We have two pre-teen sons, and we care about the kind of men they’ll become. We care about how they learn to treat women — especially in today’s climate where so many men are behaving so badly. The barrage of famous men whose embarrassing behavior toward woman has come under appropriate scrutiny reflects this truth that Hollywood has long wanted us to deny: our society is hemorrhaging from being over-sexualized. If you’re raising sons, you should be concerned.
To be fair, many women are behaving badly, too. (Ladies, if you don’t want men to treat you like a sex object, then don’t try to present yourself as one). But this particular post isn’t about what women need to do. It’s about what men need to do. And, it’s about what parents and guardians who are raising boys can do to help ensure their boys grow up to be gentlemen who really know how to love and respect women. It’s number three in this series, and I hope it helps you. I’d love to read your comments, too.
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Here are a few suggestions on what you can do to help ensure your son learns how to love and respect women . . .
1. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR EXAMPLE: REMEMBER THAT YOUR SON IS ALWAYS WATCHING, LISTENING AND LEARNING FROM THEIR MOST SIGNIFICANT TEACHER — YOU. You, not the public school system, nor a formal academic environment, are the most significant teacher in the life of your child. This is especially true when it comes to what your child learns about sex, sexuality, and how to treat other people.
The ways in which you interact with your spouse are teaching your son, for better or worse, how to treat another human being. If you’re married (or living together), you’re teaching your child how two people in the most intimate of relationships act — whether healthy or unhealthy. Is what they are learning from you worthy of replicating?
Are you a good example? How do you talk to your mate? How good of a listener are you? Are you patient or impatient, selfish or selfless? Does your relationship exemplify sacrificial commitment or something less than God’s best and what every human being deserves?
2. SPEND TIME EVERY SINGLE DAY ASKING YOUR CHILD QUESTIONS AND LISTENING. If you do this, your child will learn that you are a great confidant, and that they can trust you to share anything they are facing. You need to be your child’s go-to person for truth, how to think, and how to live. Are they coming to you, and are you giving them good reason?
The average person just one hundred years ago had only one or two major bits of information to process in a single day. Now, the average child or teenager has many to process every single hour.
Your son needs you to help him process things, think things through, and how to learn how to think for themselves — especially when it comes to how to view and interact with women. Do you think your son hasn’t heard about the accusations against Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Dustin Hoffman or any number of the other famous men whose treatment of women was reprehensible?
3. REMEMBER, A PARENT IS A COACH: YOU SHOULD BE THE SOURCE OF THEIR INFORMATION, NOT THE MEDIA OR THEIR FRIENDS. Start viewing your relationship with your son as a coaching relationship, and that will give you great insight into your role in helping them interact with women.
I learned the “facts of life” from my friend, Harold, not my parents. How did that happen? Because my parents were ill-equipped and unwilling to take the initiative and teach me. If only I had learned from them, I could have learned healthy views on sex and relationships.
These days, you should start talking about sex and sexuality at a much earlier age than you think, bringing up the topic so that your son knows you’re the expert. And if you’re not the expert, it’s time you become one by reading great materials on parenting, listening and coaching.
4. BE SMART WITH MEDIA AND DEVICES: IF YOUR CHILD HAS ACCESS TO A TABLET, COMPUTER, SMARTPHONE OR TELEVISION WITHOUT YOUR DIRECT SUPERVISION, THEY ARE GOING TO LEARN THEIR VIEWS OF LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS FROM WHAT THEY SEE AND HEAR, AND IT WILL BE DEVESTATING. Yup, I said “will be” not “could be. I wrote more about this in another blog post in great detail (and I cover it extensively in my book).
If a child or teenager is spending unsupervised time watching movies, playing games,surfingthe web or even texting without your close and constant supervision, it’s only a matter of time (and brief, at that) before they see and hear things they’ll never be able to “unsee.” Be proactive and be a parent.
Parents are supposed to protect and supervise their children. Do it or you’ll pay a heavy, possible irrepairable price. All it takes is one photo, one video, or one text to send your son down the wrong path.
Remember, your son needs to learn how to love and respect women. His main way of learning that is from YOU.
ARE YOU HELPING YOUR SON GROW UP TO BECOME A LOVING, RESPONSIBLE, HONORABLE MAN BY SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE? IF YOUR SON GROWS UP TO BE LIKE YOU, WOULD THAT BE A GOOD THING?
ABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I publish my blogs here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy, chime in.
I’m the author of “A Call for Courage: Living With Power, Truth and Love In An Age of Intolerance and Fear” (Thomas Nelson Publishers). While the official release date is March 13, 2018, you can pre-order it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold. If you want to learn more about me, just click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or click here to explore the potential of having me speak to your group.
If you like solid Bible teaching, and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate Godfactor.com, where you can download my Bible teaching and more. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GraceYork.com — and be sure to introduce yourself.