The other day my 15-year-old son decided to attend the Bandra Lil Flea, a flea market, with his friends. Since it is holiday time, he and his friends decided to make the most of it. Since Mumbai is a vast city, most of his friends are located in different areas. Two of his female friends reside in our area. So, my son and those girls went together. It was a bit late when they came back. My son dropped his two female friends and then came home.
This is not the first time that my son has done this. He ensures always that after a party or even otherwise his female friends reach home safely and then he comes home. Many people have appreciated this gesture of my son and I am proud of him. But shouldn’t this be the norm? Most parents of my son’s female friends know him and can blindly trust their daughters in his company as they know him from a long time and know that their daughters will be safe with him. Wouldn’t I want such a friend for my daughter as well?
In an age of #MeToo where more and more women are coming out with horrid tales of their abuse sometimes unknowingly the entire male gender is looked at with suspicion and disgust. Not their fault as one doesn’t know who is good and who is not!
But I am extremely happy and proud that me and my husband have managed to raise a son in this era who is respectful and protective towards girls, believes in gender equality, does household chores, and in general a nice young gentleman. He has imbibed a lot of qualities from his father and some credit can be given to our upbringing.
Is it difficult to raise a good son? Not at all! Simply raise him like you would raise any other good human. Few pointers to raise an awesome son from my own experience:
1. Don’t spoil the son by making him believe that he is superior.
2. Instill good values and discipline right from a very young age. If the son is aggressive, don’t encourage it by saying that “boys will be boys”, correct him then and there itself.
3. Teach him to believe in gender equality. Here the father also plays a very important role. Sons imbibe a lot by observing their fathers and the overall home environment.
4. Teach him household chores and cooking. Don’t make it a “girly” thing. Its for his own benefit.
5. Set same rules for both the son and the daughter. Raise them in a similar fashion.
6. Talk to your son a lot. Let him express, let him cry if he wants to. Don’t ask him to toughen up and not express him emotions since he is a boy. Don’t ever say that “Boys don’t cry”.
7. I have talked to my son about menstruation, sex and sexuality as and when he grew up. Be frank with him. The more repressed he is the more mistakes will he make.
8. Teach him about consent. Most grown-up men don’t know about consent since they were made to believe that men can get away with everything.
Just a few things and you will see your son grow up to be a fine young man whom the world would love and appreciate..