What it feels like for a girl....
I teach my sons that girls can do anything they can do. I teach my sons that girls are equally smart, strong and brave as they are, and depending on the girl, maybe more so. We try to show them that while Mommy & Daddy have different roles in the family they are of equal importance and deserve the same acknowledgment.
There is never a time where it is more clear that humans are all the same then pre-school age. They don't yet see color or gender... They just see friends.
I want to teach my boys that girls are their equal in every single way, but I also have to teach my boys that girls are different.
With three young sons, I spend quite a bit of time explaining why girls have a different set of rules that apply to them. For example...
Let the girls go first.
Let the girls have the nicer seat in the car.
If a girl sleeps over, she gets the bed and you get the floor... No question, no coin flips... She just gets it.
You have to be more gentle when you wrestle with your friends that are girls... even if she hit you you can never, NEVER, never hit her back.
And this is a big one... No matter what, no matter where, if a girl says stop... Whatever you are doing... Teasing, chasing, tickling, hair pulling, face painting.... If a girl says stop... My sons hands better fly right off and up into the air.
Now you may think this is old fashioned, or anti feminist...
To teach my boys at such a young age that girls should be treated different then boys. We are all supposed to be equal in the eyes of the world... But we are not.
I need to teach my boys that a girl, who will be a woman one day, needs to be treated with more care.
I need to teach them that where you can push it with your guy friends and they think it's funny... As soon as a girl says hands off, or NO! The time has come to back off and respect that.
In my opinion the younger your children are when you show them how to respect others the more that behavior will become second nature.
I love my boys they are sweet and gentle souls who feel compassion and already have blown me away with their kindness towards others. But they are also rough and tumble boys.
While I have been raising my sons with these reminders for the past 10 years, I feel a renewed conviction after the Stanford Rape case and the shameful behavior of the Turner Family.
As a mother of boys I understand that his parents must be in anguish and disbelief that their son could have done what he did. But to not address that horrible behavior by their son and help him find out what went wrong inside of himself made him think that was ok?
Instead lets blame the girl and make her feel victimized all over again so you don't ruin your own son's promise? Your son violated a passed out body behind a dumpster in the dirt. He has no promise.
Teach your sons that no means no and teach them young.
Teach your sons that girls, while they are equal to them in every way... Also come with a special set of rules. Call me old fashioned.