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Moms of boys...

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
So as not to derail the "boys are stupid t-shirt" thread any further. I , as a mom of 2 little girls have some honest questions for my fellow moms of little boys. When I stated in another post that 1 out of 3 women will be a victim of sexual abuse ( read NOT just rape and NOT just US stats)
and further stating that the little boys of today are the perpetrators of these crimes against women in the future. It is statistically legitimate, although one lovely fellow MDC'er wished God to forbid me to have a boy, which is so sad.

Recently at school a little boy climbed after my girl, pegged her down and pulled off her socks while she screamed. She is 8. The boy's father just laughed and said his son must have a foot-thing. Yeah, today a foot thing....

If I *had* a boy, I would be asking the same questions, and wondering how do we raise our boys to be loving around women and not hurt them? To not rape, kidnapp, molest, date rape, etc?
But since I have only 2 little girls , and I am trying very hard to raise them to be strong and wise without hate, I feel that is all I can do for my contribution for now since I don't have a little boy.
So if any mamas can talk to me about this with the realization that when I say " your boys" I am not talking about anyone personally, I am truly speaking conceptually.
And as a mom of a boy, and a woman yourself, what would you say are good resources or strategies for me to use to keep my girls from harm (as much as I can ) and not become man-haters?
(This is said with peace and true concern for the future of the sexual abuse stats. I am sorry for all the mamas of boys who thought I was addressing them personally )
post #2 of 49
Well ,first I guess I would say try to keep your sons from being victims themselves, since statistically those who abused have been abused. I am sure those who abused me had also been sexually abused themselves. I think that is pretty common. I would like to know stats on how many boys are sexually abused?
I don't think I am doing anything special to "perp" prove my son, just raisng him with love and respect as I do my daughter. I certainly won't treat him like a potential sexual abuser anymore than I would my daughter.
Would you have felt the same disgust had it been a little girl who held your dd down and took off her socks?
I also will not raise my daughter to fear boys, in general. I will also not treat her like a potential victim, I think that is damaging too.
I want to raise both of children to trust their instincts about people , regardless of gender.
post #3 of 49
Thread Starter 
Sheacoby I think you are right about abusers being victims themselves. I don't know the stat on boys, but I know that men are more commonly victims of overall violent crimes all over the world.
I think you are reading me wrong, which is ok, but I want to clarify that I don't treat boys like potential rapists and I dont' treat girls like victims. BUT I do work in womens health and see the statistic in my face far to much for me to ignore. Yes I would have been outraged if a girl attacked my child, but it was a boy and really had some horrible foreshadowing type of fear for me.
post #4 of 49
Okay, I think we pretty much agree. It just makes me very upset to think anyone could think of my precious , sweet son as a potential abuser. Since you don't see little boys this way and I have just misunderstood your post I guess I have no reason to be offended.
I think the father of that boy should have stopped his son from doing that to your dd and I most definitely would have had it been my son or daughter.
Part of my talking to my kids about sex will be about rape, date rape and sexual harrasment etc.... I think talking about these things will help to keep our boys and girls safe. I do have fears of my daughter being abused and I am pretty protective but I am of my son too.
I talk to my kids pretty often about good touch/bad touch. I think it's very important to teach children the best to keep themselves safe. I also hope like hell nothing ever happens to them.
post #5 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
It just makes me very upset to think anyone could think of my precious , sweet son as a potential abuser
you are a good mama to defend your son and I am just trying to be a good mama too. Sexual abuse gets SO much press, sometimes I am just breathless at the sheer thought....
post #6 of 49
Keysmama...I felt hurt by the comment in the other thread. I have three beautiful sons......and the "YOUR boys" just felt like a punch in the stomach--in the other thread.
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeysMama
When I stated in another post that 1 out of 3 women will be a victim of sexual abuse ( read NOT just rape and NOT just US stats)
and further stating that the little boys of today are the perpetrators of these crimes against women in the future. It is statistically legitimate, although one lovely fellow MDC'er wished God to forbid me to have a boy, which is so sad.
I am a mother of a daughter and of a son. I am also a survivor of sexual abuse.

I beleive that in order for us to teach our sons respect for women we need to teach them to resepct themselves. We need to teach them that human life - no matter what color, gender, culture, ability, social background, political view, religion, etc - is worthy of respect. Just imagine if we ONLY ever did something out of respect. There would be no war. No reason to hate. No violence.... Maria Montessori said (many many yrs ago) "The fate of the future lies in the hands of our children" and I totally agree.

I have a responsiblity to teach my dd to respect herself, her body and her rights not only as a girl/woman, but as a human being too. As a mother I must teach through word and deed that all people are deserving of respect.

When you pointed out that the boys of today are the perps of these crimes (sexual abuse) your words were offensive to me as you directly implied that MY son was one of them...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keysmama ~ from afore mentioned thread...
As a mom of 2 little girls though, I wonder how DO I boost their sense of self so that they DON'T become one of the 1 in 3 women who is victim of sexual abuse by a male. The same males that are RIGHT NOW little boys. YOUR little boys.
Before I get flamed.... I want to say that I agree with the POINT you are trying to make... I just dont believe that generalizing is necessary.

There are no magic answers to this question.... it is a dynamic and ever-evolving learning experience.

Peace
post #8 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by happymomwith4
Keysmama...I felt hurt by the comment in the other thread. I have three beautiful sons......and the "YOUR boys" just felt like a punch in the stomach--in the other thread.
Tamera, and Raven, thanks for your replies. I hope you read my OP on this thread to see beyond the words I used and the point I was trying to make-although I obviously needed to find a more eloquent way. That is not my strong suit.
Raven, all good points about respecting of the self. Very true.
Edited to add: I ask this of YOU mamas because I hold Mothering mamas to a higher esteem. What I SEE at school and locally does not make me feel as though the cycle of violence is even close to getting better. So I wanted to know what YOU all are doing that maybe other mainstream mamas are not.
post #9 of 49
You need to make sure all the male role models in your child's life behave respectfully towards women. (Or they're out the door!) Children notice and remember and copy behavior.
post #10 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderfulmom
You need to make sure all the male role models in your child's life behave respectfully towards women. (Or they're out the door!) Children notice and remember and copy behavior.
Definitely. What kids see as they grow up will influence what they think is "normal" for a long time to come.

I also think that attitudes like the boy's father had in the sock incident don't help any. Both boys and girls need to learn that roughhousing becomes unacceptable when the other person is not a willing participant. It's not funny, or cute, or "boys will be boys" to keep playing that way when the other person wants to stop.
post #11 of 49
I have two sons and no daughters. I think the secret whether you are raising boys or girls is teaching respect. Respect of oneself and respect of otehrs. I think myjulybabes had it right with
Quote:
roughhousing becomes unacceptable when the other person is not a willing participant
My older son is 3. Just like most 3 year olds he gets rambunctious - don't even try to tell me it's only boys. What we always remind him is that he has to listen to the other person. If his friend doesn't want to play trucks anymore then he needs to stop. If the other person isn't playing chase then don't run after them. If the kids at the park aren't pretending to play dinosaurs with you then it is rude to roar at them. We emphasize listening to other people wants, likes and wishes. a lot of it involves the fact that he is very outgoing and has virtually no personal space issues. We try to explain that some kids are shy (which he really doesn't understand) and it makes them uncormfortable for him to talk to them or stand by them until he knows them. (At which point he usually says, "Hi I'm Declan. Now you know me. Want to play?")

My point would be that I see both boys and girls, play rough, yank toys, not stop what they are doing at this age. Pretty much every expert agrees that sexual assault - in all it's forms - is more about power than about sex. I think it is far more important to teach children to listen to one another, respect one another, be kind, empathize, etc than to make it a sex ed issue. Of course, we're still at the boys have a penis level of sex ed so maybe I'll change my mind in a few years.
post #12 of 49
with all that's been said so far.

I also think that a healthy relationship with mom is vital. That's not to say that motherless boys will grow up to be abusers, but I do think that a strong, loving, healthy, mutually respectful bond with a mother (or a mother-like figure) goes a tremendously long way in helping a boy grow into a man who respects women.
post #13 of 49
Keys Mama,

Thank you so much for your words on this... I, too, was shocked and hurt by the other thread, but this made me feel much more peaceful about it, so thank you.

On topic: I have to tell you that these thoughts also have plagued me. I've thought much about the subject of abusers and the way abusers become abusers, and how to prevent my own sweet boys from being those people. I've also always wanted girls, and I think in some way, it's been really healthy for me to first have my sweet boys. My view of boys/young men has changed considerably since I became a mother of a boy.

I agree with much of the previous posters that it has to do with respect and love and determination to model positive, wonderful love and relationships. I think that my boys learn from my partner how a mother needs to be treated. This hopefully will carry over into their relationship paths--they will seek out spaces where they can treat their lovers as they saw Curtis treat me.

I'm scared for my boys.

It's interesting, and I wonder what message my boys are getting when I teach them that if they are ever lost that they need to approach a woman, preferably one with children to seek help. I've actually told them to NEVER go to a man. I wonder what that teaches them?
post #14 of 49
The thought of anyone seeing my sweet beautiful son as a potential rapist or abuser is literally sickening. I just got a pounding headache and nauseous. BUT.... I think I understand where you're trying to go with this. I too was abused as a child and as a teen/young adult and worry about this happening to other children.

When pg, I really wanted a girl because I didn't want to have to deal with "icky boy stuff" - boys who hurt animals/bugs, penises, burping, you get the picture.

When I gave birth to my perfect son (ok in my opinion) all that changed. I have an opportunity to give the world a good man. I hope that he will grow to be a loving caring human being who values all other human beings and animals.

I try very hard to not to encourage aggressive behaviors that are sometimes foisted on boys, while at the same time not trying to force "girly" things on him. For example my dad taught my 3 year old nephew to play "slam" (wild wrestling) and he plays at shooting people!!! That just shocked me. I told my dad point blank that he will not play those games with my son - ever. He's been really good about it too. I don't mind rolling around on the floor tickling etc with boys or girls, but "slam" is too violent. We do not stereotype toys. DS has dolls, baby strollers, a play kitchen etc. He tends to like these more than cars, etc. Poor nephew only has "boy toys" whenever he comes over he makes a beeline to DS's toy toaster and will play with it for hours! Those are just some of the day to day things that we try to do.

I do however, think that there are physiolgical differences between boys and girls. DS despite his loving caring environment pushes other children (usually boys) at the park. At swim class DS and the few other boys seem to be more likely to run around the locker room, while the little girls tend to stay by their mothers. I think there were a few books out in the last few years about raising healthy boys. Maybe someone who has read them will chime in.
post #15 of 49
If we raise our sons in a peaceful and gentle manner... ie, gentle birth, extended nursing, responding to their needs, APing, not circumcising, etc... I would assume it would greatly decrease the chances of them being sick and violent in the future.

I mean, it doesn't take a genius, folks
post #16 of 49
I think it is very difficult to raise boys in our culture.

My DS1 is very, very sensitive and cries easily (he also gets angry easily). I have tried to gently guide him down the path toward better self-control in general, not just not crying, but not yelling and etc.

His first grade classmates are popularly calling him crybaby and it has been a rather difficult few months. I have briefly mentioned it to his teacher to raise her awareness, but obviously I cannot shield him from all cruelty.

We have talked about it and how some people's attitudes towards "how boys are supposed to be" are just wrong and that everybody is different, etc. He is very verbal and tries hard to understand but I know it hurts him deeply. Thing is, he can't seem to help it. Tears and anger are just near the surface for him; he's always, always been that way.

All I can do is stand there and try to support him and make him feel accepted and loved at home for who he is, try to minimize his exposure to the cruelty as much as I can, and pray a lot. Society is so hard on males right now. They are given as many mixed messages as females are.
post #17 of 49
I am the mother of one boy, and an academic whose research is on gender issues and have been a rape crisis advocate for years (I go to the hostipal and police station with rape survivor, hold their hands while they get rape kits, give statements, etc). I am also very concerned about violence and abuse. I think we have to be very clear about the other side of this equation. Yes, 1 in 3 girls will survive sexual assualt AND SO WILL 1 in 5 BOYS. Clearly violence and assualt are of concern for all parents. But, as the mother of a boy, I know tha 95% of these perpetrators are male, so I am concerned. As another poster said, many of those who are violence have been abused themselves.

It is hard to raise boys in our culture, I agree. And we should rememebr that it may be YOUR GIRLS who encourgae our boys to can like men, to be macho, to be tough, etc. Girls can also be very mean to other children and certianly are as guilty of gender-based harrassment in the schools (part of my research). It is often girls who are quick to point out that boys are not allowed to do (like play with dolls), not just other boys. I think that we ALL need to teach our chilren to be respectful of each other, to be accepting, and to know that there are all sorts of boys and girls (and other forms of gender-differnt people) and that that is a wonderful thing. The more we enforce the kind of thinking that says "I am the mother of a boy" and "I am the mother of a girl", the more we invest ourselves in these very arbitrary and hurtful stereotypes about gender - the same stereotypes tha help set our children up to be pertetrators and victims.

My 2 cents.

M
post #18 of 49
very interesting megan--thanks for sharing
post #19 of 49
thanks for the insight. i have 2 girls and a 9 month old boy. i know there will be some different parenting but not divided girl vs boy
post #20 of 49
Hmm, I don't yet see how I would parent a boy differently than a girl. We model and reinforce respect and kindness and sensitivity. We show respect for our children, in the hopes that they in turn show respect for others. I respect and reinforce the boundaries that my son has about his body in hopes that it will protect him from ever being abused, the same as I would a girl.

I replied on the other thread that yes, some of our sons here will be abusers, but so will some of the daughters. Some of the daughters here will abuse their children, abandon their children, have a deadly eating disorder, etc. etc. So do you parent with that specifically in mind? I don't parent with the idea of keeping ds from being an aggressor in mind at all. I think just having the mindset that girls are victims and boys are aggressors is dangerous, as this subtlety (sp?) is picked up on by our children.
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