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.

5madthings Thu 29-Nov-12 18:08:07

Marking place to come back later...four boys here age 13, 10, 7 and 4.

TreadOnTheCracks Thu 29-Nov-12 18:25:05

I am interested in this too. I have DS almost 6, and work as a TA in a primary school.

I purchased the book Pink brain blue brain, but haven't managed to read it yet.

Svrider Thu 29-Nov-12 18:28:10

My ds is very different to his two sisters
Tho they are also different to each other
Can you just treat him as an individual with his own ideas etc, rather than pigeon holing him as interested in "boy" things

scottishmummy Thu 29-Nov-12 18:32:14

dont read biddulph raising boys,imo its deeply anti-working mums,badly written
im not sure wee boys need more exercise than wee girls.dont like gender clichés
i dont like idea of raising boys,dont like idea of raising girls-prefer to think of raising well rounded wee folk

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 29-Nov-12 18:48:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AbigailAdams Thu 29-Nov-12 19:00:43

Marking my place. I have 2 boys and at the moment they are as different as can be. I have been stunned in fact that the same two people can produce such differing people. So I am even less convinced that girls need one thing and boys need another. As someone famous send there is more differences within a sex than between the sexes. <to paraphrase> That is so true.

I know what you mean about society and your sub concious having an influence though and do you need to think differently about bringing them up. For example we talk to girls more than boys so I make a point of talking a lot with mine (the eldest doesn't need much encouragement!)

Cordelia Fine might be good on this.

webwiz Thu 29-Nov-12 19:01:50

I've just been to read your thread in parenting and your DS's behaviour is very similar to the way DD1 was at 4 (without the willy guitar of course smile) and nothing like the way DS was. I agree with taking the gender issue out of it -you aren't happy with his behaviour so I'd work on that rather than worrying about whether its a testosterone surge or something to do with the fact that he's a boy.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 19:09:24

I would treat him as an individual and not worry about gender. Any child who is hard work needs to be worn out! Lots of mud, walking, running, riding bikes, fresh air, climbing etc.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 19:10:01

You have to deal with the DC you have and not the one you might want!

BertieBotts Thu 29-Nov-12 19:10:30

YY this is what I mean though - I don't want to focus on anything like "Boys need to do a sport" or anything like that because I think that's ridiculous, a person is a person with their own needs, wants and desires, but society places different expectations on (and gives different messages to) boys and girls especially into teenage/adulthood and thought it might be useful to think about ways of countering this perhaps?

DP is very equal/feminist-savvy (although he's a bit bemused by feminism in general, because he would never dream of treating a woman in any sexist way and it baffles him that men still do) but he was raised in a very strongly female household with three older sisters, and DS doesn't have that.

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 29-Nov-12 19:18:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 19:19:54

I wouldn't over think it. Just enjoy your DC and take your lead from them. DCs actually do as you do- they take it in without noticing. You do not need to make a big thing of it, it is likely to be counter productive.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 19:21:08

I have 3DSs- they are as different as chalk from cheese- they need different things.

scottishmummy Thu 29-Nov-12 19:25:25

your ds isn't disadvantaged not having 3 bid sisters.he cant replicate his dad life
raise him with love and laughter and he will be a fine wee boy and fine man
i dont agree children need gender strategies or books to be raised by.just love

MavisG Thu 29-Nov-12 20:12:40

Biddulph's statements about testosterone surges at around 4 weren't scientific/proven, I think he reworded or redacted in later versions.

Totally agree re individuals. And he's very young to be told he's growing up to be a member of the ruling/most privileged class - children aren't privileged & teenaged boys are often quite horribly reacted to/treated, so maybe that stuff is better left (at least explicitly) until adulthood? If you bring him up respectfully and gently (I'm sure I've seen UP posts from you?) you'll have his ear when he's a young man.

MavisG Thu 29-Nov-12 20:15:04

Most privileged/ruling class is a projection, sorry - am raising a white nt, physically able boy & these are the labels/thoughts I have sometimes.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 20:44:27

I agree with Scottishmummy and throw away the books! It is such a shame to have a baby and immediately label them as a member of the patriarchy!
The last thing a DC wants is a parent prosing on in a worthy way- it makes you rebellious! Just set by example and treat them as an individual.

scottishmummy Thu 29-Nov-12 20:58:04

its a shame youre so entrenched about male privilege,and forsee it for your son
dont raise a boy with you ideologically believing him to be potential oppressor or privileged
the counter inference that if you have girl she will have under privileged is fatalisitc

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 21:55:44

A boy has no chance! It doesn't matter what he is like- to some he is the enemy! A girl can have all sorts of 'traditional male attributes' and she is applauded, yet a boy has them and they are not seen in a positive light.

BertieBotts Thu 29-Nov-12 22:58:17

grin Okay okay I'm convinced!

I don't see boys as the enemy though confused I just see a lot of my male peers going around totally unaware of their privilege. You're probably right though that it shouldn't/doesn't need to come from me.

Mavis I have posted about UP before. It's not working very well for us at the moment - more structure needed I think, although after a conversation yesterday he's suddenly decided of his own free will that he wants to go to sleep by himself now, and all I have to do is go and pretend to sleep in my own bed grin Which is nice.

I guess I'm worried about the stuff that's out there now, all the porn, and violent/aggressive video games etc. I know that isn't just a "boy thing". But I work with a bunch of 16-21 year olds and see them totally normalising this stuff when it's attached to males and not so when it comes to women. I'm probably worrying about nothing blush

MMMarmite Thu 29-Nov-12 23:11:51

Being aware someone is privileged doesn't mean labelling them the enemy! (Though I realise that in practice the two sometimes coincide.) All men are given male privilege by society, but many men are great people and allies to feminism. Understanding privilege is about making sure white people don't remain oblivious to the challenges that ethnic minorities face, about making sure young men can see things from a woman's point of view too, rather than never noticing sexism because it doesn't affect them.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 08:00:20

And you do that by living it so that they take it in naturally- you never get it by preaching and manipulating.

BertieBotts Fri 30-Nov-12 08:13:54

Where did I say I wanted to preach or manipulate?

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 08:15:18

You didn't - but you are over thinking. Respond to the DC you have- don't worry about the gender.

AbigailAdams Fri 30-Nov-12 10:00:40

Oh yes Bertie. That dreaded case of "over-thinking". That just won't do! I really am not understanding the insults and hostility on this thread.

All Bertie has asked is basically how do we go about counteracting some of the patriarchal influences that boys will encounter. She wants to stop putting them in the "boys need more exercise" box and also look at how male privilege can be questioned by them as they grow up.

Societal influences will have a huge influence on them as they grow up. So just treating them as a person rather than a gender is probably not going to have as much of an effect as you like as no-one else will do that. In addition there are many behaviours that we exhibit towards girls and boys that we aren't even concious of. Our expectations and the way we interact. We are conditioned too. So surely some kind of couteraction and reaction to the patriarchal influences is necessary?

OwlLady Fri 30-Nov-12 10:03:13

I agree with scottishmummy, I actually think children are that simple, love and chreish them and do your best and things can't go that wrong can they? smile

antimony Fri 30-Nov-12 10:12:11

I'm an overthinker too. Right now (have a 7 yo) I'm focusing on responsibility and domestic jobs a bit - partly because I read an account of boys being much less ready to take responsibility at school for their learning (and tidying). I think being conscious about these things is always good. I have always poured scorn on boy colours/girl colours and toys; but at the same time point out to my son that yes, he's learned the rules that society and advertisers are preaching - but he doesn't have to swallow them. I wonder how far fiction can help? We haven't gone down far the 'boy books' path as both me and him find them boringly formulaic and he still seems very happy to read those many books with female lead characters, which conventional wisdom says boys can't identify with. Will have to see how that goes.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 15:42:20

I answered the question- you counterbalance it by everyday life - you do not need to do more. DCs do as you do and not as you say.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 15:44:24

I'm thoroughly glad I'm not a boy as some people have made up their mind that you are privileged without knowing a thing about you and your circumstances!

merlottits Fri 30-Nov-12 15:49:55

I really liked the Steve Biddulph book and think there is some really good information that rang true for me in there. But I'm someone who thinks boys and girls are different.

FrothyDragon Fri 30-Nov-12 16:41:08

I love that people still aren't understanding male privilege... Am restricted to phone til next week- could someone link to feminism 101's article about privilege please?

It's things like realising that males are statistically better off in almost every aspect of life, due to their sex. I blame the patriarchy. Anything that holds DSs back is likely to be outside factors, that would affect a female back to a greater extent. You can't escape male privilege, but men can challenge how they use it.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 16:49:22

As the only girl in the family and the eldest I was the privileged one!

FrothyDragon Fri 30-Nov-12 16:56:45

You truly believe that, do you?

Do your brothers have children, exotic? If so, how much time did they take off to raise a family? How was their career impacted by having children? Did they ever have to deal with threatening harassment? If they ever experienced violence, who was the perpetrator?

You may have felt privileged in the family, but look at the bigger picture. Who fared better in society, with the lesser effort?

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 17:10:27

I am immensely privileged that I had time off to have a family. I adored being at home with DCs and wouldn't have missed it for anything. Unfortunately my brother hasn't had the chance to have time off work- he would have loved it. He is stuck in his job until retirement and would love to get out. My other brother doesn't have DCs. As men they have experience violence- I haven't.

Doing family history we come from a long line of farm labourers - very poor- I think that if they were around they would laugh at the idea they were privileged!

Luckily DH didn't want time off to raise DCs or I would have been very upset to leave him at home and commute to work.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 17:30:00

And my SIL has had a wonderful life with horses- not hindered by paid employment!

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 17:30:42

Anyone would think DCs were a penance not a joy!

BeerTricksPott3r Fri 30-Nov-12 18:39:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 21:28:28

I would say that we were the privileged ones to have the choice. I was able to spend the first 5 yrs of my DCs life at home with them,and loved every minute, SIL has been able to have a life with her horses, other SIL has been free to be a writer without a day job and other SIL has been able to teach yoga and do counselling (neither earn a living) -that is real privilege rather than be a wage slave on a career ladder.

scottishmummy Fri 30-Nov-12 22:23:21

it's sad you're so fatalistic in expectations of son op
you seem to expect son be privileged,to grow up watching porn,lording it
really this is all very fraught and handwringing about how son may turn out

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 22:41:43

A boy can't win-whatever he thinks he is labelled- merely because he is is male.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 30-Nov-12 23:45:26

Wow, I had no idea there were jobs where you could subsist for five years looking after your DC without an income, or being free to write without a day job. Where do I sign up?!

I don't understand why you think boys should 'win', exotic - I prefer the idea of neither gender 'winning' but see that some people are still outraged at the idea of boys not automatically winning everything. That is why boys still need some counteraction of that message from their mums, I assume.

exoticfruits Sat 01-Dec-12 07:28:07

I think that you are taking my 'win' the wrong way. It wasn't meant like that at all- it was just to show that even if they came out of the womb with ' I am not a member of the patriarchy' notice on them they are still perceived that way!
Lots of women stay at home with DCs, write books , do part time jobs, keep hens, have 20 years off as a Home Educator, paint pictures,work a few hours as dance teachers, start a business at home, do B&B etc etc- it is hardly unusual! Lots more of them than men. I'm sure that lots of men would like to and can't. A minority of men manage it if they have a DP who wants to be the main breadwinner. You sign up by becoming a unit where you are not in competition. If you both want to stay on a career ladder then you arrange it that way.
I have managed to do exactly what I want in life which is why I much prefer being a woman. I would hate to have left my DCs in childcare so that I could do paid employment- I have been able to work part time around them.

If you live your life as an equal you show by example - you don't need to hit it home with a sledge hammer. I regret using the word 'winning' - I had no idea that people would take it literally. Why should anyone 'win'?confused

I can't see why anyone thinks it odd for half of a partnership to exist without a day job (man or woman) there are lots and lots of examples all around the country- to be seen at any school gate!

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 01-Dec-12 07:46:26

One of the key groups that have been targeted over the years as underachieving in education throughout their schooling and failing to achieve results in examinations are white, working class males.
Teenage males are amongst the most demonised figures in our society, they often engender fear by merely existing after dark, especially if they are with friends.
I have a girl and a boy. I expected them to take an equal part at home with any household tasks, to talk to others with respect and to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions. To not use their gender as a reason or a justification for anything, from colour choices to career options to who should do a particular activity.
My OH and I have modelled that to them all their lives.
Good luck OP, love the child you have and deal with individual situations and attitudes as they arise, rather than attempting too much pre-programming.

Yama Sat 01-Dec-12 07:47:53

Bertie - I have looked around at the men I know.

Many have attitudes which I care not for. Generally this comes from upbringing and/or ignorance.

Then I look at the men who are like your dp. My dh and my brothers for three. Brought up in very different family dynamics. Dh brought up an only child of a single mother, my brothers with sisters and parents who are still together.

Somebody else on the thread said it - you and your dp are a huge influence. Keep modelling the behaviour you want him to emulate.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 01-Dec-12 08:05:26

For example:

" My DS says that xyz are for boys not girls, what a dreadfully sexist attitude, how can I change this?"

" Who deals with the car, who drives when you are both in the vehicle? Who deals with the garage, the power cuts,the bins, the xyz in your house? Who does the traditionally manly man things?
Do you do more of those and does your partner do more of the traditionally female jobs to counteract the messages society sends?"

" Squeak...DH does . Because he likes to do them and I ....um...."

exoticfruits Sat 01-Dec-12 09:10:32

*I expected them to take an equal part at home with any household tasks, to talk to others with respect and to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences of those actions. To not use their gender as a reason or a justification for anything, from colour choices to career options to who should do a particular activity.
My OH and I have modelled that to them all their lives.
Good luck OP, love the child you have and deal with individual situations and attitudes as they arise, rather than attempting too much pre-programming.*

An excellent post-in a nutshell what I am trying to say. My parents lived it-DH and I live it. I can get out a power drill and put up a shelf, DH can do the ironing. DCs take it in as naturally as breathing.
I don't do anything with the car engine because despite a course on looking after your car I hate it. It is all about choice as a couple. I couldn't stand being in a high powered job and missing my DCs first steps, something money can't buy, or saying 'I can't see your nativity play, I'm not in the country that week. It is all personal choice-if you want it then go for it!

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 01-Dec-12 09:26:36

I just think that 4 year old children learn best through first hand experience, and that you are the controller of his world at the moment, so his experiences and interactions are hugely under your influence.
So think about every word you say, everything he observes you and others around you doing, all the interactions and expectations and attitudes he is exposed to from relatives and people he actually interacts with rather than the second-hand media.
In the same way that you would for a girl.

TreadOnTheCracks Sat 01-Dec-12 15:36:43

OP you mentioned you were worried about the effects of porn and the pressures sociiety brings for our children.

I liked this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/21st-Century-Boys-Modern-Drive/dp/1409103382/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1354376060&sr=8-10

Of course lotsof it does apply to girls too.

A very interesting thread and many posts have made me think.

scottishmummy Sat 01-Dec-12 19:01:48

no one needs book about how to raise boys or girls.what a con
raise your children with good values.love,praise and encourage them
our children observe us,live within our norms, are exposed to our values.

LRDtheFeministDude Sat 01-Dec-12 19:45:58

exotic - while I appreciate you replying to explain and I appreciate you saying you regret your terminology, I (literally!) do not understand this:

'I regret using the word 'winning' - I had no idea that people would take it literally. Why should anyone 'win'?'

WTF do you imagine that phrase means in any other sense than 'literally'?! It's 'metaphorically' or 'figuratively' fine for boys to 'win'? And you assume that no-one should assume, when you say that, you really mean it?


The fact you cannot find a way to think about boys without using terminology in which they 'win', even when you yourself are forced to admit you don't see why anyone should win ... that is just mind-blowingly ridiculous.

If you can't even find words for equality, why on earth you imagine it's daft for someone else to explain the concept verbally to their children, I can't follow.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 08:03:06

I wasn't using win in the way that you have taken it. I will just tie myself in knots if I try further.
I agree with Scottishmummy. I am not going to heap the whole sins of the patriarchy on my DSs, as they come into the world completely innocent and have imbibed the principles of equality, because they have had them as examples all their lives.
DCs do as you do and never as you say. They spot hypocrisy. It is like parents trying to keep their DCs on a diet. If you want your DCs to drink water you drink water yourself, you don't drink coke and give them water!
It is pointless telling boys that women are equal if they see their father doing nothing in the house. If the father is putting them to bed, cleaning the bathroom while mother has gone out with friends they take it as normal- you don't have to tell them that mothers can go out and fathers can do housework!
My brothers didn't have to have things explained to them- it would never have occurred to them that their education might be more important than mine because it wasn't! We did household tasks equally etc.
You do not need to do anything except bring up your DC with love, security, boundaries, sense of humour etc - and they will turn out fine. It has worked with mine and I haven't prosed on in a worthy way to get them to see women as equal- I set by example and still do. I am not going to label them from birth as the enemy who need 'educating'- they are individuals.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 08:47:46

I see the under-thinkers are out in force.

Being privileged isn't a choice you make. You're born with it. I'm white and I was born in the western world at a time when working class people were given really good access to education (full grant, remember those days...) so I was lucky enough to gain educational privilege, unlike millions of women (and men) in the world who are denied access to education. I am able-bodied, which means if I want to go up to London today, I can just stroll down to the train station, get down the stairs to the platform and get on a train, unlike my fellow-travellers who have a disability and therefore need to book someone to help them get to the platform 3 weeks in advance, or in fact find it can't be done so if they want to travel, they need to do so by car. That's able-bodied privilege at work.

I have white privilege which means that when I go for a job interview, I am likely to be taken more seriously than a woman of colour with the same qualifications and presentation skills - not because I'm a horrible racist cow who is choosing to be privileged, but because racism is still absolutely embedded in our society, in people's deepest darkest psyches where they're not even conscious of their assumptions and beliefs. I am an anti-racist; I believe in equality and I find racism puzzling, stupid and disgusting. That doesn't mean I've lost my white privilege because of my views: being white gives me an unfair advantage, being male gives a man an unfair advantage. How we behave, what our views are, what our politics are, what our attitudes are, is absolutely irrelevant - our privilege exists, it's there, it's real. Statistics prove it, unless your explanation for the stats is that black people are inferior to white people and women are inferior to men. That's not my explanation, my explanation is the existence of unacknowledged, unrecognised privilege.


FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 08:56:04

And Bertie, no you're not over-thinking this, there's no such thing as over-thinking, we're human beings and we're designed to fucking think.

I'm in the middle of reading something called "Protecting the emotional life of boys". It's not a feminist book, it's just a book which acknowledges that because of the gender-policing that goes on from birth in our society, boys are heavily pressurised into behaving in a certain way, denying their feelings, being brutalised from an early age to "toughen them up" by parents terrified that their sons will be bullied by the sons of other parents who are so terrified that their DS's will be bullied that they've toughened them up. It's an interesting read.

Role modelling, talking etc. all important. Reassuring them that they're allowed to express sadness, fear, loneliness, uncertainty, without being designated a cissy.

Ooh I've just remembered something else. Not pushing them into the man box


BertieBotts Sun 02-Dec-12 09:08:19

Those sound good Fastidia, thanks smile

VestaCurry Sun 02-Dec-12 09:09:30

Marking place, interesting thread.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 02-Dec-12 09:17:19

Fastidia, what is there in your second post for anyone to disagree with?
Refusing to accept the gender-defined roles that our society decrees appropriate is the only effective way to change them.
Enabling that to happen IRL, so that is the direct experience that children are getting on a moment by moment basis is how they learn.
How were the under-thinkers disappointing you ( I'm assuming you meant exotic and me) , and how is your attitude and beliefs affecting and enhancing the raising of your son or sons?
Are you finding that you have been able to raise the kind of young man we would all like to see? How have you helped him be strong enough to stand up and be different?
I'm quite pleased with mine, although there is always room for improvement, but in many ways his AS has made the job simpler because he is logically-driven and most sexism is illogical.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 02-Dec-12 09:24:53

I went on a lot of training courses as a Probationer in Brent in the early 1980s.
All their discrimination awareness was based on the premise that whites are inherently racist, that all males were inherently sexist and benefiting from male privilege and that recognising and accepting those facts were necessary first steps to awareness and working on the issues with clear sight of where you were coming from as an individual. Which I was startled by at the beginning, but became obviously true as I listened and learned.
It is an uncomfortable moment, but the key is how to translate the theory into appropriate learning experiences for children to effect change, and the best way of delivering those ideals and philosophies so that they become part of that child's understanding of the world and their place in it.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 10:55:51

The underthinking thing was me being pissed off that Bertie's started a thread in the feminist section to discuss the thorny, complicated, difficult, fascinating issue of raising sons in a patriarchal society and she gets slapped down as over-thinking it. It really pissed me off, it's incredibly unsupportive as well as stupid. I wasn't including you as an underthinker, btw, NB, you didn't tell Bertie she was over-thinking or was wanting to preach or manipulate, or was blaming her DS for being a patriarch the way some of these posters did.

It really fucks me off that in the feminist section now, someone can come on asking for support to think about how to approach life and parenting and the usual suspects pile in to imply that they've got no right to ask for that support, because we're all equal now. It strikes me that it's really not consistent with Mumsnet ethos of support. To start whining about how poor boys will get the blame for patriarchy because someone has asked for support in discussing how to approach parenting of sons when they are surrounded by misogyny, strikes me as a not very subtle silencing tactic and not at all supportive as the Mumsnet ethos requests.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 11:07:25

I suppose in some ways my job is easier because I am a lone parent and don't have to counter any gender-policing within the home, which lots of mothers do have to contend with (and indeed lots of them go in for gender-policing themselves). Also as far as role-modelling goes, DS has seen me do it all, as it were, so doesn't assume one thing is done by men and one by women, though the outside world is telling him this all the time. I've used a lot of humour, for example, in discussing dvertisements, TV programmes etc. and taking the piss out of the blatant sexism of them

I guess it's working to some extent because he seems very happy and confident. He's not particularly tall, not sporty, was quite timid and gentle when little and so did get bullied at junior school.

Here's another thing - school is really important, the ethos of it, the values of the school. His junior school was a bog standard school so he wasn't happy there and he was lonely and quite often excluded and ignored, but the school he goes to now has enabled him to flourish; he's happy, confident, good at arguing his case, popular and respected with his peers, unafraid to be the eccentric in the class. That's partly down to parenting I suppose, but it's also down to school - people should not under-estimate outside influences, schools, peergroups etc. - their values and ethos can crush a child regardless of how positive your parenting might be, I think it's really important to remember that.

5madthings Sun 02-Dec-12 11:22:43

Oh wow this got ummm intetesting.

I was going to say that obviously we as parents are the best role models for our children. I am.teaching my children to treat all people as they would like to be treated themselves.

But as they get older there are othet influences and yes ad a mum of four boys i sm concerned about the impact of porn and othet influences on teen boys. We have controls on our pc etc and talk about these things as and when they come up.or the boys ask etc.

I am interestex in the link back a page? Re porn and boys, can someone make it clickable? I am on my phone so cant at the moment.

Shall look up that other book as well.

No-one is saying we want to pigeon hole our boys, yes we treat them as individuals like any orher child but i think.its foolish to not be aware of other social/media etc influences, particularly the internet and the impact they can have.

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 15:05:28

the fem section isnt some protected territory were one must adhere to prescribed pov
fem section like all sections of mn,will garner range of opinions. theres no house style or house pov
just because one disagrees with some posts isnt licence to whine about misogny and what about the menz

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 15:26:22

Fastidia you are deliciously obnoxious.really
the under thinkers lol, do you mean anyone who has temerity to disagree with you
lets be clear,discursive forum one needs to be able to tolerate opinion one no likey.

your inability to tolerate other pov well thats your foible.
lets recall the fem boards have had this before,the vociferous minority attempt to tell people what opinions were and were not appropriate. cue name calling.much hand-wringing about purpose of fem topics and some flouncing

mnhq clarified its a topic about feminism, all pov welcome

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 15:46:14

I am not being unsupportive - I am answering the question and that is that you live the life and set the example. I wish that everyone, in all walks of life and all subjects would do the same and it would be a far better world! An example is religion, if you want to convert someone it is far better to shut up, live the life and let people see what it means to you-you do not need to all evangelical and turn people off!
The males in my family have never been ' part of the patriarchy'. It it matters not two hoots- the only way that they could convince some people is by becoming female! They just live life in an equal way. I have 3 DSs- they have always been called 'kind and caring' they turn their hands to anything.DS is cooking the meal tonight- I have no idea what he is cooking- he has shopped for it and I don't need to get involved. Their friends are male and female and don't get all caught up on the gender thing- these days the girls seem to be doing much better in the employment stakes anyway.
I get totally fed up that on feminists threads you are allowed one view and one view only- you are told you are not wanted if you dare to voice anything different.
I am a role model, as is DH, grandparents, uncles, aunts etc. I do not see the need to have to preach and manipulate, if my mother had done that to me it would irritate me like hell! She didn't need to, she lived it everyday without having to mention it. My grandmother might have been born late 19th century but she was a strong women and was equal.
It is no wonder that people keep off feminist threads - if we don't just want to be 'yes' women.
Treat your DC as an individual, respond to the one you have and forget about the gender.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 16:36:35

"Fastidia you are deliciously obnoxious.really"


You cannot conceive of how satisfying it is to be called obnoxious by you of all people SM.

Thank you.


FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 16:43:00

"The males in my family have never been ' part of the patriarchy'. "

Really? They come from Gallifrey, do they? How exciting for you. I'm almost jealous. Almost everyone else on Earth is part of the patriarchy, whether they acknowledge it or not.

Once again Exoticfruits, you've used the words manipulate and preach with regards to bringing up boys in a patriarchy. That's you being supportive is it?

Thing is, you have every right to think it's all a load of nonsense. But when someone actually wants to discuss this seriously with other people and get ideas about how to bring up their children, what works, what doesn't, what people have found useful, what they haven't, it is deeply bizarre to feel the need to keep telling them that they shouldn't be seeking support and ideas about this. Do you do this on other sections of mumsnet, or just the feminism board?

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 16:51:28

this is a topic about feminism,not a feminist forum.all views welcome
I wouldn't advise anyone to buy a book about raising boys or girls.unnecessary
nor would I start from premise that boy is privileged. some are,some are not

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 16:53:02

Mmm. I think Gallifrey had a patriarchy too, TBH.

BertieBotts Sun 02-Dec-12 16:57:55

But that's the whole premise of feminism that men are privileged in comparison to women confused

Anyway, this thread appears to have gone off on a random tangent, not exactly what I hoped for, but oh well.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 16:58:28

What on earth is wrong with saying live your life by example? I really don't know what men have to do- regardless of how they live their life, their opinions etc, they are 'the patriarchy'. Drown them at birth and have done with it!

Mine are now adults and the way that I have brought them up has worked without lots of prosy preaching from me- enough to irritate even the best natured of people!

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:00:08

ooh yes that's prob true LRD.

<racks brain for planet with no patriarchy.>

SM you seem slightly obsessed with all views being welcome here. Does that mean I have to agree with every single under-thought-out view I read on the feminism section? Am I allowed to disagree? What about in AIBU? Are we allowed to disagree with each other there?

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:03:09

op do you think your do and son are privileged in comparison to women?
or can they both change and modify their behaviors?are girls destined to remain under privileged?
the likely socioecomoc educational outcomes of a white mc female exceeds that of a poor bme male. not all males are automatically privileged,you need factor in class, parent demographics,socioeconomics factors

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 17:04:00

No - but we can disagree with you Fastidia.Any views are just as valid.There are no 'right' answers, merely opinions.

5madthings Sun 02-Dec-12 17:04:03

There is nothing wrong with saying raise your children and lead by example, thats what we should all do but we dont raise our children in a bubble! There are lots if other influences from society, the media, friends, school, peer groups etc and technology and the information available via it can also have an impact.

Sharing thoughts and ideas on how we deal with these things andcwhat helps/works etc is part if what mnet is good at.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:05:07

Exoticfruits, I'm never quite sure if you genuinely don't understand what people are saying or just pretending not to understand.

Where did anyone say drown boys at birth or subject them to prosy preaching from the moment they were born? Where did anyone say that only men are part of the patriarchy? Where did anyone say that leading by example was a bad idea?

It's actually impossible to have a sensible discussion with someone who doesn't appear to be following what has been said.

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:07:27

fastidia you seem preoccupied it's not feminist enough and underthinkers are spoiling it
presumably "underthinkers" is anyone having temerity to disagree with you
if someone rocked up else were on mn telling others how to post,or expectation of content yes I'd contest that too

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 17:09:31

I am just thoroughly glad that I am not male.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Dec-12 17:10:21

I have always felt immensely privileged to be a woman.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:10:22

"the likely socioecomoc educational outcomes of a white mc female exceeds that of a poor bme male."

But you're not comparing like with like.

To have a gauge of whether all things are equal regarding gender, you need to compare a white mc female with a white mc male and a poor bme male with a poor bme female.

We've had this very basic not very hard to over-think concept discussed over and over again. You know this SM. <Shrug>

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:12:21

LOL, I'm not preoccupied with whether you're feminist "enough" or not sm, it's of no interest at all to me.

I am interested in feminist ideas though, I don't think it's totally unreasonable to look for some in the feminist section. Won't be starting a thread abut it in AIBU though.

LRDtheFeministDude Sun 02-Dec-12 17:13:03

There are right answers. I don't know who has them but it's idiotic to pretend there are no right answers in the world.

There are. Your children must know this, even if you never tried to teach them.

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:15:09

I too am interested in feminist discussion on mn
unlike you I don't call people underthinkers if their opinion differ from mine
and you need to expect divergent koi io son mn.it's not feminist forum so you will encounter views you are not necessarily interested in.that's the rub

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:15:14

For the record SM, underthinkers is anyone who has the fucking brass-neck to tell a poster asking for support, that she's over-thinking things.

I think that 's a shitty thing to do and totally against the ethos of mumsnet. If someone wants support on something I think is stupid, I just ignore the thread, I don't go on there and tell her she's over-thinking it and should just get on with it. That's a horrible thing to do and it pisses me off that people think it's OK to do it to women asking about parenting on the feminism boards, but they wouldn't think it was OK to do it on any other boards. It's just horrible.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:15:58

You keep on telling me I'll meet posters whose views are divergent with my own SM.

I'm aware of that.

As I say, you seem obsessed.

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:21:16

you may be aware other views permissible,but are dismissive of them
now I see you're trying to dismiss this as my personal obsession.not so
think you'll find I mirroring mnhq stance,lively topic,all views welcome

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:22:30

But your views aren't lively.


FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:23:08

Sorry, you want me to be not dismissive of them?

You want me to agree with them?


BertieBotts Sun 02-Dec-12 17:23:43

Yes I "believe" in male privilege. Which, as has been explained by others, is not about individual privilege. So.. I don't really see the point in explaining that over again, there have been links and explanations etc.

If you're talking about feeling privileged to be a woman, taking other factors into account, then you're misunderstanding the term as it was intended.

scottishmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 17:25:37

is that your best put down.how very lame
anyhow I think op is actually getting too socialsciencetastic about this.
if she raises her son with good values,and love he'll be fine man.no book required

BertieBotts Sun 02-Dec-12 17:30:38

No, nobody needs a book, but I like reading books. And I happen to be a sociology student so I'll take that dig with slight amusement.

I mean, does it really harm to talk about this stuff? It's not like I'm going to sit him down and lecture him about the evils of giving into your masculine desires and sign him up for ballet just to make a point despite the fact he hates dancing. It's just a discussion?

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 02-Dec-12 17:30:46

The OP wants some ideas beyond the obvious. Good values and love are a given, that's a bit like saying she should give him some food occasionally, that's a good idea as well. I'm not dissing good values and love, like food, they're a basic, but I don't think OP needs to start a thread on MN to get that and tbh I kind of assume she's doing that already.

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

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

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?

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 17:47:34

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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.

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 18:08:38

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

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?

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.

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.

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)

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