As a mom of boys, does your opinion of women shape how your son views women?
I know awho frequently says how much she doesn’t like women or girls. She believes that her way of thinking is fine because she has raised boys. Unfortunately, she has also raised . What she failed to realize is that in all her years of making negative comments about women and creating an environment of distrust and for women, she has conditioned her sons to share in her belief.
A misogynist is a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women. Despite your best efforts to teach your son to respect, like and trust women, you may inadvertently be conditioning him to have misogynistic views of women. We often forget that children don’t remember so much what we say, but what we do. Boys learn as much from their mothers as they do their fathers. As moms, we are as responsible as fathers for influencing our son’s views on the opposite sex. If you’re thinking, “There’s no way, I’m raising my son to be a misogynist”, see if you behave in the following ways:
1. You use derogatory terms in reference to other women
Before you say, “I’m just joking when I say that” or “All women say that”, let me correct you, not all women do it. If the word “bitch” seems to fly off your tongue for any minor infraction from another women, you are showing your son that it is fine to disrespect women when they piss you off. Don’t be surprised when your 7 year old calls his sister a “bitch” for breaking his toy.
2. You send him mixed messages about respect
You reprimand your son about respecting you but he witnesses men disrespecting you and you accepting it. If you’re being unauthentic in how you present yourself to your son, he will see through it. You are your son’s teacher and mentor. How you conduct yourself teaches him what he should think about women. By giving men permission to disrespect or mistreat you, you’re also giving your son permission to do the same to women. If you want your son to respect women, he needs to see mutual respect in the relationships with other males in your life.
3. You don’t value your own and other women’s contribution
There’s nothing noble or honorable about playing small in the world. When your son sees you downplaying your greatness or your hard work, he learns to believe that what women contribute is insignificant or unimportant. Expose him to nontraditional activities so that he has a better understanding of the different roles we have in the world as women.
4. You teach him to have an overinflated sense of entitlement
You can’t teach your son that he is entitled to respect and love without having to be respectful or loving. As moms, we are often consumed by the need to provide our sons with “perfect love”. What we fail to realize is that in offering “perfect love”, we are conditioning our sons to believe they are entitled to this kind of love. He has to learn that in life what he puts out into the world, he gets back. He won’t be able to engage in meaningful, loving and mutually respectful relationship with women, if he is so self-centered, that he can not give of himself.
5. You’re intolerant of other women
If you dismiss women who do not behave or think like you, you are presently a narrow view of women to your son. If you’re highly critical of other women, your son will be too. I’m not saying that you have to surround yourself with women who you clearly have nothing in common with, but do not feed into theof women. We have different experiences in life, so it’s important to not be quick to judge other women based on a limited perspective.
Your son will be exposed to various messages about women through media, music and other boys and men in his community. It is imperative that we as mothers do our best to dispel many of the myths about women our sons are learning. Instead of teaching gender differences at an early age, we need to teach gender acceptance and tolerance.
Originally appeared at Raising Great Men.com
Photo: Frank Mango/Flickr