Teaching Our Male Children To Respect Women
In recent times, the news we’ve been hearing tells us that we have a great problem when it comes to the issue of domestic violence and rape. While there is no definite solution to these problems, we as parents can exercise our part to stop violence against women. This year alone, Nigeria has recorded the death of two ladies that were raped and killed both in Ibadan and Benin.
VOA (Voice of America) also reported on the 18th of June this year that “Nigeria’s lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 has sparked a surge in reported cases and acts of sexual violence…” As parents or guardians, we can play an important part in stopping violence against women.
Most studies show that the root of sexual harassment and violence against women starts from childhood. It starts when boys start to watch aggressive and disrespectful watch TV shows, movies, and also listen to music that glorifies sexual violence. Disrespect starts to show in minute ways that are most times ignored. They include teasing, physical, and verbal bullying. This can be stopped if we teach our kids to respect every gender right from a tender age.
Talk to them about respect early
No child is too young to learn. If you see your male child beating his sister and you refuse to caution him, don’t be surprised if that child grows up to become a woman-beater. If your teenage boys treat women with disrespect by calling them names, objectifying them, and using curse words, these are warning signs that they might end up committing assault and violence against women in the future. This three-step communication designed by Dr. Rosina McAlpine can be used from early childhood through to teen years.
If you see your male child making fun of his sister or a female friend: S.E.E
Stop: Respond in a calm way instead of asking him to stop the teasing. You can introduce a phrase in cases like that. Like ‘Enough of that, it is insulting. You don’t use insulting words at anybody.’
Empathize: Invite your son to imagine himself in his sister’s shoes. ‘How would you feel if someone said those words to you?’
Educate: Teach him other ways to cope if the sister is annoying him. You can teach him to ignore her and engage in something else. You can also teach him better ways to communicate his thoughts rather than being aggressive, like ‘I don’t like the fact that you refused to share your candy with me.’
With the acronym S.E.E, you can remember the steps.
Training kids is not a 100 meters race, it is a marathon. Just like teaching kids academic knowledge takes years of effort from their childhood until they become adults, likewise in the same way teaching them life skills like respecting women should be a long-term thing. Right from their early years to their teenage years.