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What to do to raise boys who respect women

How do you raise your child to respect women? How do you ensure that your son does not grow up to be a molester or rapist? This guide shows parents how to raise their sons. We need to change the way boys have been brought up.

Not a day goes by without a case of rape being reported in the Indian media. Each incident is horrific and gut chilling. I am engulfed with rage on media reports of brutal gang rapes, of sexual abuse of infants, young girls and minors. Incidents of acid attacks, kidnapping, molestation and trafficking are as awful.

All this makes me question what is happening – and why! Why are crimes against women on the rise? Something is horribly wrong with the men (some, not all) of this country. Normal people are not sexual predators; normal people do not go sexually violating women.

Surely, none of this is normal behaviour. Such heinous crimes cannot be committed by sane, rational people, is what the mind says. But, that is too simple, isn't it - to blame horrendous criminal acts on the lack of rationale and sanity. That is too easy, an excuse perhaps. There is something else amiss. Something deeper and more sinister is turning our men into felons. And we, yes, we are somewhere responsible for men turning out the way they are.

Men do not know the ABC of respect for women; they probably have not been taught lessons on respect, which is why these crimes are on the rise. It's interesting isn't it that they learn so many things, but not how to respect the opposite sex.

Is the patriarchal society 'spoiling boys'? With the rise in reported cases of sexual violence and abuse, it is time that parents of boys realise that the onus of tutoring their boys lies on their shoulders. The first lessons of right and wrong and social values are taught at home. Parents should consider parenting their boys, in ways that teach them to respect women. This could greatly reduce the incidents of crime against women.

Sexual predators don't just arise from nowhere. The roots of such kind of barbarity against women are embedded in them through their childhood experiences. We need a radical change in the way we bring up our boys.

How do parents impart the right values to their boys, at different stages of growing up?

Lessons on boundaries

It's never too early to start conversations about respecting boundaries, theirs and other peoples. Conversations about boundaries, at home, can have a positive effect, on your son's mindset. Conversations can create a series of revelations capable of influencing young minds. Don't let go of the opportunity, of talking about boundaries. They help accentuate lessons on valuing girls.

Emphasise that boundaries mean an individual's right to stop another person, from touching their body. It means that we have no right over another's body. We cannot touch or hold someone, without their consent. This simple message acts as building blocks that boys need, to eventually grow up into decent, respectful men.

Speak about consent

Older boys need to be spoken about consent. It is no longer considered awkward to talk to your kids about this; it's so relevant in the times we live. You hear of boys from decent backgrounds who commit rape, and you'll do your boy a service by having explicit conversations about consent. Rapes happen because boys weren't taught about consent.

Start a simple conversation, asking your son if they know what consent means. Getting permission before doing something, is the probable answer you'll get. Continue the conversation by saying, that includes permission to have sex with someone. Tell him, he should never assume that a girl wants to be intimately engaged with him. Explain that speaking and being friendly is not a sign of consent. Nor are her clothes an invitation. And her silence shouldn't be assumed as a yes. He should know that a 'no' does mean, 'no'.

Sex is a taboo subject, in our society. But, given the incidence of rapes and other crimes against women, you should initiate this conversation with your son. It will be uncomfortable at first, but this will strengthen the ties between you two. Someday you'll be glad you had that conversation with him. It's a seed planted that will guide him, through the rest of his life.

Be a role model

You are the example your son is going to emulate. Children watch and learn from their parents. You may be an abusive partner. And respect can clearly be read through behaviour. How do you, as a father treat your son's mother? Do you give her the silent treatment and do you vilify her?

Boys learn how to treat women, from the way women are treated in their own homes. They watch the way their mother is treated. They watch the way parents talk about other women.

We question why a girl who was molested wore jeans or shorts, or why she was out late. The victim becomes the guilty one. This sends the wrong message to young minds, that girls invite trouble by being out late, or dressing in a certain way. Stop the slut shaming!

We have to be careful in how we talk about girls, that is important.

Don't differentiate

Treat your son and daughter alike. Don't assign girls with chores that are traditionally seen as a woman's job, while your son lolls around and squanders his time. Involve both kids in household chores, give them equal responsibilities and maintain parity. Don't infuse their minds with thoughts that household chores are only a woman's job. They learn to look at women as their inferior; she becomes someone who is meant to serve them. And their imagination takes wings and they imagine that all women are there for their pleasure.

We teach our girls well. Take it upon yourself to teach your boy too; yes, start this character-building exercise, if you haven't already.

Voice your views

You'll get ample opportunities to be vocal about your disapproval. Don't miss a chance to say the right things. Disparage sexist remarks by a celebrity or a politician. Show your disgust when incidents of rapes, abductions, acid attacks etc., are reported. Disapprove of characters in cinema who treat women badly.

The adolescent age is an impressionable age, and if boys are fed the wrong information through the media, their gullible minds will lap it up. Our movies send such a wrong message. The hero doesn't take no for an answer and finally manages to woo the heroine. But, that's not how it is in real life. Have candid discussions, so the right message gets passed to your boy.

Speak about legal age

All the knowledge sharing and discussions will not kill the curiosity in your child. He may still want to experience the unknown; taste the pleasures of the forbidden fruit. Remember, there are other factors influencing him – his friends.

It is important that you speak to him about the legal age for sex. This is crucial because he could land into trouble for being with a minor, even if it with her consent. His life would be ruined. Does he foresee his future labelled as a man accused and tried for rape?

Tell him that there is a time and a place for everything and furtively stolen moments of pleasure can be the death of him.


Men who commit crimes against women do not think of the aftermaths. They think the victim will not report the incident or that the law will not touch them. How wrong they are. Times have changed. Rape is a non-bailable offence.

Getting nabbed for a crime such as rape or any other violence against women get the culprit and his family into the immediate media limelight. On the one hand, there is the shame of going through the media/public trial, while on the other the actual investigation and trial. Judicial and police custody, trials and the sentence, and a life behind bars. You have to alert your child of all this. There is no point repenting later.

Do it subtly, in conversation, letting them know what happens. Rapists are given rigorous imprisonment for seven years to life. These hard facts must be spelt out, let your child not have to one day tell you, that you failed him.

The victim

Finally, while your son is your responsibility, and it is your duty to educate him about life, there is also the victim. If you want to teach your son how to respect women, you must teach him empathy. He needs to be taught that a moment of pleasure for him, can scar a woman for life.

The physical scars can heal, but the emotional and psychological damage stays for life. Discuss the pain and hurdles the victim's faces. It is crucial that their side of the story is discussed at home. It provides a better understanding of the ferocity of the crime. Rape remains just a word unless we share the trauma of the victim. Only then does the heinous crime is seen in its true light.

Final words

Moms and dads, raise your boys well. Teach them to respect women. Violence against women is reported each day, from different corners of the country, from different sections of society, from different age groups. It is a burning issue and we can stop some of that violence by raising our sons from being potential abusers.

Think about it, you hold so much power. Do what you have to do; take the right approach to raise your sons. And spread the word, so other parents learn to do the same. No more boys will be boys; take the lead and change the world.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: Sheo Shankar Jha25 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 8

The author has raised a very disturbing question with which the society is passing through. We can see the set of young and aggressive young men indulging themselves with the heinous crime such as rape or even they can go to the extent to end the life of the affected girl. The worst part of such deterioration can be seen when a girl - child having attained the age of three year is not being spared in such ugly crimes.
All such incidences should act as the eye- opener of the society needing immediate attention by the educationists, leaders, social - reformers and lastly by the parents responsible for inculcation of right set of habits within the mind - frame of their own children. The child starts learning the different set of discipline and behaviour from his own home. He is very sensitive in observation of all the events happening around him including the behaviour of his father towards his beloved mother. He takes note of the skewed behaviour of his own father ultimately leading to transformation of the behaviour of the child. So far, the child has not seen any major punishment is in the event of indulgence of rape with the women - folks. Chain - snatching, making rude behaviour with the ladies, too, is indicative of the insane behaviour of the child.
The institution or the school where the child is closely connected with his study - activities can impart the child the rationale set of behaviour including the decent ways of conversation with the ladies. A brief discussion of such topic at the end of the prayer by the different teachers may create a lasting impact within the mind - frame of the child.
Transformation would definitely take place with the consistent approach of the right minded people, results could be seen at a late stage.
I must admire the author for bringing out such issues which require our urgent attention so that a healthy atmosphere is created.

Author: Natarajan25 Sep 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 12

An excellent article for every set of parents raising boys right across the spectrum of rich and poor. I stress on the spectrum because some boys among the rich live in the false belief that money can buy everything including the honor of a woman. Among the poor, there are some who out of abject poverty turn towards women to vent out their frustrations or the perceived wrong that society has inflicted on the boys from a poor background.

It is embarrassing and also shameful to see women and senior students carrying their shoulder bag in front across their chest to prevent some men from misbehaving and groping them. What is even more worrying for every case of abuse and misconduct we read, there would be many others that would go unnoticed or unreported because of the fear among women of being further shamed after already suffering the indignity in the hands of some preparators.

Like the saying 'Prevention is better than cure', the concept of respecting women when introduced in the early formative years can change things.

Glad that the author has mentioned about boundaries, consent, and personal space. When this is instilled at an early age, this would act as a deterrent not out of fear but with a sense of understanding what is right and what is wrong.

It is vital for men folk at home, school, office, gym, sports and recreational places to be a role model so that the boys and men learn to respect girls and female colleges.

Although punishment for a crime can be debatable, in this situation, we need to have stringent rules and punishment appropriate for the gravity of misconduct. Here, the boys in their teens and youth would fear the potential physical, financial punishment and social stigma attached to a perpetrator of such acts against women. At home also, parents and family members should be clear about this when educating their boys.

Children at school and college with responsibility do well, similarly, boys in senior school and college can be made to be part of groups ( at school, college, neighborhood) responsible to impart such education to groups of younger boys. This concept of respecting the girl and women can also be imparted by school teachers, village elders, government medical officers, and police officials, especially in rural areas regularly to youngster around the age of 12-15. The government can also think of incorporating simple chapters in the 'Moral science' textbooks of public and private schools, that children read in primary/secondary school.

Author: Juana28 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

Sheo Shankar Jha,

Yes, we all have a responsibility towards our children. It is our responsibility to guide our kids, and in this case boys, in the right direction. I am a firm believer that character in children is built at home. Children who grow up in a loving, respectful and secure environment turn out to be better behaved than kids who witness violence, abuse and disharmony at home.

Lessons on respect of women should start at home. Children watch and learn. They imitate adult behaviour, and so, it becomes important that the parent’s behaviour at home is worthy of emulating.

Further, parents must speak up and voice their displeasure whenever they see women being mistreated. Boys need to know that making catcalls is wrong or that ogling at girls is bad manners or commenting on how a girl is dressed is none of anyone’s business.

Parents have begun raising their daughters to be independent and strong and be more like boys, fearful and bold. But, the problem is that the same parents do not raise their boys like girls – there is that disparity in how boys and girls are raised.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha28 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

I agree with your views. The kids are watchful of the environment being maintained in their families. However, at the same time, it is the parental role to instill a right form of discipline and to point out the differences between right or wrong step in a given situation.
Parents should not hesitate in pointing out their mistakes if there is the recurrence of the same. After all, with our consistent patience and pain, we could see a visible difference in the temperament of our own children.
The children learn a lot from their parents including the right way to behave with the genders. Directly or indirectly, we can create a lot of changes in the lives of our kids depending on how they are being trained. A good advice would have a lasting impact on the mind of our kids.

Author: Juana03 Oct 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

Thank you for your input; you have put across some great ideas, which, if implemented, can help curb this menace.

But, all of this needs a monumental change in the way society perceives women. Educators, for instance, have grown up, conditioned with preconceived notions. To make them change their views will itself be a mammoth task. Only when they have a broader outlook, will they be able to instil the right values in impressionable young men, otherwise they’ll continue passing their bigoted views and values.

A few months back a documentary made by NDTV popped up on my news feed, on Facebook. It was shot in a village in Haryana. The journalist interviewed a few village elders and students, questioning them on the increasing number of rapes in the state, and this is what they had to say –

Village elders –
1. It cannot be called rape if the girl is over 15; such girls lead the men/boys and call it rape
2. It takes two to tango. Rapes do not just happen; the girls are to be blamed too
3. Girls should remain at home. Why do they step out of the boundaries of their house?
4. Why do girls go out unaccompanied by a male member?
Boy students –
1. Girls wear jeans and tight tops and entice boys. That is why rapes happen. It is the fault of the girls
2. Girls should walk with their heads down and bodies covered
3. Girls should not be seen laughing and joking outside
4. Girls talk and laugh with boys, they shouldn’t do that
Girl students –
1. Our madam (teacher) told us that rapes happen because girls befriend boys
2. Girls should get married early, their purpose in life is to look after the house

This is the mindset of the elders, the educators and the youngsters. It is going to take a movement to alter the regressive mindsets.

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