The Mother of Sons: Having Boys Doesn’t Mean No Worries

Photo: SnookySmiles Photography

Photo: SnookySmiles Photography

When I found out I was pregnant with my younger son, I remember being told by quite a few people how lucky I was to have two sons, “Because boys are easier to raise than girls.” I was reminded that as a mother of boys, you don’t ever have to stay up wondering if your son is out getting his reputation ruined. You don’t have to worry about your son getting pregnant. You don’t have to worry about your son being assaulted by his date.

            At the time, I vaguely understood that there wasn’t something quite right about the logic of these statements. Yes, it was biologically true that I would never have to worry about either of my sons getting pregnant, but somehow, it didn’t make sense why that would cause me to worry any less about them.

            The news coming out of Steubenville, Ohio put into stark relief for me the reasons why I felt it wasn’t such a walk in the park to raise sons as opposed to daughters. Hearing the facts about how a teenage girl was violated by a group of teenage boys reminded me that as a mother of sons, I have a real responsibility to raise conscientious, compassionate, respectable young men who understand that just because they can do something, doesn’t mean they should.

            As the mother of sons, I likely don’t have to worry about my sons being drugged or raped by a date, but I do have to worry about whether I’ve made sure that they both understand what true consent is and what being a responsible, honorable male means. In a world filled with less-than-honorable male celebrities and athletes being touted as role models, at times it feels like an uphill battle to ingrain in my boys what is truly “manly” and what is empty (and harmful) bravado.

            As the mother of sons, I don’t have to worry about my sons coming home pregnant. But I do have to worry about them being irresponsible and getting a girlfriend or date pregnant before either is ready to become a parent. I have to worry about the societal and peer pressure that they are likely to face in their teens to have sex, even if they are not ready.

            As the mother of sons, I still have to worry. And I still have to work hard to raise them right. Because my sons inhabit a world populated with other people’s daughters. And those daughters shouldn’t have to worry about the kind of boys they will meet at a high school party – they should just be able to enjoy their youth.


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8 Responses to The Mother of Sons: Having Boys Doesn’t Mean No Worries

  1. Dayna Wilson says:

    As a fellow mother of a young son, I agree with this post with all my heart. Well said, thank you. I’m going to share this on my facebook 🙂

  2. I’m sorry, but I respectfully disagree.
    I couldn’t disagree more as a matter of fact. For the record, I am the mother of both a boy and a girl.

    Of course we have to teach boys AND girls our values and morals. Both boys and girls need to be taught to be kind and respectful to their friends and people with whom they have relationships. Both boys and girls need to be taught that famous people in sporting arenas or fashion magazines do not necessarily represent the pinnacle of manhood or femininity. Both boys and girls need to feel empowered to turn away from having sexual experiences early or taking drugs even if they face immense peer pressure to do so. None of these things are gender specific. None of them.

    I feel this post intimates that boys are *this* close to date raping and physically harming someone if you don’t specifically rein them in because they are just natural predators. It makes it sound like the primary directive and worry of parenting boys is to teach and convince them not to victimize girls. I just don’t believe this. I think this kind of thinking is massively unfair to boys and perpetuates anti-boy stereotypes in our culture that are intensely harmful.

    I have talked about and imparted my values and morals to both my son AND my daughter over the years and will naturally continue to do so. I assure you, I am not worried that *either* of them is one step away from committing violence against another person—even my teen with the Y chromosome. –Lisa

  3. This post really resonates with me – as a mom of boys. I think that it’s hard having kids, no matter what gender they are. There are issues that go beyond gender. No as a mom of boys I don’t have to worry about some of the things I might if they were daughters but there are plenty of other things to worry about!

    • MommaJuli says:

      It’s wrong for any parent or non-parent for that matter to say one gender is easier than another. They all have their own special worries!

      When learning of the Steubenville news, it does strike a cord with a mother of boys. Something we just don’t think of in day-to-day life. Of course we try to raise all our children to be upstanding people but sometimes we may just assume they know better and so we don’t make sure we discuss it with them.

      I know the foster mother of one of those boys. Not well enough to call her but well enough to know what type of mother I am sure she became based off of her parents and how she acted in school. She did not raise this boy his whole life but I am sure she instilled some great values in him the years she did raise him. And I have to think she never in a million years would expect him to do what he did. She probably never worried about it.

      It’s one of those situations where we talk to our daughters about it over and over but we don’t think about talking to our sons because we just believe if we raise them right they will know better.

      My SO has a son and this blog has brought to light that his father needs to have a talk with him, even if he is the gentlest boy I know .

  4. Stupid article says:

    This article is really stupid. I’m sorry, but if your only concerns for your sons are about raising them to respect and value women and not victimize or mistreat girls, then you are a horrible mother. Boys face just as many challenges in life as girls and it’s the parents’ job to help them through it. You might not have to worry about your son being “date raped” but you might need to worry about him being verbally abused or mistreated. You might need to worry about him going out with a golddigger or a lying cheater. You might not have to worry about him getting pregnant but you might have to worry about some girl trying to get him to get her pregnant or claiming he got her pregnant in order to try to get money from him. There are numerous problems and challenges for boys in the world that you don’t even realize, and as a mother of a son you should be more worried about helping him deal with them and getting through it than how he treats girls.

    • mamamommymom says:

      I don’t believe Mani intended it to read that her only concerns in life regarding her boys would be how they value/respect women. This piece was discussing those issues specifically because of the rape trial that was in the news at that week.

    • Erica says:

      I think as a mother you will have more worries than you know what to do with at times.
      Your comment came off extremely rude (especially considering you left your name as “Stupid Article”).|
      For you to base this woman’s every worry off of one article is ignorant.
      I think the points she brings up are extremely valid. And it’s definitely things to remember when trying to instill “respectable young man” in your little man.
      I believe you decided to overlook the fact that this particular post stemmed from events that happened around the time she wrote it.
      More importantly, NO ONE (not even you, Stupid Article) is a perfect mother. I don’t feel perfect, nor do I know a mother that does feel perfect. Rather than criticizing and being condescending, how about trying to offer advice…in a not-so abrasive manner. We’re all doing the same job, with slightly to majorly varying job descriptions.

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