AN OPEN LETTER TO MOTHERS OUT THERE: RAISE AN ADULT AND NOT A SON
Right, we are talking about gender equality and how the society is changing its patriarchal mindset. There is so much we post about it on social media and so much we brag about during family dinners. But the fact is that even today, many families in India, feel a tinge of disappointment when their first born is a ‘girl child’. On the contrary, the hospital experiences an environment of glee, there are sweets and savories, there are endless phone calls to distant relatives and the mother of the ‘baby boy’ is kissed and praised just because she has given birth to a son. For a mother, her son is always going to remain a boy, no matter how much he grows up and it is really difficult for the mother to let that boy go out in the world and become an adult.
There is a trend among how parents are raising their sons versus daughters. And it goes like this: Girls are raised so that they can be young women, and boys are raised to always remain mama’s little boy. So what can be done about it? How do we raise an adult to be sensitized and responsible?
Teach them basic life skills
Mothers, there is no reason that you should tell your friends, how well your son can make a cup of tea. Instead, take it this way: It is part of their upbringing and he has to learn many things in the future. (When your daughter makes a cup of tea, you don’t flaunt it amongst your friends do you?)
We never joke about girls not knowing how to cook dinner, but we presume that when boys move out they won’t know what a toilet brush is. And most of the time, it is due to the fact that their moms never put them in a position to learn these set of skills.
Teach them to own up to their actions
Negligence and a lack of culpability seem to be an epidemic among millennial guys these days.
Men need to know that their actions impacts their future (and someone else’s too). Do they act responsible and go to class, or are they so addicted to video games that they never leave the house? Do they show up on time for the work shifts or make excuses or call in sick when in reality, they are just too lazy to go to work?
Parents (especially mothers), we need you to teach our boys how to plan his future, and make steps towards his goals. No, he doesn’t need to know exactly how life is going to work out–none of us do. But he does need to know how to make good choices to help propel him in the right direction.
Teach them how to be independent of you
So much time and energy is used up in raising girls to become empowered women, but boys are raised to be, well, boys. We even hear it all the time about grown men: “Boys will be boys.” Since when is it OK to call a grown man a boy?
Also, it is important to understand that there is a difference between leaning on your mom for support sometimes and being completely dependent on her for emotional support. It’s the difference between a man who loves and respects his mother and, quite frankly, a mama’s-boy.
Raising sons who do not need you isn’t something to be feared–it’s something good, because it means that you’ve set your little boy free to turn into a responsible adult. Also, being dependent on mom doesn’t really lead to good emotional and mental health as an adult.
Of course, it is hard for mothers to watch their kids grow up and not need them anymore. But the truth is that most good things in life are hard. It is really important to realise to start raising your sons to be men. It’s not fair that we daughters are raised to be young women, but the sons are taught that they can just stay as mama’s little boy for as long as they want.
Besides, what you really want is the best for your son. We all know that. And the best thing for your son is allowing him to become a man.