Tag Archives: moms of boys

Could You be Raising a Misogynist?

I know a mom who frequently says how much she doesn’t like women or girls. She believes that her way of thinking is fine because she has raised boys. Unfortunately, she has also raised misogynists. What she failed to realize is that in all her years of making negative comments about women and creating an environment of distrust and disrespect for women, she has conditioned her sons to share in her belief.

Raising a Misogynist

A misogynist is a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women. Despite your best efforts to teach your son to respect, like and trust women, you may inadvertently be conditioning him to have misogynistic views of women. We often forget that children don’t remember so much what we say, but what we do.  Boys learn as much from their mothers as they do their fathers. As moms, we are as responsible as fathers for influencing our son’s views on the opposite sex. If you’re thinking, “There’s no way, I’m raising my son to be a misogynist”,  see if you behave in the following ways:

1- You use derogatory terms in reference to other women. Before you say, “I’m just joking when I say that” or “All women say that”, let me correct you, not all women do it. If the word “bitch” seems to fly off your tongue for any minor infraction from another women, you are showing your son that it is fine to disrespect women when they piss you off. Don’t be surprised when your 7 year old calls his sister a “bitch” for breaking his toy.

2-You send him mixed messages about respect. You reprimand your son about respecting you but he witnesses men disrespecting you and you accepting it. If you’re being unauthentic in how you present yourself to your son, he will see through it. You are your son’s teacher and mentor. How you conduct yourself teaches him what he should think about women. By giving men permission to disrespect or mistreat you, you’re also giving your son permission to do the same to women. If you want your son to respect women, he needs to see mutual respect in the relationships with other males in your life.

3-You don’t value your own and other women’s contribution-There’s nothing noble or honorable about playing small in the world. When your son sees you downplaying your greatness or your hard work, he learns to believe that what women contribute is insignificant or unimportant. Expose him to nontraditional activities so that he has a better understanding of the different roles we have in the world as women.

4-You teach him to have an overinflated sense of entitlement-You can’t teach your son that he is entitled to respect and love without having to be respectful or loving. As moms, we are often consumed by the need to provide our sons with “perfect love”. What we fail to realize is that in offering “perfect love”, we are conditioning our sons to believe they are entitled to this kind of love. He has to learn that in life what he puts out into the world, he gets back. He won’t be able to engage in meaningful, loving and mutually respectful relationship with women, if he is so self-centered, that he can not give of himself.

5-You’re intolerant of other women-If you dismiss women who do not behave or think like you, you are presently a narrow view of women to your son. If you’re highly critical of other women, your son will be too. I’m not saying that you have to surround yourself with women who you clearly have nothing in common with, but do not feed into the negative stereotype of women as being conniving, superficial, emotionally unstable or fragile.  We have different experiences in life, so it’s important to not be quick to judge other women based on a limited perspective.

Your son will be exposed to various messages about women through media, music and other boys and men in his community. It is imperative that we as mothers do our best to dispel many of the myths about women our sons are learning. Instead of teaching gender differences at an early age, we need to teach gender acceptance and tolerance.

Your Son is Not Broken, Stop Trying to Fix Him

“Mom, I’m not broken.”  That’s what my son told me when he was younger. I was overly concerned with how he was not being social and he wanted to let me know that he didn’t need me to fix him. He needed me to accept him.  As much as you want your son to “be himself”, there are times you don’t accept him.  I know there have been times when I’ve focused on how what’s wrong with my son instead of being grateful for what’s right with him.

Mom, Stop Trying to Fix Me

Your son is not a DIY project or piece of equipment that requires professional servicing. As parents, sometimes our view of our sons are limited and narrow, that we focus on the areas that need improvement instead of looking at the whole child.

Yes, children need discipline and guidance but it shouldn’t be our focal point. We see the minor imperfections and before you know it, we’re embarking on a mission to fix what we think needs to be corrected. We look so closely at his weaknesses, that we neglect his strengths.  Your son is not going to live his life exactly as you wish. He’s going to take risks and make mistakes. Our job as a parent is to pick him up when he falls and lead him in the right direction.

Your son doesn’t need you to point out his limitations, he needs you to guide him to make the right choices in life.  He needs you to see his possibilities. He needs you to encourage him as he faces daily struggles, pressures and criticism from society. He needs your comfort and help. He needs you to have realistic expectations and allow for mistakes. He needs your reassurance that you believe in him and love him unconditionally.

Take some time today to see your son as capable and complete. I’m learning to do the same every day.

#MomsofBoysChat Responsible Social Media Use

Join the #momsofboychat this Friday at 10pm Est as we welcome our co-host @selvagemedia! Thomas Dodson, President of Selvage Media will be sharing about their new campaign “Above the Fray“. This is not an anti-cyberbullying program but rather a bigger movement to teach our youth how to use social media responsibly.

Above the Fray Campaign

Selvage Media is looking to get parents, educators, and school districts involved in this campaign! We hope you’ll join the conversation and share how you are teaching your kids to be responsible with social media. You can also support there program by making a donation to help get this program started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Kind of Man Do You Want to Be: Image of a Real Man

This month’s What Kind of Man Do You Want to Be topic: The Image of a Real Man was a conversation about the image of a real man and how societal  and media masculine standards perpetuates male stereotyping.

Panelists  for Part I:  Enrique Pascal,  author of What Does A Real MAN Look Like? and host of Transformation Radio and Alan Bishop, founder of The 365 Effect, producer and creator several television shows .

Panelists for Part II: Edmund Adjapong, Rey Saint-Vil and Alex Hanse

FYI (if you’re teenage girl) A Response from a Mom of Boys

20120915_132929Dear Mrs. Hall,

My letter is in response to your post: FYI (if you’re a teenage girl).

Mrs. Hall, I congratulate you in doing a fine job in raising great men. It is always a pleasure to meet another mom who is leaving a legacy of compassionate, respectful and responsible men. I read your post and thought it was a well-written and thoughtful  letter to teen girls.  I appreciate how you approached the topic with love and candor.  Your letter was indeed a wake-up call to teen girls and their parents.

It’s unfortunate that so many people missed the points you were making because they were obsessing over your picture of your sons in swimsuits.

I wanted to share some thoughts with you( mom to mom) about how we can all help teen boys and girls to have self-respect, make better decisions, and use social media responsibly.

We were teens (not that long ago) and fortunately we did not have social media to capture some of our antics or poor decisions. I can speak for myself but I remember wearing short skirts to draw the attention of boys. I never went to the extreme but when my friends and I noticed what guys liked, we would make subtle changes to get attention.

As a mom of two boys, one a teenager, I want to believe that my sons will always make the right decisions. But let’s be honest, a teen brain isn’t fully developed and teens can make less than rational choices. Although, we are instilling in our sons  the importance of love,  integrity, honesty, and empathy, we are not living in a teen boy’s world. As much as our teen son shares with us, there’s still some information he keeps to himself.

There are many honorable, respectful young men out there but even they sometimes get caught up in doing less than honorable things. I’ve worked with teen boys and most have been honest enough to tell me that they have passed along to their friends private photos of teen girls..  They felt they were claiming their alpha male status and didn’t see the harm in sharing the picture.

We have to ask ourselves: Why do these teen girls feel the need to take half-naked pictures in sultry positions? Perhaps instead of putting the responsibility on girls, we have to talk with our sons about objectification of women. There is a culture standard of sexy that teens feel they have to live up to. When teen girls see themselves as  “parts of a body” instead of whole and complete, they justify the need to be an object of desire for teen boys. We need to teach our sons to see these girls as “whole” and not just body parts. Yes, easier said than done when dealing with teens and raging hormones.

We can not dismiss the fact that as a society we contribute to this objectification and our sons aren’t always innocent bystanders.    We need to explain to them why these girls are taking these pictures. Yes, it’s important to tell teen girls to be a “real beauty inside and out” but we also have to teach our sons to be gentlemen.

Have you asked your sons what they think about these pictures or do you take it upon yourself to voice your disapproval? I would hope that they would take it upon themselves to block these girls as oppose to you doing it for them.

Our kids are living in a different time and are exposed to the media’s continuous objectification and sexualization of teen boys and girls. We can’t just expect to block people or sites to protect them. We must have honest conversations with our sons about sex and porn. We have to bear the responsibility of what we’re teaching our sons and daughters about the opposite sex.

Let’s continue the good fight to raise men and women of character.

Where’s Daddy?

On Sunday, May 5 on Life Class on the OWN Network, Oprah Winfrey and Iyanla Vanzant are addressing a sensitive topic that needs more awareness: Fatherless Sons. This two part show is a must watch for families. We need to start the healing process for men who grew up without fathers, we need to set the example for our sons to be better men and fathers.

First Look: Oprah’s Lifeclass on Fatherless Sons

What if America’s sons didn’t have to grow up without their fathers? What difference could it make? It’s a problem that’s been going on for too long and at too great a cost. And it’s time to talk about it.

Tune in Sunday, May 5, at 9/8c for a special two-hour Oprah’s Lifeclass with Iyanla Vanzant.

As moms of boys, our role is to support the needs of the boys and men in our lives. Whether we’re married or single, we need to ensure that our sons understand the importance of a father in a boy’s life. We need to teach our sons to be accountable and responsible for their decisions and actions.   Let’s build a strong foundation for our sons to  leave a legacy of compassion, respect and responsibility.

Fathers, don’t be an invisible or silent force in your son’s life. You are the  man he aspires or does not aspire to be. Your actions and behavior dictate to him all he needs to know about manhood. He needs you to teach him how to be a man. He needs you to guide him through his rites of passage from boyhood to manhood.  Be a visible and powerful force in your son’s life.  Show him how to be man of character by living your life with integrity, honor, respect.  Every day in every way, you are becoming a better man.

Let’s teach our sons that fatherhood is not a casual choice.

4 Things To Do Instead of Yelling at Your Son

LoudYelling

I don’t like to yell.  I didn’t grow up in a household where my parents yelled, so when people are yelling around me it makes me uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I raise my voice when I’m angry or trying to get my point across but yelling just for the sake of yelling seems pointless to me. Yet, yelling works for some people.  However, the frustration of feeling ignored may lead you to start yelling to get your son to listen.  Here are a few tips to avoid yelling at your son and further conflicts.

1. Learn to Respond, Rather than React. Yelling at your son to get his attention, may actually result in a negative reaction. Instead, get your son’s attention, look at him in the eyes and say what you have to say. Constantly reacting to behavior contributes to misbehavior just to get attention. Kids crave attention whether it’s for positive or negative behavior.

2. Keep Your Anger in Check. Even though we hate to admit it, we sometimes have to won our problems. Your son may not know that you had a bad day at work. Give yourself a few minutes before responding. Ask yourself if the situation is important enough to address or to let go. If you need time to yourself, explain to your son that you are not in a good mood and that you will speak to him when you are feeling better. Be honest about how you are feeling to develop a level of trust with your son.

3. Give Clear Directions. After asking your son to pick up his clothes several times, they’re still on the floor. Younger boys may need help getting into the habit of doing a task on a regular basis. Make sure your son is capable of doing the task by himself. Your son may not admit that he did not understand instructions. When dealing with teens, use the word “I” instead of “You.” For example, say, “I notice that you did not pick up your shirt,” as opposed to, “You keep leaving your shirt on the floor.” Starting a sentence with “You” takes on a accusatory tone and can lead to defensiveness.

4. Take Care of Yourself If you are addressing your son when you are tired or hungry, then your needs aren’t being met, which is contributing to your frustration. Unless a situation needs immediate attention, tend to your needs before addressing your son.

 

Are All Boys Created Equal?

BoyHoldingSomething

Recently another mother informed me that she was so grateful for my site and the resources I share. What most poignant thing she said to me was: “Thank you that you creating this site for black mothers and sons.” I politely corrected her that I created the site for all moms of boys. She then said: “Why?” “Not all boys are created equal.”

Her response made me think about my mission and what I wanted most to accomplish with Raising Great Men. I stand by my mission to: Leave a legacy of compassionate, respectful and responsible men. As a mom of two black boys, I can not dismiss the fact that my sons will face challenges because of their race but I refuse to allow race to be the adversary that prevents them from accomplishing what they want to in life.

I’m not naive and as one who has dealt with racism, I know that unfortunately, my sons will encounter prejudice and stereotyping because of their race. My sons may face racial profiling and job discrimination. I know that at some point my sons will be judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. As I tell my teen son, this is life and it’s what you choose to do with these adversities that strengthen and empower you. Which takes me back to the the title of my post: Are all boys created equal?

If we are to examine this question, shouldn’t we go beyond race?  Moms of boys are going to have unique concerns and worries about their sons based on their family dynamics, their son’s character and personality, their son’s health, their socioeconomic status, their neighborhood and other factors. Different things keep us up at night but at the end of the day we all want to make sure our sons have the tools they need to have a happy, healthy and successful lives. Moms of boys have been tasked an important mission: to raise future men, husbands and fathers.  We learn to appreciate our sons’ boyness, their sense of adventure and sense of humor. We forge ahead with this task with faith and courage that our best intentions will prevail.

When Trayvon Martin was killed, I saw moms of all walks of life express their sympathy for his family, especially his mother. These mothers banned together to support a mom who was experiencing one of their worst fears: losing a child.

Yes, all boys are not created equal but what matters is that they have loving parents who guide, nurture and empower them so it doesn’t matter.

What are your thoughts?

 Image Courtesy of Fickr

What Will Your Son Contribute to This World As a Man?

world

What Will Your Son Contribute to This World As a Man?

In last night’s Vice Presidential debate, Martha Raddatz posed poignant questions to Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan. It was a lively debate and Ms. Raddatz was a stern and disciplined moderator. Of all the questions, the one that stood out for me was: “What would you both give to this country, as a man and a human being that no else could?” I think even the candidates were thrown off guard with that question.

It’s a question we need to ask more young men and men but perhaps framed differently. I often encourage moms of boys to ask their son: “What kind of man do you want to be?” Moms usually return to me thanking me for this simple but powerful exercise. Often the responses amaze them and sometimes they become more aware of the need to help their sons develop a road map for their lives.

Which brings me back to last night’s question. Throughout his life, a man may never be asked what kind of man he wants to be or what would he like to contribute to the world. It’s sad because the earlier we ask these questions, the better a boy becomes aware of who he is in the world and how his actions impact his future.

I once met with a mom whose son was facing jail time for drug charges. Never in our conversation did she hold her son accountable  for his actions. I left our meeting thinking: Her son’s contribution to this world will be that he is not responsible for anything that happens to him.

We have to remind our sons that for every action there is a consequence. They need to understand that their contribution to this world matters. They  need to know that they matter. Most importantly, they need  to know that what makes a man is his character and how he treats himself and those around him.

So today I’m asking my teen son: What will you contribute to this world as a man?

 

 

How A Man Treats His Mother, Is How He Will Treat You

You can tell a lot about a man by the way he treats his mother. I don't know all the facts about Dez Bryant's arrest but allegedly he assaulted his mother by hitting her in the face. I'm sure this is not an isolated incident. I don't have the details of what went on in their home, but I know that if this is true, this just happened to be the the build up of years of anger and frustration in an unhealthy and unbalanced mother/son relationship. 

We've seen displays of disrespect  towards moms from other athletes likes Allen Iverson and LeBron James. Moms and sons who are more like friends or peers during childhood have boundary issues and their relationship becomes even more dysfunctional when the son becomes a man. I've known men who are misogynistic and disrespectful towards women because of their relationship with their mother.

When I conduct workshops about raising boys, I always stress to moms that they are teaching their sons how to treat their future girlfriends/wives.  I talk about the importance of setting boundaries early and reinforcing them daily. As moms of boys, we share the responsibility for supporting their emotional well-being and encouraging them to positively interact with others.

If your raising your son in an environment where name calling and disrespect is a constant theme in your family life, he will more than likely raise his children in the smae manner.

Think  about your son's future and the legacy you want to leave for your grandchildren. If you have a daughter, would you want her to marry a man who disrespects his mother?

 
Leo Tolstoy “Everything depends on upbringing. ” -Leo Tolsoy