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post #21 of 49
Quote:
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..
post #22 of 49
It is really late, and I am about to go to bed, so I haven't read all the posts here, so forgive me if I repeat anything.

I am a mother of 2 boys. I raise them the same way I would raise girls if I had them (except for teaching them how to stand and pee). I want them to have respect for ALL people, regardless of gender. I want them to understand personal boundaries and compassion and feel empathy towards everyone.

At one time, boys were taught that they shouldn't hit girls or people with glasses or people that were handicapped.....and so on. I think that line of teaching is total crap. They should be taught not to harm ANYONE unless that person poses a direct and unavoidable physical threat. I think singling out girls and other groups perpetuates a feeling that these people are signifigantly different, and that can lead to detachment, which does not foster compassion. People are people, end of story.

When this teaching was the norm, it was usually also taught that a boy who wouldn't fight or play rough was a wimp. This is NOT an idea I want instilled in my boys. I want them to respect other boys boundaries and expect their own to be respected.

I think the OP failed to recognize one other critical point, men are NOT the only ones abusing these girls. Women can be abusers, too. ALL CHILDREN should be raised to respect others regardless of gender or any other factor.

BTW, my 3.5 yo DS wants to be a mommy and nurse his babies, and he feels sad for Daddy that he can't do that. As far as he is concerned, the only difference between men and women he sees is that "Mommies have boobies and Daddies have pee-pees" (he explained this to me when he was barely 2.)
post #23 of 49

I liked your comments Josie (my name too!)

and I have 2 girls and a boy. I don't raise them differently but teach them all to respect other peoples boundaries. The most important concept I think to teach kids is NO MEANS NO! I was glad I had my son last because one of my most hated behaviors is older sibs who haze their younger sibs, especially a boy hazing a girl. It is just is that same kind of foreshadowing thing about abuse. And since my son is the youngest I felt better that he at least wouldnt be doing a whole lot of bullying early on or just rough play against a much younger smaller dd. My dh's family (8 kids) had quite a bit of that and some of the girls were pretty tramautized by it.

Basically, it helped me to view it as a "personal space" "control of my own body" and RESPECT FOR SELF AND OTHERS (our family mantra) issue instead of a sexual one. I dont want to read too much into things like the OP's sock incident. It may have raised reg flags for a sexual scenario later on in your mind but basically if it had been another girl grabbing the socks, would it have seemed sexual to you? Doubtful. I would take it for what it is, more of an issue of control overs one's own body and he definitely crossed that line and did not respect your dds personal space/personal boundaries. And it is important to make him and her (and his parents too!) understand that. I firmly preach "NO MEANS NO" to my own and other people's children even if something started as play and then made someone uncomfy. I even had to get that across to dh with rough wrestling/tickle play with the kids when they would start to seem overwhelmed and he wasnt getting it. So if you encourage them to say NO when they want to and also to RESPECT NO when it is said to them it can go along way to making them be aware of their and others' personal space and comfort and ownership of their own body.
post #24 of 49
It's late here, I wish I could read all the replies...I am the mother of two boys and a girl. My husband and I were just having this conversation today after seeing a billboard just blocks from our house that has a picture of a bikini clad woman straddling a motorcycle. The billboard reads "Win her", it's a contest to win (I'm assuming) the motorcycle, but made to seem as if your going to win the woman. This is gross on so many levels and I feel enraged every time I see the stupid billboard. But, I realize that this is the world we live in and my children will see stuff like this on a regular basis. So, we will talk to them about it, ask questions like "what do you think of that picture?", "what do you think the advertiser is trying to say here?". I think merely pointing out to them that this is objectifying the woman and what that means, is a big step in the right direction. When I see women allowing themselves to be objectified, it makes me sad for them. I DON'T want my daughter to need that kind of validation. I DON'T want my sons viewing women as objects. Talking about it will be our strategy.
post #25 of 49
Thread Starter 
Ladies thank you all so much for your heartfelt replies. I see a common thread in all of you that you don't raise your boys with the old attitude of "boys will be boys". I love it! My girls love having their boy cousins over because like another poster said , they go straight for the stroller and the play kitchen and the dress up box. And I am certainly raising my girls to find nothing wrong with boys playing with 'girl' toys, and vice versa. My girls have a hotrod collection, lego and other typically marketed 'boy toys'.
I think breaking gender barriers is very important, as well as the modeling, positive parenting and nurturing.
post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by megandavidson
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.

When I have asked DS1 for names of children calling him crybaby it's almost always the girls. At field day one of the girls in line behind him started on him, I could tell because he hunched his shoulders and started yelling, "I am NOT a crybaby!" I stood and looked at her and she sort of looked over her shoulder at me. I raised an eyebrow and said, to her, "Can we be kind to each other, please?" :
I have to wonder what kind of home situation this child is in.
post #27 of 49
I agree with all you great moms. I think we need to develop a new concept of "manhood" for our sons to aspire to. To see that their dads can be strong and build things, but also cook oatmeal and diaper babies (using dh as an example). But while we encourage the nuturing aspects of our sons we need to acknowledge and respect their "boyishness" as well. My ds loves sticks and tools and is the typical boy while at the same time loving to dress up or hold a doll (thanks to dd). I raise my dd and ds the same, while respecting the things that make them unique as a person as well as a gender. Ds is very physical (dd too) but they both know that it is never okay to use force on someone unless you are defnding yourself or someone else from physical attack. I also make sure they have the tools to defend themselves. I also feel the need to provide meaningful rights of passage (wilderness experience, travel, etc) for both my kids for when they approach adulthood, like how Joseph Campbell talk about a particularly grueling right of passage into adulthood for males in a traditional society, and how after you did that "you knew you were a man". I think men in our culture are for the most part at a loss about what it means to be a man, what their role is, and I am not talking about 50's ideals but a more holistic approach. And of course, my children need to be protected from abuse in any form (from men, women or other children) and from the images and stereotypes about the sexes perpetuated by our society. I don't know if that made any sense, kind of a ramble, but it is the best I can articulate on little sleep.
post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by megandavidson
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.
Awesome post, Megan, and everyone else's too! I'm really getting a lot out of this thread.

I wanted to point out, though, that just because 1 in 3 women (worldwide) will be sexually assaulted as well as 1 in 5 men, that doesn't mean that 1 in 3 or 1 in 5 boys will grow up to be sexual assailants. Many, if not most assailants are repeat offenders. So your typical preschool is not filled with cute little boys just waiting to grow up to be rapists and molestors, an implication that perhaps it would have been possible to take away from some posts on certain threads. I think this is perhaps why it's easy for mothers of boys (like myself) to get our hackles up.

Which is not to deny that we live in a culture that to a great extent fosters the conditions that make sexual abuse and violence so common. But there is not a 1:1 ratio of victims:assailants out there.
post #29 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tracymom

When I have asked DS1 for names of children calling him crybaby it's almost always the girls
certainly any child who pokes fun is not getting the best examples at home, I would agree. I sense from a couple of posts though that the "well, girls are mean" might be a whole other topic! My concern , and the OP was to protect women against violence and how to raise good boys to break that cycle. Certainly all children need to be kind, and it can certainly start there. And I am well aware of commentary ( elsewhere) to suggest that men are driven to abuse on women because the women drove them to it. I'm not into blaming the victim. It seems like displacing responsibility.
I also think if you ask any child who torments them at school, it is likely a child of the opposite sex. Certainly the case with who makes my 2 girls cry at school.
Quirky, I agree about it not being a 1:1 ratio of victims and assailants. I hope I never suggested that, I know better than that after 8 years in law enforcement. Usually 1 rap sheep covers dozens of victims ( of any crime).
Quote:
I think we need to develop a new concept of "manhood" for our sons to aspire to. To see that their dads can be strong and build things, but also cook oatmeal and diaper babies
I love that!
...hey, I just hit 1200
post #30 of 49
I personally am far, far more worried about my son BEING abused than about my son being a potential abuser. After all, the second usually comes in some roundabout way from the first, so if we can prevent the first, we've done most of our job already. And I'm not seeing how very many boys who grow up learning to interact positively within their families are going to become abusers. This is basically our approach to the issue for both our son and our daughter.
post #31 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikirj
I personally am far, far more worried about my son BEING abused than about my son being a potential abuser.
oh you are right. So often it is little boys ( like all the church abuse scandals) that are on the victim end of that. With my kids being little, I guess I worry a little less because I am very protective, don't use sitters, don' t let them wander etc. I feel like I have a good proactive approach to keep them safe now . I worry about going off to college or moving out, becoming a grown woman on her own. I know the media plays far too much a role in my fear, but also all the work I have been a part of since age 18. I guess when it has been a part of your life ( as the victim or as someone who works with victims) it is just too much at the top of the pile of worries
post #32 of 49
modeling kind and good behaviour is the best remedy for any kind of violence.
post #33 of 49
Quote:
modeling kind and good behaviour is the best remedy for any kind of violence.


So true, for raising all children..boy or girl. Right on Pie.

I'm doing my best to raise my little boys. Actually I think I am a pro at this boy thing--but now that I have a daughter, I am totally lost. :LOL
post #34 of 49
First, I agree that we all need to raise our children to respect others -- regardless of gender. And that children need to learn to respect themselves as well.

However, I think we need to be very careful with the statistics here. While it MIGHT be accurate to say that 1 in 3 women are abused worldwide (and since no one has offered any real sitation to this stat, I'm not willing to take it on faith), that probably isn't an accurate way to look at the world if you live in the United States. I realize that not everyone on these boards do, but I think the majority are U.S. If we carry these sorts of stats in our heads, we react very differently to the world. Its probably better to learn the REAL statistics for your area and work from there. But, in doing so, be carefull because it is easy for people to twist the numbers to support their point of view, so you have to be careful about accepting statistics at face value. I'm sure we've all heard about "lies, damm lies, and statistics". So, before we get all worked up about these sorts of numbers, let's make sure they are accurate and reflect our day-to-day reality. Which is not to say that we shouldn't work to make the world a safer place for everyone and all children, but don't over-react with respect to the risk to your child.
post #35 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom
While it MIGHT be accurate to say that 1 in 3 women are abused worldwide (and since no one has offered any real sitation to this stat, I'm not willing to take it on faith), that probably isn't an accurate way to look at the world if you live in the United States
ah lets don't get too caught up in Americanism. We are raising global citizens.
Here are some references, I was using WHO/Unicef stats, fresh off my computer from my class this semester, it is lots of reading for sure!
http://www.unt.edu/sga/legislation/r...ions2003-4.htm
http://www.who.int/gender/documents/en/
post #36 of 49
Moving this to Parenting Issues...
post #37 of 49
Quote:
It just makes me very upset to think anyone could think of my precious , sweet son as a potential abuser.
I am late also, but this makes me so upset!

I have two boys and one daughter. My daughter while in elementary school, had her dress pulled up, exposing her underwear, she was understandably angry. she came home and announced that she was "sexually harassed", slamming down her backpack and lunch box. she continued w=to wear dresses, but with shorts underneath. I felt bad, but also powerless. My sons are being raised in the same way my daughter is/was....sensitive and respectful of other peoples personal space and feelings. I think whatever i am doing is working. my almost 14 yr old would never invade someones personal space, be it a boy or girl, has a deep respect for girls. He understands what "no" means as we have talked to him about it. I just love him so very much, and we are very close. I think that this helps. Just like mothers of girls protect them fiercely, i can assure you i am as fierce about my boys protection as my daughters.

Having a good father helps tremendously. If a husband loves and respects his wife, truly valuing her, then their sons will follow this example. and their daughters will settle for nothing less (we hope!).
post #38 of 49
As a student of feminism, I have to put in my .02 We recognize & label & color code our children from before they are born...look at all the ultrasounds just so you can find out if it's a boy or girl. IMO, we need to stop,as global citizens, segregating & categorizing---it only hurts us.
I liked the comment r/e not tolerating anything but positive male role models for our boys---it's only natural for any child to imitate their environment & we need to surround ourselves with respect and love. Sure, there are differences between male & female. But do we have to make them weakness/aggressive issues or can we focus on the real differences that make us unique & suited to survival & enlightenment?
P.S. I love a man in a skirt
post #39 of 49
OT: I love a man in a skirt too!
post #40 of 49
ITA with whoever said that the best way to make sure that boys respect women is that all the male role models in their life respect women. This is SO huge. It is no coincidence that the boy who pulled your dds socks off had a father who thought this was funny. My dh would be horrified and would NEVER make a joke about it.

One thing my dh told me that really affected him when he was young....he called his mother a bitch one time and his dad gently but strongly backed him up against the wall and said "that is my wife, and no one talks to her like that..." He said he got the point loud and clear that it was unacceptable to treat women that way. I see way too many fathers who allow their kids to curse and disrespect their mothers....they blow it off and act like it is no big deal. Dads have such power in that dept and imo really need to step in and show their chivalry & devotion to their wife. The same goes for wives defending their husbands. UNITED FRONT! This is what we are missing in todays families. Even if the parents are divorced, they can still be united for the kids instead of using the kids to disrespect each other.
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