is a discursive firm,open to all.both genders, parent or not
certainly feminists post but it's not a requirement of mn membership or participation

inde Sun 02-Dec-12 17:45:39

If it's not an individual thing then I'm not sure it's got all that much to do with bringing up an individual.

IMO the main difference to bringing up boys and girls is that boys should be brought up to respect women and that violence against them is always wrong, ie you just don't hit girls ever. Girls should be brought up to respect themselves.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:45:05

Do you have any other contribution to Bertie's thread to make SM?

Love, her values, food and water.... I think we can all agree those are a good idea (although that's only an opinion, I realise I may be wrong on that and other ideas, like ignoring the kids and feeding them only peas for months on end, are equally valid and welcome on the feminist section of MN). Would you like to suggest anything else? We know what you don't want - feminist ideas - but anything positive to suggest?

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 17:42:18

I think MN as a whole is a feminist forum. smile

This is why I like it.

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:40:37

oh tosh,discuss what you want just don't expect everyone to concur
on mn you post,people may or may not agree.that's the rub
fem topics discuss feminism.if you want a feminist forum you'll not find it on mn

BertieBotts Sun 02-Dec-12 17:39:53

FFS, I've not said that at all. You're talking about privilege in terms of individual privilege, feelings, etc. I'm talking about privilege as a social factor which is a totally different thing. And it's not something you can "exert" either because, again, it's a social factor rather than something experienced on an individual level. It's a hidden advantage, if you like.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:39:22

Maybe women wouldn't patronise you if you followed the arguments and didn't pretend people had said things they hadn't and didn't try and put people down by saying or implying that they spend their time manipulating and preaching to their children Exotic?

Just a thought. You don't seem to have any difficulty putting other women down and then acting baffled when they respond in kind.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:36:56

Don't be silly Bertie, you can't have a discussion about a feminist approach to parenting on the feminist board of Mumsnet.

Just like you can't have a discussion about a Christian approach to parenting on the spiritual board.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 17:36:31

This isn't a book. It's a forum. And lots of people obviously do want to chat about ways to impart their values. If you're already perfect at turning out children who share yours, you could just ignore the thread?

It's not 'fatalistic' to presume a boy will have and exert privilege - it's simply the definition of 'male privilege', which is a basic concept in feminism. No-one is forcing you, personally, to agree with that concept, but even if you disagree, there's no element of fatalism there.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 17:34:45

It is actually only women who end up giving me the very patronising 'put down' that since I don't agree I am actually too dim to understand!

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:33:22

we all impart our core values and norms,you don't need book for that
demonstrate your values op,be equitable and fair.raise children you're proud of
and I think it's fatalistic to presume your son will have and exert privilege

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