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Bringing up boys

(75 Posts)
MmeLindor Thu 25-Oct-12 11:22:06

I have been asked about bringing up boys, and wondered if anyone had experiences or ideas they would like to share.

A blogger asked if she should be doing more than just teaching by example to instil feminist ideas into her young son.

My 8yo already knows about feminism, we chat with his elder sister about women being equal to men, and girls being just as capable as boys etc.

Does anyone know of blogs/articles etc on this topic?

I'd like to write about it, and not sure where to start.

inapineappleunderthesea Thu 01-Nov-12 01:09:48

I think that all thats needed is to teach or show boys & girls that you have to treat everyone the same,regardless of gender,where exactly does feminism fit in? The most important thing is that they are taught right from wrong,i.e its wrong to discriminate towards someone because of their gender, what is also needed is to treat others as you yourself would like to be treated,I have told my 2 Daughters that if anyone ever picks on them,to try & reason with them & if possible find out why they pick on them & to also try to be as understanding as possible,if that fails & they are repeatedly picked on or bullied/hit,then they have to stick up for themselves,otherwise it will only get worse.I'm a Father btw & my 2 Daughters mean the world to me & always will.
sometimes us adults overcomplicate things that are really simple,if more parents took the time to actually spend time with their children & talked with them & listened to them & played with them,they would grow up to be more rounded individuals & contribute to the society we all live in & therefore make it a much better place for all,whatever gender,colour or religion anyone may be.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Thu 01-Nov-12 01:14:42

My DS is 8 and I have tried to bring him up so far with an awareness that women are human too. He's always been allowed any 'girly' toys he wants, any time anyone has said anything sexist I've had a little chat along the lines of 'only silly people think that, DS', and managed to get his dad to STFU with his 'ironic' I'm-a-cool-media-person-who's-allowed-to-joke-about-Wimmins-Lib bullshit.

inapineappleunderthesea Thu 01-Nov-12 01:21:29

sorry but whats STFU? well it sounds like you are doing a great job with your son,more parents need to be like that,there are too many stereotypes nowadays!!! children should be told that its ok to be themselves & they shouldn't be forced to be something they are not just because others may not feel comfortable.

IvanaDvinkYourBlad Thu 01-Nov-12 02:10:10

Mme apologies for this not being a cohesive thought, but wanted to add the whole concept that a boy showing any interest in "girly" things is perceived as weak / wussy etc. I never realised how ingrained it was that girls do x and wear x (and even eat x!) whereas boys do, wear and eat y.

Basically, a little boy who has no concept that pink is for girls, no notion that he "shouldn't" dress up as a fairy hmm and doesn't bat an eyelid when playing with a doll or pram has these things forced upon him. (I am wondering if the issue of pink lego, for example, just perpetuates this.)

I have no idea what I am getting at, my brain is fried grin but I very much believe that it is a boys right to dress as a fairy, just as it is a girls right to dress as a fire fighter. The encouragement (or at least not dissuasion) of this could be intrinsic to the "raising of boys" and their subsequent feelings towards females. On a vaguely related note, I posted this link some time ago interesting blurb eh.

DH and I strive to show our DC that both mummy and daddy can (in no particular order) use a screwdriver, change a light bulb, sort the washing, make a meal, wipe a nose, drive a car and vacuum. Some of these tasks can become more one parents role than the other- but it is never exclusive- and we take opportunities to point that out where possible.

Now, if you have anything useful there, I'll be impressed! grin

inapineappleunderthesea Thu 01-Nov-12 02:24:12

When I was married I did the washing,cleaned,washing-up,dryed it,sometimes cooked,I also bathed my DC,read to them in bed(mummy was too busy watching soaps),did diy,all of that after working 12 hr shifts,I still do all of that now I'm divorced,I also teach my 2 DDs to do all that,my DC sometimes say to me why did I do all that when I was married,my simple answer was,it has to be done,it doesn't matter whether your male or female,they also ask me why does their mums new partner do nothing besides go to work? all I say to them is that some people see things differently.

inapineappleunderthesea Thu 01-Nov-12 02:26:33

I think I should also add that (mummy was too busy watching soaps) came from my DC not me,just thought I'd add that in case some of you started to stone me smile

MmeLindor Thu 01-Nov-12 16:02:01

<puts the stones down> wink

Just coming back to this thread. Sorry, been busy.

Ok. A few have said 'bring then up to value equality and respect others just as you would with regard to racial differences etc'

Isn't that too simplistic?

I think that our society is (thankfully) pretty quick to condemn racist comments.

I don't think there is the same no tolerance when it comes to sexism.

Casual (and not so casual) sexism is rife. I was recently refused an appointment by a joiner to measure my windows unless DH was home.

And asked if my personal circumstances had changed and if I could prove that I was divorced when I asked to have bank card changed to Ms.

(I haven't done away with DH, btw)

So it's not as simple as living a good example as our kids, particularly in the impressionable pre teen and teen years are influenced by outside forces.

MmeLindor Thu 01-Nov-12 16:04:03

hmm at that Argos product. Exactly my point. We need to point these things out cause it is so normal

OneMoreChap Thu 01-Nov-12 16:09:58


if I could prove that I was divorced when I asked to have bank card changed to Ms.


Sorry, that's new bank territory.

MmeLindor Thu 01-Nov-12 23:23:55

Thankfully she passed me on to someone who actually knew what she was doing. Meant to send an email though.

I can't chance banks atm. We has such a hassle getting a mortgage. Not going through it all again

RubyrooUK Thu 01-Nov-12 23:32:47

Oh, I called myself "Miss" on an online financial form the other day and it wouldn't let me choose that title as I'm married. It made me choose "Mrs" or "Ms" instead.

Yes, it's true I am married but have not taken my husband's name so am still listed on all bank cards and accounts etc as "Miss". I am not "Mrs DH" as I did not change my name. So the new form doesn't actually match all my other details.

It pissed me off a bit. Then I wondered if I was reading too much into it. I suppose "miss" does just mean someone unmarried. But I sort of objected to a form making me define myself in those terms (the form was not for anything that needed me to be married/single etc).

DoubleYew Fri 02-Nov-12 00:36:54

I agree Mme that you have to challenge messages they get from all around them, as well as set a good example. Women aren't equal in lots of ways, to a greater or lesser amount depending where you live and I think its damaging to mask that.

Ds is only two so I am mainly agog at the categorisation of toys as girls/boys atm. Its actually structured into big stores websites. I was looking for play food that you can cut up and loads of places had it under girls toys pages. WTF, because men don't cut up food!

What really worries me is exposure to porn when he is older as I think it has such a damaging effect on your sexual tates and expectations.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 00:47:24

Glad I don't have to dodge the stones! smile,How is it too simplistic? I think sometimes we make simple things seem more complicated than they really are or need to be,sexism happens to both sexes,not just females,as a matter of fact I think its aimed more at the male than the female,for example,I get sick & tired of seeing adverts putting men down or making them look stupid or as tho they haven't got a clue,I agree there are men who are stupid,lazy or just haven't got a clue about certain things but there are also women like that,just because someone is female doesn't automatically mean they're great around the house or fantastic at certains jobs,same goes for men,I work & have worked with both sexes & tbh I don't see any difference other than the obvious ;),sexism just like racism(which in my opinion still & sadly will exist for a long time to come)will take time to eradicate,So I ask my question again.where does feminism fit in or how can it help in that respect? (no,I'm not being obtuse,I would just really like it explained). Too often we tend to read too much into things,well,thats my opinion,I could be wrong.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 00:58:15

Mme,there will always be outside forces,especially peer pressure challenging our children,thats human nature.

Doubleyew,as for porn,its not just males that look at porn,I have female friends that look at porn,some are more addicted than men,I have 2 close female friends that shop on a very regular basis from Ann Summers,they even buy strap on's because they want to use them on men(sorry if I lowered the tone a bit)but its true,a few even have men around a lot too & they introduce them to their young children(which I strongly disagree with)since I've been divorced(5 yrs) I have not introduced any of my "partners" to my children,I will only do that when I'm as sure as I can be that she(if & when I find her) smile,is the ONE,as for sexual tastes & expectations,well,all I can say is that a few women have opened my eyes,so I think you are(unintentionally I feel) being sexist yourself by that comment.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Fri 02-Nov-12 01:17:50

I have had to be very firm with family members eg telling my dad not to say anything DS could hear when Dad was fretting that me having bought DS a buggy and a babydoll would 'turn him funny' (DS and many other little boys at playgroup that year had been obsessed with the doll pushchairs). I explained that if DS grew up to be a father, he would push his own DC round in pushchairs.
Also have had to yell at my mother about the fact that DS has long, flowing hair and doesn't want it cut - she is forbidden to tell him that he 'looks like a girl' because I don't want him getting the idea that looking like a girl is a bad thing. I fret (only a little bit) sometimes about having to say, well, we'll ask Daddy to fix that, when there is something that needs doing to the house such as mending the garden wall. I am not very practical, and DS dad (who doesn't live with us) spent a year working as a bricklayer, so of course he's better equipped than I am to rebuild the bloody wall... yet I still feel we are playing into stereotypes. I try to counter it by asking other people for assorted practical advice when needed.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 01:24:11

One of my DDs can be a bit of a tomboy,just as her mother was & is,her mum sometimes tells her to stop behaving like a boy,that really annoys me,especially as all she is doing is copying her mum!!! as for asking your DCs dad to mend certain things,there is nothing wrong with that,after all you said it yourself some are better equipped at certain things,stop reading too much into things,we can't all be good at everything!!!

5madthings Fri 02-Nov-12 01:41:55

four boys here (no 5 is a girl) the rule in our house is to treat everyone as you would like to be treated yourself. so girls/boys equal etc.

i have and do discuss feminism with them and politics etc, not in a sit down we are going to talk about this way but as and when things come up ie something on tv or in the news.

i am quite picky about what they watch ie no mtv and music channels. we have internet controls etc. they know about sex and periods etc explained in an appropriate manner for their age, again as it comes up. we are relaxed about nudity so ds1 (13) will come into the bathroom when i am in the bath and chat he was also their when dd was born and cut the cord so he knows the reality of what sex produces and he has said he is amazed i have given birth five times, it gave him a kind of added respect/kudis for women that they go through that.

no steteotyping re toys, always had toy cooker and dolls and a wide variety of dress up stufg including fairy outfits and dresses and ds3 (7) is a big fan of fairies and pink/purple so i bought him purple t-shirts etc. (i had a thread ages ago about buying him a new fairy dress as he had grown out of his tinkerbell one). toys are just toys and i will correct/pull them.up if they refer to things as girly. the elder three dont do this, mainly ds4 who is 4 and in reception i have had to occasionally.

dp is very hands on, prob does the majority of the cooking. housework we both do and diy we both do. all my children are rcpected to help.out. ds1 cooks, they help in the kitchen and with tidying, hoovering, changing bedsheets etc. with having four boys i am very aware that i want them growing up knowing how to do household stuff and thst they are all expected to pitch in!

porn has been mentioned and the huge influence of porn culture is something i worry about actually. have talked to ds1 a bit about it and will do.more as and when it comes up. we have parental control on oc and he has a basic phone with no internet but i am sure some kids at school have access to it and these tjings get shared at school. curiosity us normal but obviously its not legal for him to look at it and he knows thid. he is quite good at coming or dp and talking about stuff ie stuff he has heard at school etc. i think.its a case if talking to him, keeping communication open but also educating him.on some of the issues with porn ue moral side and negative effecrs and that its not very realistic!

i actually did a thread in feminism a while ago about the isse if boys and porn.

i shall put this thread on watch. btw blackcurrents really like your idea re enthusiastic consent etc.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 01:57:01

My 2 DDs are 8 & 11 & they have asked me certain things,especially about sex,I treat their questions with the respect they deserve & try to explain as best I can,I discuss a bit more with my 11yr old obviously,I didn't like that my 11yr old told me she watched some porn dvds her mums partner has,to be fair they were in their bedroom set of drawers(her 3yr old half sis took them out)my DD told me she watched about 10mins worth,to say I was upset would be an understatement(she described them as sick & scary,they were about blood & vampires & homeporn & hairy porn) that tells me she may have watched a them a bit longer than she said she had! any kind of porn should be way out of reach of any children,I tried speaking to my ex about it but of course in her words I had no right to bring that up,I teach my DDs as much as I can about as much as I can & also tell them that not everything they see on TV or read about are actually as they seem,I also talk to them about respecting & helping their future Dh,Db or whoever they have a relationship with & not to copy the so called examples of their favourite singers or actors.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 02:03:38

I'm totally fed up seeing so called popstars showing way too much skin or dancing too provocitavley,especially when they know that the majority of their fans are quite young,never mind the fact they marry,get divorced way too often too,what the hell kind of example is that!!??!! Then we wonder why or how come so many relationships break down!

IvanaDvinkYourBlad Fri 02-Nov-12 02:24:22

was glad to see Mr Tumble's dressing up box included a tutu today.
I would add more but am on a lurgy endurance test with DC2 again tonight!

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 02:36:52

I miss watching him,mine have outgrown him :/ smile the tutu could be a PC conspiracy........I can't stand political correctness!

DoubleYew Fri 02-Nov-12 08:24:05

5madthings, I'm away to read that thread.

inapineapple, I know its not just men who look at porn, you only need to look at Relationships topic to see how prevalent it is. The point is I have one child, a son and I'm concerned about him.

5madthings Fri 02-Nov-12 08:58:13

i think porn is a huge issue regarding teens tbh but there is a lot of evidence that it is proving particularly damaging for teen boys and their attituted and expectations towards sex, as a mum of four boys its worrying sad

OneMoreChap Fri 02-Nov-12 10:01:48

5madthings I'd imagine it gives very unrealistic expectations - into what people do during sex, what women find arousing, and how unfeasibly large men might be...

I'm unsure as to whether it's porn itself, or the hookup culture that seems to be being generated - which in the US AFAICS mostly involves young women giving BJs to keep "cool" with their "men". Not much evidence of them getting anything from it.

I blame a lot of this on the general sexualisation of society. People keep telling me we're not driving child sexualisation, but I don't believe it. I think inapineappleunderthesea has the right idea about the images kids see on TV - but I'd also point - as usual - to the fashion industry and the way we're encouraged to aspire to unrealistic body images...

Have you a link to the evidence - might be quite nice to be able to quote that on some of the other threads we get.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 13:32:37

Fair point DoubleYew but I too am concerned about my Daughters as I'm sure most caring loving parents are & should be.

OneMoreChap,I also agree with you,I also think that too many adverts,even those that are aimed at adults,they mostly show perfect male & female bodies,in the real world the majority of people don't have a body like that(including me) smile

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