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Mums of boys: Not sure how to word this, but do you teach your boys 'chivalry'

(23 Posts)
tryingtobemarypoppins2 Tue 05-Jul-11 21:35:14

You know, open the door, ladies first etc???

Feels like I should. DH thinks I'm mad. DS is 3......I think I have just answered my own post!

TheBreastmilksOnMe Tue 05-Jul-11 21:39:02

I'd say it should be up to the man on whether the believes in it, some women find chivalry patronising, as do men and at 3yrs old he is much too young IMO to be worrying chivalry- children are egocentric it's hard enough teaching them to share!

PelvicFloorOfSteel Tue 05-Jul-11 21:44:09

DS is also 3 and I intend to teach him politeness (I hold doors open for people because it's polite), basic manners are a good plan, treating people differently because of their gender probably not such a good plan.

Totally agree with breastmilk though, I'll be happy if he can master basic sharing. smile

harecare Tue 05-Jul-11 21:45:14

Teach good manners, why make it about ladies first? He should hold doors open, he should be polite and be able to share, but it doesn't matter whether a child or a grown up is male or female.

Guildenstern Tue 05-Jul-11 21:46:30

If chivalry means 'giving women preferential treatment because they're so fragile and delicate', then no. If chivalry means general politeness, then yes.

Goblinchild Tue 05-Jul-11 21:47:38

I teach both of my children manners, so they open the door for others, give up seats to those in greater need, help carry stuff and all other the trappings of chivalrous behaviour.
It's just that I expect them to apply it regardless of the gender of the other person. And they do. DS needs things to be more explicit as he has AS, but it would be illogical for him to treat women differently to men.

wasabipeanut Tue 05-Jul-11 21:47:39

Agree it's all about manners and courtesy at this age. Holding doors open is a pretty gender neutral thing IMO - or it should be.

I fell for DH in part because he had such beautiful manners.

TheBreastmilksOnMe Tue 05-Jul-11 21:48:37

Guildenstern- that's what I was trying to say!

LittlePushka Tue 05-Jul-11 21:51:29

I have two boys aged 3 & almost 5. I teach them manners, of couse ("Boys wait until this lady/man comes through the door" "stand up and let this lady/Man have your seat on this bus" sort of thing. But that is more manners and respect for elders of both genders.

However, I could not justify saying to them eg" Give little katie your umbrella/coat so she will not get wet", or " let the girls go through the door first". I think that that would suggest to them that girls are not equal to them and that they are somehow more vulnerable. And that is the exact opposite of what i want them to think about the female of the species!!!

PirateDinosaur Tue 05-Jul-11 21:55:08

General manners and politeness (e.g. holding door for other people), yes. Treating people differently on account of their sex, no.

mablemurple Tue 05-Jul-11 21:56:18

chivalry is a ridiculous concept in 2011, but it would be nice if parents of boys ensured that girls were respected, and banished talk such as -

criticising things because they are too "girly"

using the phrase "like a girl" as shorthand for being a bit shit at something

ensuring that boys realise that if they happen to be "beaten by a girl" in a race or test, that it is not the most humiliating or shameful thing that could happen to them.

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Tue 05-Jul-11 21:57:22

Thanks all. I am happy with that! Polietness....simple! Thanks all.

Ormirian Tue 05-Jul-11 21:58:47

Teach them politeness and good manners by being polite and well-mannered yourself.

seeker Tue 05-Jul-11 22:00:44

I insist on basic good manners. DP has taken it on himself to teach DS some old fashioned "gentlemanly" behaviour. I do find it rather charming when 10 year old ds (who is not big for his age) insists on walking on the outside when we're walking down the road, or holds door for me.

I take the view that if you have "too many" good manners, you can always drop some, but it's hard to learn them in later life.

merryberry Tue 05-Jul-11 22:03:09

Ladies first, no, I'm too feminist for that. I've had my 5 year old holding doors open since I can't remember when, first for me and his brother as babe in arms and ever-widening it out, he's got it automatically now. I have most trouble getting him to reasonably cede space to people on pavements (inner London), he goes off into his world and doesn't process the fact that someone needs stepping round. His 3 year old brother tries to open doors now, and I spend most of my time making sure he's not pancaked or mown down as a result. He's very keen though.

To me chivalrous behaviour reads as a social method for restraining your armed forces (medieval knights on war horses) from power craziness. Getting them to condescend not to main any thrall too slow in getting out of their way, or to be loyal and true to a more senior person, rather than tempted to take over.

I'm trying to teach mine excellent but democratic manners, and to develop a good dose of 21stC froth and charm along with them.

man I'm going on. Haven't been out with bad cold for days...

Haudyerwheesht Tue 05-Jul-11 22:04:18

Like others have said I teach them both (ds and dd) to be nice and treat others as they'd like to be treated. Ds at the minute is a master at door opening cos I always have the buggy for dd. So sweet.

gallicgirl Tue 05-Jul-11 22:05:13

I have a friend who lives in Florida where they have typical Southern American manners for the most part. Women are always Miss Gallic to be polite and boys are taught to respect girls.

He plays football (as in proper soccer not American football) and up to a certain age boys and girls play separately. In his first mixed match, the girls wiped the floor with the boys as the boys were too polite to tackle the girls! They soon learned that chivalry has its limits. grin

It sounds like you have the right idea OP and its good to know manners are still expected from small children.

BoffinMum Tue 05-Jul-11 22:05:45

I do, because they'll get girlfriends easier if they are considerate and helpful, but we do have a strongly feminist line and they also describe themselves as feminists, interestingly enough. (So does their dad).

Any nonsense about weak females is sat on very soundly.

I think my chivalry protocol would be that if a women is all dressed up in complicated clothing, or carrying lots, or otherwise burdened, they should open the door or give up a seat or whatever. Similarly they should do this for men who appear to need it. It's about being courteous and oiling the wheels of human interaction, and we should all do it.

fivegomadindorset Tue 05-Jul-11 22:07:23

I teach both my children manners, which includes opening doors, etc.

Did you know in Hungary it is the custom for men to enter a bar first (not holding door open for the woman) to protect her from any possible fights going on inside grin

GnomeDePlume Tue 05-Jul-11 22:11:02

Is this the sort of thing you mean?

Out shopping we saw a mixed group of young teens. Girl in the group dropped a handful of coins on the ground. My DS (aged about 6) dived in and picked up coins. Teenage boys stood around laughing at girl thinking DS was going to take the coins. DS handed all the coins to the girl. Teenage boys looked at their shoes and shuffled.

cory Wed 06-Jul-11 08:13:27

I teach all my children chivalry in the sense of protecting those weaker or more vulnerable than themselves. That would mean looking out for smaller children, the elderly, anyone disabled or ill or tired or unhappy. It would mean assuming that in a dangerous or difficult situation the person least able to protect themselves gets help first. But I've never seen any reason to suggest that this person will necessarily be female.

Protecting a smaller boy from being bullied in the playground is chivalry. Cheerfully turning down an invitation to a party to visit an ageing relative in the nursery home is chivalry. Seeing when a teacher is at breaking point and convincing your friends that winding him up is wrong is chivalry. But I can't see that it is linked to gender.

matana Wed 06-Jul-11 16:34:47

As others have said, i'll be teaching my DS to be polite and well mannered and hold doors open to people, regardless of gender, or age for that matter.

MoreBeta Wed 06-Jul-11 16:42:00

tryingtobemarypoppins - you may find this thread rather interesting:

Benevolent Sexism - Should men hold doors open?!

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