Raising Boys

Nurturing the fathers of the future | Raising Boys

A Duty

Since finding out that I was pregnant with my first child I’ve taken my responsibility as a parent very seriously. I don’t just mean in the day-to-day kind of things though. I’m acutely aware that my decisions and actions or in-actions, the way I behave and my own views and morals impact on my children and how they learn and grow.

raising boys

Girls and boys

As a mother of a girl and three boys I’ve tried to be very balanced in the way I raise them. I tell my children if they work hard they can be anything they want to be and that girls can do everything boys can do and vice versa.

We discuss gender stereotyping if it ever arises and we tackle any challenging viewpoints head on. I think it’s so important, I am keen to explore any bias they might have been subjected to.

I encourage my daughter to be strong and independent and compete with her peers. She believes she can do anything boys can do and has proven herself against her male peers in a range of sports. I have no doubt she will continue to follow this path.

I raise my boys to be equally as confident and independent and I encourage them to follow the paths they feel are best suited to them. As a mother of three boys however, I feel an added responsibility to encourage and support them to grow up to be loving and supportive boyfriends, partners and fathers, and to challenge that male stereotype that can still be seen in some places.

Raising Boys

Hopes

I don’t want my boys to be men who view particular things as a woman’s role. I don’t want my boys to be men who don’t know how to work the washing machine, or iron clothes. I want my boys to know how to cook and enjoy preparing a meal for everyone. I want my boys to know that being a parent should be a shared responsibility and that although fathers can’t breast feed, they can do everything else a mother can do. I want my boys to learn to bake so they too can bake with their children. I want my boys to understand that they can chose to break away from the male stereotype and that women LOVE men who do that. I want them to see challenging gender stereotypes and traditional roles as the cool thing to do AND to understand that parenting is a partnership.

Challenging others

Something I’ve noticed over the years is that whereas some girls will only have friends who are girls and some boys stick with boys – my children never have. The children are 3, 4, 9 and 11 but one of the things they all share in common is that they are equally as popular with girls and boys. My feeling is that this comes from their balanced views of gender roles, which others pick up on.

To overhear my three year old son challenging another boy at playgroup when he told one of the girls “you can’t play with trains” melted my heart. To hear him reply “girls can do anything boys can do” made me feel I was getting the message across.

I witnessed a similar thing with my nine year old son. At a party I watched him defend a girl when a group of boys started chanting that girls can’t play football. He told the group “girls can do anything boys can do, and sometimes they can do it better”.

Raising Boys

Balance

My children don’t see a huge amount of balance at home in terms of gender roles, I wish they did but that’s not how life has worked out for us. What they do see though is a mummy who will have a go at pretty much anything. They rarely hear me say “I’ll have to get daddy to do that” and that is really important to me.

I have lots of hopes for my children as we all do, but as a woman who has thus far done the bulk of the parenting with minimal male input and considerable inequality, I am on a mission to ensure that my boys do not become ‘those’ types of fathers. I hope to teach them to be supportive and caring partners and involved and attentive fathers.

I hope they grow up to value women and challenge gender inequalities.

Raising Boys

I’d love to hear from fathers how you role model behaviour for your sons and encourage gender equality, and from mothers who perhaps adopt a similar approach to me.

Let’s raise amazing boys because these are the fathers of the future.

 

Charlotte Pearson writes over at Mummy Fever – she is mum to four children aged 11, 9, 4 and 3 and has a background in sociology and international relations. Charlotte writes mainly around the themes of parenting, lifestyle and family travel. Charlotte loves skiing, hot chocolate and having adventures with her tribe.

About Charlotte


9 Comments

  • Thanks for publishing this guys x

  • I admit I browsed through the article in between cleaning the table and getting my boys set for some Pat&Mat. In short I agree. I too try my best to raise my boys properly. To value themselves and other (men and women) equally. They too will be raised knowing how to wash their clothes, cook a meal or mend their own bike.

  • I totally agree with everything you have said. I’m with you on teaching my sons how to be a man. A modern man. I was never taught how to do any house chores when I was young. So it is my job to now bring my children up how to run a home, cook and be a good husband and father to the best that I can. Very nice read.

    • That’s so good to hear Lewis and thanks for the lovely comment. I think it’s so important to know that even when that hasn’t been our own experience we can change that for our children.

  • This is lovely to hear, and i am raising my boy the same way. With two dads, he will instantly know all families come in different shapes and sizes. I want him to know men can do anything and everything, just like his dads. But he also has such strong, hands on women in his life too. A great balance! Thanks for sharing!

  • Shane Hamilton 5th February 2018 Reply

    I love what you have written Charlotte. But I concerned by the lack of comments about your daughter and how you ask her or heard her talk about her opinion on boys. I am sure you are teaching her the same values about boys being equally valuable parents and not expected to just be walking pay packets or rejected parents after divorce.
    I believe in many of the values you stated. I have 2 sons and a daughter. My wife does the cooking and I do the washing and ironing and quite a lot of cleaning. We dont do mums jobs and dad jobs. But it always concerns me when we focus on boys upbringing as if there is a problem..
    Good luck with raising your wonderful family

    • Shane – I was asked to focus on males for the purpose of writing for TheDadsNet so that is what I did on this occasion. I bring my daughter up in the same way. She knows girls can do everything boys can do and she does so with great gusto. She views boys as her equals and she encourages friends of hers to be the same.

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