Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Parents of Daughters Want You to Teach Your Sons

I've mentioned before that I attend a weekly women's Bible Study Group at my church.  I consider the other women in the group to be some of my closest friends.  Over the last few years, we have learned together, laughed together, and cried together.  These women are all wonderful women and fantastic moms who comfort me and inspire me.

I had a conversation earlier this week with some of these amazing women about how growing up - and, therefore, parenting - is different today from how it was when we were young.  Kids are introduced to so many things earlier these days; things like alcohol and sex.  Part of our conversation also included discussing some of the ways that raising boys is different from raising girls.  With one mom/friend in particular, I was discussing the double standard that still exists regarding "intimate relations."  Among boys, it is still an accomplishment; something to be proud of with few consequences.  For girls though, it is the opposite.  Promiscuous girls are insulted, disgraced and, often, the consequences can be life-altering - like teen pregnancy.  She said she wanted to teach her sons differently - she wants them to understand that there is not honor in that kind of behavior - for boys or girls.  I admire her tremendously for that.  More importantly, as a mom with three daughters, I thank her for that so very, very much.  The whole thing got me to thinking about what I hope the boys my daughters will eventually date are being taught at home today.  Of course, I made a list.

  1. Chivalry - Chivalry is not dead.  At least it shouldn't be.  Your son should know that, when he holds a door or pulls out a chair for a girl, she doesn't think he is doing it because he views her as weak or incapable.  She thinks he is doing it because he has manners; because he is kind and puts others before himself.  That is ALWAYS a good thing!
  2. To take pride in his appearance - He shouldn't show up for a date in sweats and a ball cap.  I can guarantee that my daughter(s) will agonize over what to wear.  She will put on make up and spend longer than usual fixing her hair.  Why shouldn't he do the same?  Dress appropriately.  Shave if needed.  At least at my house, he better not show up with tattoos and earrings. 
  3. He shouldn't change who he is to impress her - They are both their own people - my daughter and your son.  Sometimes people are compatible and sometimes they are not.  If he pretends to be something he is not in an attempt to find that compatibility, they will both up miserable and lonely.  (For this same reason, I am trying desperately to teach my girls that they do not have to change themselves to impress your boys, so, when she breaks his heart, you can blame it on me.) 
  4. He should tell her she is beautiful - He shouldn't just compliment her appearance, though.  She is so much more than eye candy for him.  She is smart, funny, creative, ambitious.  He needs to acknowledge that.  Tell her.  Those words will mean more to her than he will ever know.
  5. He should bring her flowers just because -  Don't save it for special occasions.  He should do it just because he was thinking of her.  
  6. When he comes to pick her up for a date, he better do it properly -  Tell him he should NEVER EVER EVER honk the horn from my driveway or send her a text to let her know he is here.  He should come to the door, stand up straight, look us in the eyes, and shake our hands.  Say "Yes, Ma'am" and "Yes, Sir."  Despite all the jokes to the contrary, we don't really want him to be afraid of us - we will not meet him at the door with a shotgun.  HOWEVER, he should NEVER forget that we are entrusting him with one of our most prized possessions and he is responsible for returning her to us safely.  If he is unable to show us proper respect, we will have no faith in his ability to show our daughter proper respect.
  7. Honesty and Communication  - No relationship can work without these.  If she upsets him, he should tell her.  If he is not interested, he should tell her.  Do it kindly, but be honest.  We expect her to do the same.  Sometimes it is hard, but he and she and their relationship will be much better off in the long run.
  8. She is her own person - Similar to #3.  Her  relationship with your son does not define her.  She has talents, interests, and aspirations that have nothing to do with him.  In fact, she had them before she ever even knew him.  She was somebody special before she ever met him and she would be o.k. without him again.  
  9. He should ALWAYS respect her wishes - If he wants to do something that makes her uncomfortable - sexual, social, whatever - and she tells him "No," it's not because she doesn't love him.  It's because she has values and morals.  She knows her boundaries.  She has the COURAGE to stand up for herself and for what she thinks is right.  Your son should admire her for that.  If he doesn't, then he doesn't deserve her and you haven't done your job.  (Harsh? Yes.  But, remember #7? I'm being brutally honest here.)
  10. There are no longer "traditional" male and female roles - If she cooks for him or cleans for him, or irons his shirt, she is doing it because she WANTS to - not because she is supposed to.  Therefore, he better say "Thank You."  He can even do those things for her sometimes, too. (When he does nice things for her, she better say "Thank You," as well, because that's what we are trying our best to teach her.) 
So, what do you think??  If you have daughters, do you agree with my list? Have anything to add??   Boy moms, are these reasonable expectations?  What do you want me to teach my daughters before your son asks her for a date? Leave me some comments and let me know!

And, stay tuned tomorrow!  I'l post the answers I got from my girls when I asked them what parents should be teaching their boys!  They had some pretty good ideas, too! :-)


Lisa said...

As a mother of a son, I always try to remember that I'm not raising a boy, I'm raising a future man. He's only in kindergarten, but we've already started having the conversations about chivalry, manners, and that "no means no", in any context. Excellent post,I'm going to share.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Lisa, thank you so much for stopping by, for your sweet comment, and for sharing! Most importantly, thank you for what you are teaching your son!!

AnnMarie said...

I am a boy mom and a girl mom so I see it from both points of view. I think these are great and totally what I want my boys to know and do. The girls around these parts are pretty forward and advanced. Some of the things that they text my older son makes me wish their moms checked their phones. I want my daughter to know that a boy might do things that make her happy but she needs to make herself happy and stand for what she believes in. No boy will define who she is, that is up to her. The right guy will accept her for who she is. Never change for a boy. I am constantly teaching my kids that their body is the only one they get and it they're not to be shared with the whole world. I also tell them to listen to that little voice in their head when something doesn't feel right. It will serve them well. Great post!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks, AnnMarie! Those are definitely some of the things I am trying to teach my girls, too. As my oldest is getting ready to enter middle school, I have heard some horror stories lately about what boys AND girls are doing these days at such an early age. It really scares me - I want to protect my kids, but not be that psycho helicopter parent. Have to find a happy medium and hope they remember the things I am trying so hard to teach them!

Anonymous said...

LOVE this post..I am trying to raise my soon to be 4 year old to be a good man, a respectful and kind man. I want him to look for a partner that has the same qualities and does not need him to validate them or hurt others. I hope he finds a good partner that wants him to do all the things on the list above. We teach him respect means cleaning your room, keeping your body healthy, being nice to others to NOT get something but because it makes you feel good, helping others because it is the right thing to do, standing up for what's right.

I am glad you are raising respectful girls, after seeing how some girls and boys act and the way they dress, I scared for them and weep for their loss of innocence and respect.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comment and thank you so much for visiting!! Hope you come back often!

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