A baby boy is born: Ah how gorgeous, he’s going to be a heartbreaker!
A baby girl is born: Ah how beautiful, I hope daddy has his shotgun ready for the boys!
A boy starts dating: Go get ‘em buddy! Here’s a pack of condoms.
A girl starts dating: Bring that boy here so your uncles and I can scare him shitless.
A friend posted this on her wall the other day and a heavy debate followed. I firstly said:
“As a mom of a human being, I agree 100%. I invested a lot and still do, in raising my kid to be a decent human. I’m sorry if you or your child had bad boyfriends/experiences before my son but you will not treat my well-raised son as a walking boner-machine. And hopefully you can see my son for the kind human he is when you first meet him.”
And then in reply to the “scientific fact that boys empathy levels drop between the ages of 13 and 16, I said:
“That’s where invested parents come in… just like you remind them to remember their manners when they are between 4 and 8, you call them out in their teen years when you see unacceptable behaviour. You parent until your last breath and you make sure the village of people that surrounds him and the circles he moves in are people who share similar values. He has people who can check him when his behaviour is unacceptable. We need to go back to ‘my kid is your kid too’. Our circle of friends subscribe to this and the kids know that any of the parents can call you out for bad behaviour (not spanking) and when you go to your buddy’s house, you have to remember your mom’s rules and any extra rules your bud’s mom has. We have to remind them sometimes but after 4yrs of being buds they know the rules in every house and of course know who the more lenient moms are ”
My dad had to wait 11 years after my birth to get his “prized son and heir”. And guess who had to stand in for the heir while he took his own sweet time? Yup, me. I was raised like a boy partly because I was a tomboy and partly because my dad thought he’d never have a son so I had to do the son stuff with him. As a result, I’m a pretty independent girl who can DIY with the best of them, comfortable with power tools, changing tyres and all sorts of other “manly stuff”. Pretty useless at all the “girly stuff” like make-up and fashion, though.
Being “helpless” and needing “protection” has never been an option for me. I ran with the boys and am happy to say I was able to stand my (wo)man in most childhood fights and situations. Thanks to my male cousins and neighbours, I gave as good as I got. Running with the boys also equipped me with a pretty good sense of judgement and I knew when a situation was dangerous and when to get out.
Consent was also always a topic of discussion in our house. Especially with me running wild with boys all the time. When the inevitable house-house games started, I was always the “wife” as I was the only girl in the group and I had a different husband every time we played the game. Some husbands were cool and others were quite ‘handsy’. But because body consent was discussed with me, I knew that even though real husbands and wives touched each other, this was a game and we did not need to do that. When it was time to go to bed, we got on to the flattened cardboard that was our bed, said goodnight and “slept” for 5 seconds, then we had to wake up the “kids” and start our day all over. Lolz.
At the risk of sounding like a smug mom aka a sanctimommy, yes I do invest a lot of energy into raising my son to be a decent human being. Someone I can confidently send into the world, knowing he will remember what he was taught and the values he saw being lived in his home and his village.
Someone who doesn’t EVER think it’s OK to have sex with someone who is in no state to consent (no matter how drunk you are) Hello, Brock Turner.
Someone who knows and accepts that consent can be withdrawn at ANY time and just because you’re in a relationship/friendship with someone, it does not mean you have ALL THE SEX with them whenever, however.
Parenting does not stop the minute your child reaches a certain age, I will parent until my last breath and it is up to me to ensure I lay down the kind of foundation in my kid so that when he is confronted with a tricky issue, it is my voice he hears to guide him, or that he’s able to come to me (or any of the fab people in his village) and talk openly about complex issues he’s confronted with. And I hope I have given him the courage to call out his friends or any one else for that matter if he sees unacceptable behaviour and in turn, when he gets called out for unacceptable behaviour, I hope he always owns it and rights the situation to the best of his ability.