When boys are taught that they can’t “be like girls” it has the threefold effect. First, it alienates them from core aspects of themselves. Second, it portrays what is feminine as undesirable and inferior. Third, it forces boys into a “man box” from which emotions and empathy are excluded.
Image source and article: http://www.salon.com/2013/09/25/5_ways_america_tells_boys_not_to_be_girly/
What we need, instead, are more stories like this:
What I Won’t Tell You About My Ballet Dancing Son
So I began making a point at night to draw some faces for her (which was my pleasure–faces are my favorite part, anyway). She would then pick up a pen with great focus, and begin to draw. Later, I would add color and highlights, texture and painting, to make a complete piece. Sometimes she filled in the solid areas with colored markers, but I would always finish with acrylics later on my own.
Image source and article: http://busymockingbird.com/2013/08/27/collaborating-with-a-4-year-old/
I read a study some time ago comparing white and black families. It found that on average, African-American parents start talking about race with their African-American children by age 3. White parents with white kids? Age 13.
Is it any wonder my white students are so racially baffled and behind? That they look like deer in headlights when I tell them we’re going to talk about race in their actual lives? It’s not just the fact of being white, and thus insulated from the negative affects of racism (though I believe white children are deeply harmed as well — in different ways), that works against their developing aptitude about race and anti-racism. We, their parents, are working against them too!
Parent of the year award goes to:
“…it left me feeling grateful that this will be an ongoing conversation (yes, like the sex one! seriously, it just keeps going and going) and that I will have more opportunities to answer these unending questions in a way that inspires my kids to hope rather than fear.”
Image source and article: http://www.therustylife.com/2013/05/death-and-sex-and-other-hard-questions/
Teach consent, empathy, self-awareness. Start young.
“Keep talking about sex and consent with teens as they start having serious relationships. Yeah, they’ll tell you they know it all, but continuing the conversation about healthy consent, respecting our partners, and healthy sexuality shows them how important these themes are to you. It also normalizes talking about consent, so talking openly and respectfully with partners becomes second nature to teens.”
Image source and article: http://goodmenproject.com/families/the-healthy-sex-talk-teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21/