Someone said to me the other day that we were lucky having only boys….no worries about them getting pregnant and that males get away with everything.
I was quite shocked. We always were very open about answering our boys’ questions about sex and the need for protection for both parties. From the earliest age we spoke about treating everyone, male, female, different races, beliefs and inclinations, with respect.
It’s not what you say as much as what you do that resonates with children. They see very clearly if your actions do not mirror your words and they quickly pick up on family tensions and resentments. It’s no good preaching tolerance if you don’t practice it as adults. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a disagreement. We are all human and you can still agree to differ and respect another point of view even if it is not yours.
We asked our sons to put themselves in another’s shoes. How would they feel if they were a young girl finding out she was pregnant, terrified of telling her parents and having to make decisions regarding the baby growing inside her body, a baby that was half theirs.
We cuddled and kissed and showed them at every opportunity the joy and laughter that life can bring. We taught them that every freedom carries its own responsibilities, that sex should never be selfish or careless. We warned them that as young males their sex drive would be very strong and controlling it could be difficult, that a sexual partner is not an object to be used but a real person with their own hopes and feelings.
We didn’t just say this once and hoped they would remember, we reinforced this attitude throughout their growing years. And we tried to demonstrate this in our own lives and behaviour, always aware that our children were watching how we dealt with them and others. Now they are adults with their own families it’s good to see them doing the same.