Raising a Good Man Starts Now

Teaching boys about consent and sex is so important but teaching respect to our sons can (and should) start so much earlier.

When he’s little, stop tickling him as soon as he gets overstimulated or distressed. Pay attention to whether he’s having fun. Teach him to pay attention, too, when he’s playing with a sibling or friend.

Teach him that a “joke” where only one person has fun is not fun at all, but meanness, and unacceptable.

Show him how to treat animals gently, and to leave them alone when they cry out or try to get away. Don’t allow him to carry an unhappy cat around, or to tease the fish by banging on their tank.

Don’t spank him. Teach him that violence is not a way to get someone to do what you want, even (especially!) if you are bigger and stronger.

Listen to his sadness and anger, and accept his feelings as real and worthy, but do not allow him to take those emotions out on others.

Say no to him, and do not give him everything he wants.

Make sure he knows you value kindness and goodness over achievement in school, sports, or anything else.

Teach him about his body, and about privacy, and that bodies and sex are special and sacred.

When he gets bigger, and he is careless with throwing around his body weight, remind him of his growing strength, and that he must be gentler than ever. ‏

Call out sexism and misogyny in the media, in pop music, in movies and TV, and in people’s actions, and teach him to think critically about the messages he hears every day.

Treat every human being as worthy of respect and love, so he can see how it’s done. ‏

Finally, teach him not only to do what’s right, but to speak up when others do wrong.