Originally Posted by megandavidson
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.
Yeah, my son likes to play with swords AND wear princess dresses. When he goes to preschool, he sometimes likes to play in the mud with the boys, or the loft, playing house with the girls. The girls usually try to kick him out (ages 3-5) can be as cliquey and mean and the girls usually point and laugh (and encourage others to do the same - they are only 4!!!) if he is wearing a girls costume.
Meagan - I couldn't agree with you more. It's everyone's job to teach their children (boy OR girl) to be respectful of each other. It doesn't just fall on the mothers of boys laps.
Keysmama - that father sounds like an idiot! And that's the problem - the parents. My DH or I would not have allowed that sort of behavior or laughed it off.
I have not read the read you are referring to (and don't plan to.) I'm sorry that you find yourself in the position of needing to research this, but DH & I were talking about the same exact thing tonight... that we also have to talk to our little boy (and prepare him somehow) against predators.
When DH was a child, a music teacher tried to touch him. He locked himself in the bathroom and was unharmed. This problem not only affects girls, but boys too.
I can understand why you feel your daughters are more vulnerable. But all children are.
My mom was a widow raising two daughters... and was so paranoid about this... she enrolled us in Karate classes at ages 10 & 12. I was 12. I * hated * every minute of it.
I'm sure there are books on this topic... I think the most important thing is to teach girls (or boys) that my body belongs to me.... give them the tools/words/inner strength to stand up to ANYBODY (run, call for help, tell someone) that makes them feel uncomfortable. Isn't there a book called PROTECTING THE GIFT by Gavin Becker?
A lot of kids are scared to tell adults anything... we have to teach kids that secrets that make you feel bad, aren't good secrets to keep, etc..