Friday, April 19, 2013

The trouble with raising superheroes.

I have three boys.
No girls.
I have grown to love this.
There were times in my life when I imagined dressing a little girl up in dresses and cute leather sandals, but there came a point when I pictured my life and it matched up so well with mothers who had three sons.
I'm not a tomboy, and I love being a girl, and the normal things that girls love, but let's just say I know how to play with little boys.

I had three brothers.  All boy cousins.  And mostly nephews.
This seems tidy.  Easy.
There is a lot of mud, and rocks, and urine to clean up, but overall it is pretty easy. It's what I know.

At least it has been easy.

I'm starting to realize that at some point my boys need to learn how to treat girls.  I would love to say that they should just treat them the same, and that everyone is completely equal.  Perhaps the problem is that my sons just don't know how to treat them the same.
This all came to my attention as my two sons were, in my husband's words, "terrorizing" a little girl on the playground Sunday. To my utter shock, it occurred to me that someone has to teach them how to be "gentlemanly".  Unfortunately, that someone is going to have to be me and my husband - why didn't someone warn me that this was a "thing"?  I listened in horror as my husband recanted how my sons decided that this little girl was Snow White (without her permission or knowledge of course) and then proceeded to chase her around.  Do you think they were fighting over who could be Prince Charming?  Of course not.  They were arguing over who got to be the Huntsman...or as they call it "The Wise Man".

Here's a tip: Girls don't want to be chased on the playground by "The Wise Man".

I know that most of you would say that they see how to treat women by how their Dad treats their Mom.  Maybe that's it.  Dustin does spend a lot of time chasing me around our flat while I scream and giggle. Maybe he should be doing less of that, and more breakfasts in bed and painting my toenails.

That seems weird.  Please don't say that's the answer.

And I don't just want my boys to be superheroes, although that's all they can think about right now.  I want them to be feminists and purveyors of equality.  I want them to be empathetic and kind. 

How do you teach boys how to relate to girls?

Seriously...I want to know.