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Feminism: chat

Raising pre-teen boys

5 replies

Salahdor · 19/12/2021 07:13

I’ve always brought DS up to be respectful and kind. I’ve no concerns about his behaviour around girls and from a young age we’ve challenged assumptions based on sex/gender.

However I watched the Zara McDermott documentary about Rape Culture yesterday and it got me thinking about my pre-teen, especially for the first time thinking about his access to online porn etc via friends probably in secondary school but potentially earlier. It’s the first time really I’ve thought about my responsibility as a mum of a boy and what we need to do now to help him understand what girls and women go through.

What advice do people have to raise him to be the boy who will stand up for girls who are subject to misogyny? The sort of boy who is sensitive to what girls go through and doesn’t go along with the crowd when it comes to making comments about women/girls (or worse).

DS doesn’t have sisters so doesn’t have the benefit of having a sibling’s perspective. I reinforce whenever it fits the context about bodies being private/asking before hugging etc. I also talk to him about language (we are quite relaxed about swearing depend on context but I’ve talked to him about swear words that he’s heard that relate to women and why these are offensive.

Any advice generally would be much appreciated or signposting to good resources.

OP posts:

Idontwanna · 19/12/2021 08:12

I think the fact that you are thinking about this means you have probably already done enough. I have two teenage boys who just get it and I've basically just done what you have. Talk to them, when appropriate use your own experiences.

Healthy age appropriate conversations as things pop up seems to work really well. Point out anything problematic in TV shows and films for example. Even age appropriate TV often has things in to have a discussion.

They also often know a lot more than you think they do, especially once they start secondary school. My 13 year old had a friend send him a very inappropriate video a few months ago and he came to talk to me about it. He could already tell me what is wrong with porn and that's not a discussion I've had with him before.

Create a space where they can talk to you, no embarrassment, no shame and no fear of being in trouble and they will talk to you.

For what it's worth I think you have done a great job already and hopefully all the parents raising boys now will change the future of the girls to come.


Coreblimy · 19/12/2021 09:09

This might be of interest:

Culture reframed is an organisation that provides advice for parents to talk to their preteen and teenage children about porn.


TeiTetua · 19/12/2021 15:26

You're not saying what his dad is telling him, and what kind of example he's setting.


DramaAlpaca · 19/12/2021 15:31

It sounds like you are doing the right thing. It's what I did with my three sons (who don't have sisters) and they are all polite, decent, respectful young men. Keep talking to him.


EightWheelGirl · 19/12/2021 18:53

This isn't really answering your question, but as an aside if I ever have a son I'll send him to boxing lessons. It's much easier to stand by your principles IMO when you're not intimidated by other men. I think the best way to show men that it's not 'wimpy' to be respectful is for them to see other traditionally masculine/tough men acting with respect. I think a lot of women don't really grasp how much male heirarchy influences male group behaviour.

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