Boys who are men in the making are the future citizens of this world. Citizens who will take on several critical roles when they grow up. How they rise up to the occasion will depend a lot on their upbringing and the values and principles imparted to them.
We in India have this habit of according a special status to boys. Though this trend is now on the decline, there are still certain things that we as parents unknowingly do that hinder their growing up into responsible, happy and compassionate human beings.
Young boys who are the future leaders, entrepreneurs, economists and more are also the future boyfriends, husbands, partners and fathers. Therefore we need to raise them with care. We don’t wish to unleash a disaster on the world, do we?
To ensure this, we need to lay down a solid foundation in the early years of their lives.
Being the mother of two boys in their twenties, I can offer a few suggestions based on my experience. These are a few pointers that parents of young boys need to keep in mind.
Impart a sense of equality and fairness
Let your boys know and understand that they are as loved and special as the girls. In other words, they are equal to the girls and not the superior or the special race. Yes, they may be different in several ways, but that difference does not extend to superiority.
This is especially true for families who have both sons and daughters. Sons should not be allowed to feel entitled just because they are boys. Instead, parents must treat their sons and daughters in an equal and fair manner which will, in turn, teach them to be fair in their future dealings.
Inculcate the proper sense of responsibility
When we talk about responsibility, parents should not make the boys believe that they will grow up to be only the providers of material requirements of their family. This implies that they could grow up thinking their responsibility in life would be limited to outside of the house with no duty within the four walls of the house as that would be the wife’s responsibility. Such a belief could lead to a misplaced sense of responsibility. Parents need to make their sons understand that the responsibility of running a house and raising a family is a joint task to be shared by both parents. There are no demarcated men only/ women only tasks and duties.
Don’t make them think that the house is only the woman’s domain. Instead, teach them that a home is where everyone lives, so it is everyone’s domain.
Teach them that it is ok to show their emotions
Being a boy doesn’t mean he has to have that macho, masculine air about him, an attitude that does not let him display his feelings. So don’t admonish your son if he cries or screams in pain or fear. Thus while you need to teach your children to be brave, don’t make it a boy/girl thing. When you do that, you instil that sense of false bravado in him, which will not allow him to show his emotions or feelings. That could lead to disastrous consequences for him and others around him.
Crying is not a girly thing. Crying can be everyone’s thing. Don’t teach your son to mask his feelings just because he is a boy.
Teach your son to be sensitive and kind
Again being sensitive to the feelings or emotions of others is not a female prerogative. Men, too, need to have that quality, and this needs to be inculcated from childhood.
Being a boy doesn’t mean being rough and aggressive. It isn’t about physical toughness. It is about mental toughness, which is needed by both boys and girls. After all, if they don’t learn that in their childhood, when will they learn. And if they don’t, they will end up messing up not only their lives but the lives of all those who come in contact with them in future.
Display your affection
This is something which many parents don’t do, thinking that hugging or kissing their son will make him more girly !! They restrain their feelings; they don’t display them, and what happens? The boy learns to do exactly that. So don’t hesitate in showing your affection to your son. If you want them to grow up into compassionate human beings, then walk the talk. Show them that it is ok to display one’s feelings, to be expressive about them. Don’t hesitate to kiss or hug your boys. This won’t make them weak. Instead, it will teach them to be loving and affectionate partners, fathers and role models.
The world is moving towards a fair and equal society. We, as parents, have to sow the seeds of this at home. The world will reap what we sow, therefore sow with care.