Raising a boy in 21st Century
Raising children has never been an issue of discussion in Indian context as the parenting style for both girls and boys - though strikingly different; was always well set and never challenged. With the changing times, the old ways of grooming of both boys and girls have been found to be unhelpful. The way girls and boys are being raised is completely out of place in today’s context - where both of them are getting equally educated and are getting ready to take life head on.
In the 21st century, everybody shall make their children more self-reliant. It is time they learn to be responsible for upkeep of their room, their clothes, their books and other items. Today, both boys and girls are travelling, studying and living in different parts of the world. They have to learn to be independent to look after themselves, cook on daily basis or do other daily chores. Especially in western countries, one would not get any help and everyone does their chores on their own. Boys who are used to pampering by parents find it very hard to adjust.
Parents who keep doing small chores for their kids or get all this done by servants actually make their kids dependant on them. Especially, boys are mostly kept away from household responsibilities and are not expected to participate in simple activities like tiding the house, laying and clearing the table, serving food to any of the family members. Over and above this, they are made dependent by someone serving them everything on the platter. Boys should not only be taught to look after their small works but also see how they can contribute in running the house. Making them self-reliant can be helpful for parents as well.
This dependency of boys over others is usually one of the major reasons for fights and argument between the married couple where the girl feels pissed off by doing these small chores for her husband, especially if both of them are educated and working and wife also comes home equally tired and exhausted. When both the husband and wife are working, the boys have to come forward and share the responsibility of managing home.
With the merging gender roles, overlapping social fabric, career aspirations among both the genders, need for both the life partners to earn to meet the financial needs of the family, it is time everyone revises their parenting style and make it more suitable to the changing needs of the new social roles which both needs to play.
Considering the present day situation of frequent marital discord, adjustment challenges including high conflict and incompatible marriages and increasing divorce rate, it is time to take some solid action to remove the anomaly and create a better future for the kids by making them responsible for their new roles. One of the most common reasons of conflict between the couple is the issue of distribution of work among them.
Marriage is a big responsibility, where both the boy and girl have to look after themselves, each other, kids, other family members, and other household chores. Boys need to be prepared for shouldering this responsibility with his wife. They need to understand how they can contribute in running the house by cooperating with other family members.
Respecting women in every walk of life is another input required at the earliest possible time. Respecting not only one’s own mother or sister but respecting every woman is something that needs to be inculcated as the basic value. The fact that all the abuses a man use are targeted at women which shows how much society respects women. It is time to change one’s perspective and behaviour towards women. Disrespecting women is a sign of uncultured and indecent behaviour. Gender sensitization, gender equality, respect for women has to be part and parcel of childhood raring. Considering the stringent laws like posh etc, people need to make their boys more responsible for their actions.
Boys are usually discouraged to express emotions. It is time people understand that all are equal human beings. Being men should not deprive them of experiencing and expressing emotions. They should be encouraged to understand, experience, and express emotions. This will also make them more sensitive to other person’s feelings and help them respond sensibly.
For ages, aggression and violence are considered signs of masculinity and power. Maybe this was okay in stone-age but in a civilized society, these behaviours have no place. Boys have to be actually weaned off this behaviour in the interest of their safety and security. All these traits can put them in trouble and send them behind the bars. Boys need to be trained to express anger and disagreement in more legitimate way. No doubt, boys have better physique and more power but people need to help them channelize and utilize it for better purpose rather than violence and physical fights.
Men for centuries have been conditioned to patriarchal way of life. With the overwhelming changes in the society, this is also under modification. With both husband and wife being equally educated and earning equally, the legitimacy of patriarchy is in question. This may come as a shock but people need to prepare their boys for this drastic change in the society. With this change in the society, all the members in the family will have an equal say. Everyone will get equal rights. ‘What is right’, will be acceptable to all and not what the master of the house says. Boys in the 21st century will see this happening in their lives and so should be prepared to accept and embrace it happily.
In a nutshell, boys in the 21st century will have to come out of their comfort zone and become more self-reliant. They need to learn to look after themselves rather than depending on others to meet their daily needs. They have to be prepared for new gender roles and social roles. Respect for women, gender equality, and gender sensitization are some of the basic values that are essential in their rearing. They should be encouraged to understand and express emotions. Empowering them with the life skills like introspection, communication, emotional intelligence etc. will definitely help them work on expressing emotions like anger in legitimate way, handling frustration, and preventing violence.
Since marriage is a big responsibility, both the boys and girls need to be prepared for it. Welcoming the girl, helping her adjust in new family and creating good home environment is responsibility of the boy and people need to prepare boys to shoulder this responsibility. Parents and society have a big role to play.