6. Assume they’d never harm someone.
We all want to think the best of our kids. But we need to teach empathy to our boys, as well as our girls so that they learn from an early age to think about how their actions make others feel and talk through emotional consequences.
We also need to teach our boys what consent means, that anything other than “yes” means no, about touching or anything else relating to sex and sexuality.
Make clear to your kids that they have a duty to do the best they can to stop the hurt being caused. You can discuss how best to be an Upstander instead of a bystander, too.
7. Make “penis jokes” around them.
Small penis jokes are downright banned in our house, no matter who’s saying them. The amount of pressure society puts upon men and boys to have big muscles and big penises are extraordinary and it’s up to parents to never, ever add to this form of body shaming for their boys.
Besides, making jokes about other people’s sex organs is cruel, and your kids should never witness you being cruel. Even if it’s toward a celebrity or someone on TV, your kids are listening and will internalize it.
8. Stop hugging and snuggling them as they grow older.
We do we stop hugging our boys when they reach puberty? Sure, they’re no longer adorable little squish-faces like they were when they were babies, but the human touch is a basic need for many people.
Teens may push you away when you ask if they want a hug, but deep inside it’s important for them to know that you’re still available when they need some love.
Written by Joanna Schroeder
Originally appeared in The Good Men Project
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