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  • How To Raise Your Son To Be A Good, Sensitive, And Honest Man

    Time to let go of those old-fashioned notions of how boys are supposed to be.
    by Fe Esperanza Trampe .
How To Raise Your Son To Be A Good, Sensitive, And Honest Man
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Raising a teenager these days is a lot different than it was 10 or 20 years ago. With the Internet at their fingertips, children now tend to grow up much faster. Everything they want and need is just a click away. And it is that very reason teenagers today need their parents even more.

    How do we raise our teenagers in this day and age? In 2016, journalist Peggy Orenstein answered that question for the benefit of parents of teenage girls everywhere with the publication of her bestselling book Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape.

    How to raise boys today 

    Just this year, she did it again for the mothers and fathers of teenage boys. Here are some tips about how to raise a good and honest man based on Orenstein’s Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity:

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    1. Talk about sex.

    Don’t call it the birds and the bees. Be straightforward with your son. Trust us, with the Internet right there, he already knows a lot more about it than you think he does.

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    Refine what your teenager knows about sex by engaging in a continuous conversation with him. “Just as a single ‘talk’ about table manners wouldn’t make your son polite, a single discussion about intimacy won’t ensure good sexual etiquette,” says Orenstein in her book.

    Work on being more understanding about this topic with your adolescent. You have just as much to learn about sex as it is today as he does.

    2. Teach your son about feminism.

    Contrary to what its name may suggest, feminism is not about favoring women over men. It is about equality among the two sexes.

    Our collective history has taught us that men are the stronger sex and women the weaker. Remind your young son that this isn’t so.

    Men and women are equals in every right. No matter how crazy your teenager’s hormones may be, make sure he knows that no human being is ever just an object for one’s sexual desires.

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    3. Explain the new masculinity.

    In an interview with GQ Magazine, Orenstein’s work was called “a stunning portrait of young men in quiet crisis: desperate to break out of the 'man box,' where emotional vulnerability is taboo, but afraid of being ostracized and ridiculed if they do, and unsure of where to turn for help and advice.”

    Although it is true that this is the sad reality for most young men nowadays, it is important that your son knows that this need not be his reality. Tell him before it’s too late.

    It’s a jungle out there, and young boys can be ruthless to both one another and themselves. Help him reject society’s idea of what a man has to be, and allow him to become his own man.

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    4. Educate your boy on accountability.

    Boys will be boys, they say. If you want your son to become a good man, tell him to man up.

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    Of special note in Orenstein’s work was the fact that men, having always had the upper hand, tend to give themselves a pass. It’s “hilarious,” really. When nothing is ever serious, and there are no consequences for wrong actions, then everything is okay.

    Get serious with your young adult. Not everything is a joke. The more aware they are, the better persons they will be.

    5. Honor your son for who he is.

    At the end of the day, at least for now, your teenaged son is still a child who needs you to be there for him. Do the best you can as his parent, whatever the trials and tribulations he is currently facing may be.

    Everything starts from within the home. Accept your child as he is, and he will accept himself. Growing up will not be easy for him, but it is a messy process that has to run its course.

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    Your son, his friends, and the other young men their age are our future. Imagine how beautiful the world will be if all of them are as sensitive and aware as we and Orenstein hope they can be.

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