When it comes to raising our children, we must remember that we are not just raising future grown-ups. We are raising future boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives. We are raising little people who will grow up to interact with the world using the manners and virtues that we have brought them up with. As the mother of both a son and a daughter, there are two things I strive to teach each of my children: how to treat the opposite sex, and what treatment to expect from the opposite sex.
I find it especially important to stress this with my son, because I feel like women experience far more disrespect within relationships than men do. And so, I make every effort to encourage my son to be as respectful and chivalrous as possible, even at his young age. There are a few core values I want to instill in him with regard to his relationships with women. These are just a handful of very important lessons in how to treat a woman right.
1. Treat Girls With Respect
It’s never too early to start teaching respect to our children. Just as we should demand respect as mothers, we should demand that our sons respect all women. This means speaking to girls in a way that doesn’t judge them, put them down or violate their dignity. We need to teach our boys to listen respectfully and not use language around girls that is offensive. The best indication of how our sons will treat their future girlfriends is the way they treat us. If your son treats his mama like gold, he’ll treat his future female suitors like gold too.
2. Communicate By Listening
If there’s one thing women complain about most when it comes to men, it’s probably that they don’t listen. I personally chalk it up to “selective hearing” sometimes, but there might be some truth to this. We need to train our sons to be good listeners. When we are speaking to them, we must enforce the idea that it is disrespectful to interrupt. After we tell them something, we should ask them to repeat it back to us to make sure they heard correctly. Our sons’ future relationships will be so much stronger if we can teach them early on that good communication is all about listening to your partner’s point of view without judgment, and with fully attentive ears.
3. Appreciate Each Girl’s Uniqueness
I’m lucky that my son has a sister because I can use her as an example of how each girl is very unique. But whether you have a daughter or not, it’s important for your son to value every girl he meets. This lesson, when reinforced enough, will help our sons to understand that a woman’s worth goes far beyond her physical appearance. That sometimes, what makes a girl so great is what cannot be seen on the outside. I want my son to take the time to get to know girls, instead of throwing them into categories based on a physical or social element. If I can get my son to appreciate the uniqueness that my daughter and I both have, I hope he’ll be able to remain open to exploring the uniqueness of other girls he meets in his life.
4. Be A True Gentle-Man
Beyond chivalry, I want my son to be a gentleman in the literal sense. I want him to speak to women kindly, treat them compassionately and always try to practice sincerity. I want my son to know that words are powerful, and that he should choose ones that will lift women up. I want my son to be polite (to everyone, not just women) and to act selflessly in his relationships. The way I allow him to speak to me and treat me at home will play a huge role in this. So, when he uses language that is not kind, or behaves in a way that isn’t appropriate, I make sure that he knows it’s not acceptable.
5. “No” Means NO
I don’t force my children to hug or kiss me. I make a request for both. The reason I do this is because I want them to understand that no one should ever force themselves physically onto anyone else. If my son says “no” when I ask for a kiss, I respect his decision. I want him to do the same for the women he dates. I will teach my son that when a girl says “no,” It means NO. Always. No exceptions. It doesn’t mean “maybe,” or “ask again later.” It means NO. I want my son to grow up feeling that his physical boundaries are being respected so that he can truly appreciate when a woman tells him “no” too.