Skip Nav
Disney Christmas Socks Advent Calendar 2018
Gifts For Women
Disney's 2018 Christmas Sock Advent Calendar Has Arrived, and It's SO Cute!
Twin Sisters Give Birthday to Babies on Same Day
Siblings
These Twin Sisters Say It Was a "Miracle" They Gave Birth to Their Rainbow Babies on the Same Day
Ellen DeGeneres
Move Over, Oprah! Ellen DeGeneres Has Her Own List of 15 Favorite Things For Fall
What the Holidays Are Like After a Family Tragedy
New Year
My Family Had a Tragedy Happen Around the Holidays, and Now They'll Never Be the Same
Holiday For Kids
AMC's "Best Christmas Ever" Lineup Is Seriously Amazing (It's Airing Elf!)

How to Raise a Good Son

How to Raise a Good Son in a Society Full of Harvey Weinsteins

The #MeToo and Time's Up movements have finally amped up conversation and awareness about sexual assault, gender inequality, and misuse of power, all of which have been going on for decades. While we've already seen some hopeful progress in Hollywood, the world has a very long way to go, especially since Hollywood is only a sliver of where these things happen. But what can we do on a real level to help ensure the next generation knows better?

I'm talking about actual respect; respect that hinges on the belief that women are equal to men and that they don't owe men anything.

As the parent of a boy who will grow up to respect women's autonomy, authority, and anatomy, I always teach him to be kind. And I'm not talking about the only-on-the-surface kindness that involves holding the door open and calling women "ma'am" (anyone can hold open a door but then proceed to disrespect a woman behind that door). I'm talking about actual respect; respect that hinges on the belief that women are equal to men and that they don't owe men anything. Kindness, for me, is the root of all of this.

A kind man thinks of others, follows that too-often-ignored "Golden Rule" of treating others how you want to be treated, and understands that people are different. A kind man knows his words are felt by others and considers that before acting on them. My son is only a toddler, but I'm teaching him the importance of these things now so they're deeply rooted in who he is as he continues to grow. I encourage him to share what he's feeling, acknowledge other people's emotions, and practice compassion. But it's not enough to do it just when they're young. To truly raise a good son in today's society, we, as parents, need to lead with kindness and recognize our biases.

It's impossible to be an adult and not have at least some prejudices and biases. That's OK and understandable. What isn't OK is letting them go unchecked and continuing to let them register in our belief structure and actions. Saying something as simple as "Boys can't play with dolls" or "Girls aren't good at math" can have an effect on how our children grow up to view girls and women. And the notion that boys are inherently better at things than girls is the opposite of kindness (not to mention ridiculously untrue).

It's not just the parents' responsibility to encourage thoughtfulness in their boys but also to monitor other impactful relationships they have as well. One study of men who repeatedly committed sexual assault and rape showed that their beliefs that women were lesser and owed things to men started at a young age and was fostered by a group of peers who believed the same. If a person is whomever they associate with, then we need to teach our children to challenge unkind and untrue beliefs in others, especially their friends.

I want my son to be successful and happy in life, but those wants and desires should never come at the expense of other people's well-being. If boys are taught to be kind and care for others, I'm confident that success and happiness will follow, for both them and our society.

Image Source: Unsplash/Chris Benson
From Our Partners
What the Holidays Are Like After a Family Tragedy
Michelle Obama on Marriage Counseling in Elle December 2018
Should I Get Married on a Holiday?
What It's Like to Travel With Kids During the Holidays
Hilary Duff Drinking Placenta in a Smoothie
What the Holidays Are Like When Your Spouse Does Shift Work
Why I Don't Care About Screen Time During the Holidays
We Stopped Having Kids After Having a Special Needs Child
Random Act of Kindness Experiment
Why I Love the Holidays
Mom Cartoons by Helene the Illustrator
Taking Family Photos For Christmas
From Our Partners
Latest Family
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds