Benny (4yo) and I were just wrestling and tickling. I had him pinned and was chewing on his leg when he giggled and screamed “Stop!”. The dog jumped up and barked, so I didn’t hear him. I started to give him a zerbert on his tummy (Benny, not the dog. That’s weird.) but he grabbed my hand and said very firmly, “MOM! I said stop an bren someone tells you to stop you breespect dem!”
I apologized and said he was right, I should have stopped horse playing the first time he said stop. I told him he always has the right to be the boss of his body, and that all kids have that right.
There is a national debate right now about the idea of teaching boys not to rape as a viable why to stop rape. That should be a full stop, not sure why there debate. This all coincides with the criminal trial in Ohio of two high school students accused of the heinous rape of a drugged and unconscious girl.
We teach boys not to rape by starting in our homes and starting when they are small. Scratch that, they don’t need to be small, just start talking. I’m not going to talk to my preschool aged son about rape and Rape Culture. Instead, I’m going to teach him a foundation of respect for himself and for others so that when the day comes that we do have that talk, he understands to his very core that every person has the right to expect respect for their body, and to trespass against that is entirely wrong.
I show him that I respect his control of his body by stopping horse play when he says enough, not forcing affection and not using physical force as punishment.
I teach him how to act respectfully by never condoning, never excusing brutish or aggressive behavior because “boys will be boys”. He will own up to his actions.
His father, grandfather, and uncles will set the example on how to treat the women in your life with love, equality and respect.
When he is older, I will sit him down and talk to him about how to respect a partner during sexual situations, that he always has the right to be respected during sexual encounters and the consequences for using his body as a weapon.
I will not grow him into a large boy, I will raise him to be an honorable man.
Other posts on this topic:
Raising Boys to Men by mum2beautifulboys
On Steubenville High School and Teaching Boys Not to Rape by Avital Normal Nathman