There are certain things I’d never tell my daughter. However, there is a list of things my son needs to hear growing up.
If more Indian parents implemented the following, there would have been fewer cases of gender violence in India.
Women in India on average would have been far less inhibited than they are today and the status of women would see some amelioration.
A false sense of ego is seen to guide Indian men in a patriarchal society which makes the coexistence of women difficult. That can be rectified if sons in Indian households are brought up right.
List of Things My Son Needs To Hear From A Parent
Cry like a man
Boys are asked from a very young age to not ‘cry’. Actions such as expressing emotions are considered feminine when in reality they are every human’s right. Crying is healthy as it helps regulate emotions sooner than if one never expressed oneself at all. Crying helps relieve stress and helps feel lighter.
Men are always expected to not express their emotions. It is high time that such expectations are discarded. To cry their heart out is one of the most intrinsic pieces of teaching I wish to offer to my son.
Do the household chores
Indian households perceive domestic chores as a ‘women’s only’ domain. Girls are brought up to do household chores and boys are taught to focus on outdoor tasks. Even when both spouses are working, the onus of household tasks and the cognitive workload associated with it fall on women. Men are expected to be served by women. Therefore, it is important to reach my son to do his share of the household chores. For instance, folding his clothes, serving himself food, and cleaning up after himself are tasks he must learn among other chores.
It is okay to not be a breadwinner
Men in Indian households are told to grow up knowing that their tasks lie outside of their houses. However, it is okay to not wish to be the breadwinner of the family. Men can opt to be stay-at-home spouses and there is no shame in that. When women opt to be housewives, they are not shamed for it. Therefore, men too should be allowed that option without being shamed for it. Men should be allowed to stay back at home to look after the house should they wish it. I wish to teach my son that staying back home and allowing the woman to take the reins is not emasculating for his gender.
Only yes is yes
This is the most important lesson that young boys will ever learn. Boys should be taught from an early age what respecting consent looks like. Bollywood movies and the entertainment industry romanticise the ‘no’ and the hesitation of a woman as a ‘yes’. But ‘no’ means ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ means ‘no.’ Not saying anything also means a ‘no’. The only thing that counts as explicit consent, is a ‘yes’ in the absence of the circumstances of consent manipulation.
Suggested Read: Things I’d Never Tell My Daughter As A Parent