Today marks International Women’s Day – a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
Respect for others has the greatest influence on shaping positive attitudes and guiding moral behaviour. It is important to invest time in teaching your boy the value of respect, especially towards women. Raising your son to respect women will have a hugely positive influence on his life and his success as a man.
In light of International Women’s Day, we share our five top tips for raising your son to respect women.
1. Be a good role model
Lead by example and show your son how to be respectful. Disrespect should not be ‘normalised.’ Boys need to learn first-hand, how to respect women in all areas of their lives. Share parental duties and tasks within your household, including domestic duties. Treat each family member with respect and compassion and provide role models that are male and female.
2. Spread equality
In our culture, women and men aren’t always viewed as equal. The progress of gender parity has slowed in many places across the world, so global action is needed to accelerate this equality. You should aim to avoid stereotyping and superiority by reinforcing to your son that men and women are equal. Women can and do achieve the same as men and should be treated in equal appreciation.
Invite conversation about women and respect. Give perspective and advice, and explain what is right and wrong. It is important to discuss what constitutes disrespect. Give examples and ask your son why he thinks the examples demonstrate disrespectful behaviour. Your son needs to recognise boundaries, determine what is acceptable, and acknowledge that women’s actions and decisions should be respected, even in social media.
4. Encourage manners
Speak not only to women, but everyone, with respect. Be courteous, kind, patient and understanding. Encourage your son to treat others the way he would like to be treated.
Be aware of the media your son is exposed to and aim to control it. Ensure that TV programmes, games or websites are age appropriate and contain themes you are comfortable with. Exposure to negative, or violent media desensitises children and paints a distorted view of what’s normal in regards to respect and treatment of others. It is important to kerb exposure so that your son is exposed to positive and respectful messages.
Use International Women’s Day as a platform for discussion about the role of women around the world. Identify examples of gender inequality and talk about how you can change the conversion. #BeBoldForChange. You can find out more about International Women’s Day at internationalwomensday.com
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