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Don’t Forget About the Boys

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Right, I know. This hub is about girls, daughters, nieces, friends and what we can to do raise them to feel confident and strong. But, for many of you, your life is all about boys - or at least boys and girl.

When talking about building self-esteem and confidence, and the issues our kids face with doubts and body image and pressure, those struggles are gender-neutral. Much of what we have chatted about already can be applied to raising healthy, confident, strong sons - praising him for what he is, not what he looks like or how he can throw a football, keeping conversations open about peer pressure and how to walk through this life feeling good in his own skin, supporting him in his passions.

And when we help our sons be confident young men, we help our daughters too. How your son talks about girls, what he thinks makes a "strong" girl, the opinions he shares on girls in his life and how he treats them - all of it makes a huge impact on his younger (or older) sister. Aside from the basics, here are some really great ideas to help your son (and therefore your daughter) build that foundation of self-esteem and inner strength.

-- Encourage him to go against typical male/female things. Maybe he loves baking chocolate cookies or making homemade pizza. Encourage him to do that and more typical girl things. Teach him how to sew a button, introduce him to ballet and dance. By showing him there is more than the "blue" things in life, that the "pink" things are fun too, that he can do anything he wants, it opens his eyes that girls can do anything too.

-- Talk about stereotypes and media messages. Don't just save that conversation about airbrushing and "dumb girls are cool girls" stereotype for your daughter. Informing him about how the media portrays women is essential so he understands what e sees is not really what girls are like r how they should be treated.

--  Point out positive role models.  Bring up athletes that are good family guys, as well as strong females in politics or science. Discussing how these people (men and women) are strong and confident lets him see what great moles there are out there.

-- Have him read books with strong female characters (check out our list here).

-- Encourage him to show his feelings. Often, we want our boys to be boys. And I'm not saying have him weep at every sappy commercial he sees, but teaching him to talk about his feelings - whether it is how sad he feels about losing a ball game or how frustrated he gets doing math - and giving him tools to deal with those feelings is a key ingredient to building his inner strength that he will need in life.

Do you have sons? How do you help them have confidence and teach them about strong women and men? 


by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-30):
by on Aug. 1, 2012 at 10:03 PM
No, I only have a dd.
by New Member on Aug. 1, 2012 at 10:10 PM

 I have a son, he's 14.  I teach him to dare to be different!  He's a great kid and loves being in the band, but with his height (he's almost 6 feet already) People tease him for not being a sports fan.  I let him know as long as he's the best at whatever pleases him, I'm happy! 

by Cindy on Aug. 2, 2012 at 12:27 AM

 I do have a son, he's 4. Thanks for sharing.

by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 2:47 AM

I have a son and I hope to teach them by example.

by Malia on Aug. 2, 2012 at 3:20 AM

i only have girls!

by on Aug. 2, 2012 at 7:33 AM
Yes I do and I teach him confidence too
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Just imagine how much people could accomplish after they accept that there is no god. No god to blame. No god to thank. No god to praise. No god to grant or deny requests. No predetermined plan. Just imagine the possibilities that would come with that one realization that people have to take ownership of themselves, their choices, and their moral obligations.
Yesterday at 10:57 AM
by Bronze Member on Aug. 2, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Much of what we have chatted about already can be applied to raising healthy, confident, strong sons - praising him for what he is, not what he looks like or how he can throw a football,

Is the author of this around? I Googled, but only came up with this thread. 

I don't understand why the author is suggesting we praise a child "for what he is" (not sure what that means) as opposed to his/her effort and skill. I understand reserving judgment on things one cannot control (like race, sex, disability, etc.), but why not "how he can throw a football"?

In the same vein, I've seen a lot of moms here say they praise their daughters on their looks, but not criticize their looks. While I don't think that kind of praise affects self-esteem (I argue constructive criticism does), I think it can help with self-confidence, so why not "praise" him for his looks, too? 


by Bronze Member on Aug. 2, 2012 at 6:40 PM

 Very good points. Yes I have two sons, now grown. I'm very proud that they both married strong women, and feel empowered by their relationships.

by Member on Aug. 3, 2012 at 7:45 AM
My son is 17 and he does all this. I am so proud of my son. He talks to me about everything. Everyone always tells me that he is going to make a wonderful husband someday. He can cook clean do laundry. He respects women more then most guys. As I am raising a strong and confident girl (12 years old), I have raised a strong and confident boy.
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by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 4:25 PM

I don't have a son but this is very good advice for if I ever do.

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