As I was searching through Google, I was surprised to find no posts on teaching girls to respect men. There are plenty about respecting girls, which I agree is very necessary. With a rate of 1 in 6 women in America becoming a victim of rape there is a need for a strong lesson, there is a need to teach boys consent, there is a need to teach boys about equality, BUT, it’s just as true for women.
Girls need to be taught respect for boys and men as well, not subservience, not obedience, but respect.
How do we teach our girls to respect boys and men? What does that respect look like?
Lead by Example
Just like most other behaviors we hope to teach our children, leading by example is the first and foremost action we should take. This means mom, be respectful and polite to men around you, especially your spouse. Show your daughter that men deserve polite words and polite behavior. This means no hitting, no yelling, and apologizing when you’re wrong.
Speak kindly to those around you and speak kindly about others when they are not around. Our daughters see daily how we speak about others. Do not let her see disrespectful talk from you. You do not have to pretend to like someone you do not, but you can be kind and respectful to them.
Teach Girls to Understand Using Others
There is this strong debate about how girls should behave. I am a feminist and I firmly believe girls and women should not do something they don’t want to because it is expected of them, however, I also believe that girls need to understand using others. It can be easy for girls or women to use boys or men. It’s hard for me to come up with a great explanation but I think most will understand. Teach your daughter to be honest with those around her. That includes telling boys with kind, respectful words, when they are not interested.
Consent is not only something we should be teaching our sons. Our daughters also need to understand the importance of consent. No means no. We have this preconceived notion that boys/men are insatiable. There’s this notion that they always want sex, they will do anything for it, and they want it with whomever, whenever they can. This is not true. Men have every right to say no and to have it respected just as women do.
Speak Up When You Hear Unacceptable Behavior
We should never accept sexist, rude, and disrespectful behavior from our children no matter their gender. Speak up when you hear it from you daughter or those around her. Explain in detail why the behavior is unacceptable. Show her what is acceptable and respectable.
Teach them to be Feminist
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