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How I'm Raising My Sons to Be Good Men

Posted: 03/08/2013 3:54 pm

Raising Sons

I am the mother of two boys. I love them more than life itself, as all of you mothers out there can relate. My gentle and quiet three-year-old is a contrast to his outgoing and boisterous almost two-year-old brother. I often wonder what they'll be like as adults, what kind of husbands they will be and what type of moral compasses they will have. As I sit with girlfriends and they tell me about the trials and tribulations of their marriages, I hope that my sons will know how to handle difficult situations, particularly within their own marriages.

I come from a culture that is primarily male-dominated. The boys can do whatever they want and the girls must learn to become domestic goddesses and "yes" women. Because really, who's going to marry you if you don't know how to make a good curry and maintain a clean home? And God forbid you wait to get married because those eggs of yours will begin rotting away. We are taught that our worth is determined by the amount of recipes we know, how fertile our eggs are and sure, a degree here and there makes you more sell-able -- all to find a good husband of course.

So this is where my parenting methods come into play. My fear is to raise boys who go through life having a sense of entitlement. Who go from living in their mother's home to marrying someone who takes over the mothering role. I want them to be independent beings long before they get married. I don't want them to live with me after marriage. In fact, I look forward to moving into my South Asian nursing home one day where we can all share the commonalities of daal, drooling, diaper changes and fighting over the new young male intern.

It is a must for me to raise boys who know how to cook, clean, do laundry and maybe even make fantastic roti. I obviously want them to go to school and become great at whatever profession they choose to be in but I don't think the buck should stop with providing a great income and letting the rest fall to the wayside.

I want them to use words to describe their feelings, not fists.
I want them to be rough and tough and yet gentle and loving.
I want them to learn that those who cry are the strongest ones of all.
I want them to firmly believe in their heart of hearts that women are meant to be cherished and respected.
I want them to know that as long as they live and as old as they get, I will continue to kiss and hug them, no matter who is around. But I'm also aware that I will have to take a step back when it is time for them to get married.
I do not want to compete with another woman for my sons' attention. They are my sons and that will never change.

I am their mother. It is MY responsibility to make sure they have respect for women and don't just see them as food providing, housekeeping, baby makers. It helps that they have a great role model in their father. Who, while running his own company, has probably changed more diapers than I have, has taught himself to cook online (albeit I still interfere and anxiously think he's doing it all wrong) and most recently built his boys a kitchen out of boxes in our basement so they too can cook alongside us.

If there's one thing I'd like to be known for above anything else, it's being a great mother who raises boys that come into a marriage ready to take on responsibility, both inside and outside the home. I don't want to raise either of my boys to be someone's problem one day. I may not have full control over that but I do know that I can try my best with what I can control and it all begins inside the home, with the primary female role model leading the way. I just need to figure out how to find that balance of spoiling them with love while teaching them that appreciation and respect for all others, male or female, is the highest form of self-respect.

By Sheba Siddiqui


Follow Sheba on twitter @shebasid

Read more posts from Sheba on parenting boys on masalamommas:

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

Teaching Kids the Art of Appreciation

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    The original name of <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Abraham" target="_hplink">Abraham</a> in the Bible, which was changed by divine command, has long been in the shadow of the longer form, but that's changing fast. Abram is now at Number 444, up 87 places to reach its highest spot since 1897. Cool factor: the nickname Bram.

  • Abel

    Another biblical A-boy, <a href="http://www.nameberry.com/babyname/Abel" target="_hplink">Abel</a>, despite his unfortunate Old Testament fate, is a modern hit in both the Anglo and Hispanic communities, pronounced with an accent on the second syllable in the latter. Abel, given a bump when chosen by Amy Poehler and Will Arnett for their second son, rose 56 points this year.

  • Atticus

    <a href="http://www.nameberry.com/babyname/Atticus" target="_hplink">Atticus</a>, a Nameberry fave, is one of the leaders of the ancient Latin appellation invasion. This noble "To Kill a Mockingbird" character's name moved up close to a hundred places this year alone.

  • Arthur

    Of all the semi-forgotten midcentury Dad names -Walter, Warren, et al--that are poised for revival, the noble <a href="http://www.nameberry.com/babyname/Arthur" target="_hplink">Arthur</a>, one-time shining knight of the Round Table, seems to be making the greatest strides. He moved up 50+ places to Number 52 last year.

  • Emmett

    I guess we shouldn't be too surprised when a name with a "Twilight" pedigree continues on an upward course, but somehow we think <a href="http://www.nameberry.com/babyname/Emmett" target="_hplink">Emmett</a>'s other qualities -- solid roots and an image both casual and creative -- take it beyond the confines of its franchise association.

  • Gideon

    An Old Testament name that's a relative newbie in terms of modern popularity, <a href="http://www.nameberry.com/babyname/Gideon" target="_hplink">Gideon</a> -- lighter and more rhythmic than many other biblical boys -- entered the Social Security list in the millennial year 2000 at Number 888, and has bound up 476 places since then. Some other references: the Gideon Bible, TV's "Gideon's Crossing." <em>Pictured: Actor Andre Braugher who plays Dr. Ben Gideon on "Gideon's Crossing"</em>

  • Ezra

    <a href="http://www.nameberry.com/babyname/Ezra" target="_hplink">Ezra</a> is another previously neglected Old Testament name that's neglected no longer. Several elements are contributing to its success, including that zippy middle letter z, and an appearance as a hot character on "Pretty Little Liars." <em>Pictured: Ian Harding who plays Ezra Fitz on "Pretty Little Liars."</em>

  • Titus

    The tragic Shakespearean hero of Titus Andronicus has long been the chief representative of his name, but this old Roman classic is being rejuvenated, initially by the TV comedy series "Titus 2000" (where Titus was a surname) -- then when chosen by fashionista Lucy Sykes, who named her son Titus Jasper Jake Icarus.

  • Silas

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  • Theodore

    Some parents are using this full form as a road to the hip nickname <a href="http://www.nameberry.com/babyname/Theo" target="_hplink">Theo</a>, one of whom is actress Bryce Dallas Howard. With this year's 30-place jump, the solid, presidential, semi-classic Theodore is more popular than it's been in a quarter of a century.

  • Leo

    A longtime Nameberry favorite, <a href="http://www.nameberry.com/babyname/Leo" target="_hplink">Leo</a> continues its ascent among baby namers in general: its 25-place increase this year brings it to Number 167. Being the oft-heard nickname of Leonardo Di Caprio was definitely a factor.

  • Maximus

    Once thought of as far too grand for an American baby boy, this Latin name meaning "the greatest" is now an accepted member of the <a href="http://www.nameberry.com/babyname/Max" target="_hplink">Max</a> Club; it rose 22 places last year to Number 212. An even greater leap was taken by cousin Maximiliano, the third biggest climber on the boys' list. <em>Pictured: Russell Crowe who played Maximus in "Gladiator."</em>

  • More from Nameberry:

    <strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/07/nameberry-classic-girls-names_n_1865314.html" target="_hplink">Read The 12 Classic Girl Names Making A Comeback </a></strong> Plus: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/13/baby-names-2012_n_1666164.html" target="_hplink">The Hottest Baby Names Of 2012 (So Far)</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pamela-redmond-satran/baby-name-rules_b_1456854.html" target="_hplink">22 Rules To Follow When Choosing A Baby Name</a>


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