Our world needs to raise boys to men with the right attitude and character. As parents raise their sons there are certain things to keep in mind. Raising true men begins with having a clear picture of what role a man plays and who a man needs to be.
Clarity about the roles and responsibilities of parents in raising boys will aid in bringing up a boy into becoming a man. Fathers have a very pivotal role when it comes to the task of raising boys to become men. This is because boys easily pick up the masculine traits from their fathers or men around them.
Role of Fathers in raising men
Fathers play an especially important role in the training and teaching of their sons, so men cannot be passive in the home. While all children need to be raised with values and general life skills; there are unconscious lessons boys pick up from their father’s behaviours.
Boys learn the act of being a man from the way their father responds to life issues. For instance, how does he love his mom, and model godly masculinity in the house? Fathers must take the lead in raising their boys because they are learning every day about the things said and not said.
Although the mother will spend a good portion of the day with her children, the father has to take the lead when it comes to spiritual instruction, discipline, and how his son will treat his mother and other women in the future. A father must be intentional and proactive in thinking through the various areas in which his boys need to grow into men; who play their role in society.
Effect of Absence of fathers
The absence of fathers and their passive attitudes contribute can contribute to men who are easily frustrated; weak or overly aggressive. Many times, men are caught up with the need to work hard and provide for their households and tend to deprioritize their parenting role leaving it mostly to the mother. This tends to lead to many of our boys having women all around them; between mum, nanny, sisters, girl cousins, female teachers, grandma – it seems for every boy there are more females around them than any male influence.
Boys need to learn leadership skills
The skillset that boys need to become the men they ought to; includes having leadership skills. This training starts at home, are they being made to take responsibility? Learning not to throw tantrums when things do not go their way is a key attribute to learn from a young age.
This starts from a young age; rather than say boys will be boys; we should channel their energy positively. When a boy has the energy to expend; instead of letting him hit or pull his sister’s hair, encourage him to take up team sports or run around the compound.
Real Men Talk it Out
Real men talk it out and the know-how to manage their emotions. Learning not to hit people especially women around them is very important. Real maturity includes solving challenges and disagreements with communication, discussion, taking action and not with your fists.
We should not nurture them into dependent people. Rather we should equip them to face life and give them the appropriate level of responsibility from a young age. If as young boys they do not learn the process of dealing with challenges; they tend to crumble when they face difficulties later in life.
To Respect Women
I attended a conference recently, one of the panels included brave women who were talking about breaking the silence. They were breaking the silence of rape and sexual assault that they had suffered at the hands of men in their lives. One of the survivors challenged the audience and said “rather than talk about raising girls who will not be victims of sexual abuse; what about raising boys and men who behave better; who do not take advantage of young girls and women”. While infrequent, it does happen that boys are also victims of sexual abuse.
We need to buck this trend that all a woman has to offer is her body, or that she is good for having babies. These start from even the songs our children listen to and the music videos that objectify women. A woman is more than her body. Boys need to learn to be gentlemen right from home. Treat their sisters and mother with respect; see their father treat their mother with love and respect.
When men do misbehave, they need to pay the price. Society should not ask the victim to keep quiet for fear of stigmatization. In one such rare case justice was served whereby a judge sentenced an ex-Chrisland supervisor to 60 years in jail for defiling a 2-year-old girl. The judge, Sybil Nwaka described Adenekan, as “wicked, conscienceless and an animal who is not worthy of walking on the streets of Lagos”.
For a Society to work, it needs to show that it is not okay to mistreat and disrespect women and other citizens. Raising boys who respect boys start with understanding consent and that No means No. [Read more on raising children in a Me Too Era as a Nigerian Parent].
Mums have a role to play too
Mum often treats their boys like princes and start a double standard at home; using different rules for the boys and the girls. This behaviour unconsciously happens because, in our patriarchal society, men are placed on a pedestal. Secondly, women who are dealing with men who have let them down in their marriages; tend to redirect their love and focus on their sons. This tendency tries to turn the boy into the picture of the perfect man they wished for in their spouse.
We want boys who will grow up to be leaders, protectors and to have courage. Men who are real leaders, have self-control and are not violent but yet know how to get their point across. They should understand that life is more than material goods. Men who understand the value of hard work and have a good work ethic. We want to raise men who have the fear of God; whose future wives and families will thank their parents for raising them so well.
So let’s remember to raise our boys to become the men they should be.
to show boys how to be men.
Let us all put hands on deck to raise our children. In reality, boys need both their mother and father to be actively involved in their lives. Ask them about homework, take them out, attend their school events and make time for them that counts. [Read: Are we Guilty of Forgetting the Fathers]
Click here to read: [8 Tips On Raising Godly Children In A Changing World]