Why we need to teach our sons to be good men without pressuring them to ‘man up’
Teaching our sons to be 'manly' may do more harm than good if not done in a positive way
Joanna Schroeder is a proud feminist and she wants to raise her two boys to be proud feminists as well.
“When I became a mom, my focus as a feminist shifted to what is happening with boys in society today,” she told Upworthy. “That’s why I believe in a feminist parenting style as I raise my sons.”
Feminist parenting may sound daunting but it’s actually pretty simple.
More than raising boys who are allies for women, it involves actively “smashing gender norms”.
Here are three reasons why she believes raising our sons to become feminists is a good thing:
As a feminist parent, Joanna believes that we shouldn’t excuse bad behavior by passing it off as typical expressions of masculinity.
“Feminist parents believe that boys and girls are equally able to make choices that put empathy and kindness first,” states Joanna.
Expressions such as “boys will be boys” pose the harm of promoting harmful stereotypes about boys or girls and what they’re “supposed” to say or do based on their gender.
“From the time they’re small, we tell boys to ‘man up’ and we try to stop them from crying,” Joanna said. “Language like that keeps boys quiet when they’re hurt, and it tells them that they’re not allowed to seek support when times are tough.”
Back in the day, a cry who would be having a crying fit would usually be scolded for being a “sissy”.
We have the right to be sad, regardless of gender.
Joanna believes that telling young boys to “Man up” is limiting as it only allows them to feel three emotions: : happiness, lust, and anger.
Boys should be allowed to feel what they feel so they can become who they are.
According to a recent study, only 19% of grown men felt comfortable expressing their problems and feelings with others. Sadly, 75% of suicides are males, most of the cases involved an inability to express emotions.
“Raising feminist sons, allowed to express the full range of their feelings and find support when they’re feeling sad or scared, can help our boys live longer, happier lives,” affirms Joanna.
“When we allow boys to see themselves as kind, empathetic, loving people, they are able to see themselves as engaged dads,” adds Joanna. “Dads who will help break the cycle of toxic masculinity.”
More than grooming them to grow up to be “financial providers” young boys can be taught early to focus on being providers, also, of emotional security, attention, and caring for their kids like a mom would.
“That allows for their partners to enter the workforce to their full capacity, knowing that their men are empowered as a different type of provider, too,” Joanna said.
Many would debate that this type of parenting would be confusing to young boys. But the intent of making them the best men they can be remains our priority, no matter what road we take to get them there.
“Feminist parenting directly combats toxic masculinity,” stresses Joanna. “(This) ultimately offers all of our kids a better future.”
Also Read: 11 things only dads can teach their boys
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