A few months ago I had an interesting, albeit brief, conversation with a father of a daughter and son. I was fascinated to hear him say that he exerts energy on "protecting" and teaching his daughter about the perils of dating boys, but doesn't do the same with his son.
Hearing that was rather interesting to me as a mother to three young women. I had always assumed that parents of boys were putting the same amount of energy into teaching their sons about being good partners as my friends and I were putting into telling our girls about how to not only pick a great partner, but how to be one.
It seems to me that the world is still a bit behind in teaching young boys how to treat young women. In fact, judging by some of the stories I've come across in recent weeks of escalating violence against women, I think it is a perfect time to address the elephant in the parenting room.
Boys don't raise themselves. Boys don't learn how to respect, honour and treat women as their equals if they're not taught it at home. Forgive me for saying it, or for coming across as old-fashioned, but I truly believe that young men who are being "raised" on a steady stream of video games and social-media porn are not learning how to be decent members of society at all.
Now, before I offend all the parents of boys out there, I would like to say that obviously this doesn't fall on the shoulders of all the parents raising young men out there. I happen to know a fair few who are doing an excellent job in teaching their boys how to be responsible global citizens.
If I had a son, I would have raised him in the same way I raised my girls.
Also, I'm in no way, shape or form excluding the poor parenting that some parents are also doing with their girls. Poor parenting is not gender specific: the trend toward lazy parenting applies to parents of both sexes. This is a trend that needs to be nipped in the bud. The world needs all of us to be giving our parenting our all, at all times. Parenting is not a part time gig, it is 24 hours, seven days a week for LIFE.
I like to think that if I had a son, I would have raised him in the same way I raised my girls. Everything I did as a mother was with one desired outcome in mind: I wanted to be able to enjoy the company of my own kids as adults. If I didn't parent them when they were younger to be kind, respectful and thoughtful individuals, how would they grow into those sort of human beings on their own?
The answer is, which I'm confident you already know: They wouldn't.
Meaning the onus falls on us, the parents, to raise them into this. This includes the parents of boys. I suppose it is a given that we want our little girls to be polite, kind and respectful, but don't we want the same for our sons? I'd say since we still live in a time where the bulk of leadership roles and jobs are held by men, we need to raise them with these qualities even more so than our daughters.
Nothing about being a decent human being "just happens" -- these are all qualities that are taught, so if up until this point you've been the parent of a young boy who has had more of a "he'll figure it out on his own" approach, I invite you to rethink your parenting strategy.
Take a more active role in raising your son. Invest the same energy teaching your son how he should act in the world as you would in your daughter, rather than letting the world show him how it's done. You won't be disappointed. You'll end up having a son who is one of your favourite people on this earth. You can trust me on this, I have three adult daughters who are my favourite people.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
Also on HuffPost: