Parent Blog: Living with teens
By: Queue Murphy
How do we teach our boys to be respectful to girls as they are growing up, even when the girls don’t respect themselves? It is up to us as mothers to be the example so that they grow up to be good boyfriends, husbands…human beings! We need to demonstrate, communicate, communicate, communicate.
My son has loved girls since he was very little. It didn’t take much to see that when an older girl appeared at the store, library, beach – he would stare and smile. Every grade he was in, I would be told that he had a girlfriend. I would just nod and smile and tell him to be respectful and nice.
Last month, we went to the fair in the township that we live in – he told me on the way that his girlfriend was there and he wanted to make sure that I saw her. As we walked around, he saw her and ran to catch up with her. He kept looking back and making sure that I was looking. It was fun watching him stand there trying to look cool, making sure his gelled hair was standing up straight and his shirt was hanging over in a certain way. It made me remember those uncomfortable days in Junior High when everyone wanted to be cool, while in reality, no one ever felt they were.
Yesterday, I coerced him into going for a walk with me (he’s 12 and it’s uncool). We talked about the girl he liked at the fair and he said he didn’t like her anymore. He said she kissed all the boys in school and always wanted them to be her boyfriend. She had asked him to kiss her, but he wouldn’t because she had kissed so many during the school year. I felt so bad for her. I told him he should feel empathy for her. It was obvious that she thought she could only make boys like her if she did what they wanted. She felt bad about herself. I told him it was important for him to still say hi to her and not pretend she was invisible. It was important for him to say something if he heard other boys saying bad things about her. This was the only way things like this would stop. He didn’t have to be her boyfriend, but he could be a friend.
He at first balked at the idea of taking on this responsibility, but then told me that he would try. I know it’s a lot to put on a kid, but even if we change how some boys and men treat girls one boy at a time, it will make a difference, and he’ll teach his sons and daughters the same!