Congratulations! You have made it through the excruciating pain of labour and the postpartum challenges after the 9 long months of an emotional rollercoaster. The big task starts now of raising your little boy.
Right from taking charge of your own body to making sure that the little one is latching, feeding and pooping properly, we parents have our hands full. What makes this time even more challenging is the pressure of abiding by age-old traditions. And some of these traditions are just not in line with your gut feeling as a mom…
After delivery, relatives, friends, and family members keep sharing tips and hacks on how one must take care of their baby. It can be quite taxing, while everything is so hectic and overwhelming already!
Raising a boy isn’t all that easy!
As for me, being the mother of a boy, my major concerns were to do with how to take special care of his body. I would hear a lot of people around asking me to feed him more, since he is a boy and would get hungry more often or that I should think about circumcising him since the foreskin is too tight for his age.
There are so many stereotypes when it comes to having a baby, particularly in India. Some people point out that a mother should not praise or show affection to the baby in public because a mother’s “eyes” bring maximum harm to their children whereas some say the mother’s intention as the purest in the world. Buying clothes before the baby has arrived is considered unlucky but if you don’t prepare beforehand then you are labelled as irresponsible. Practically a mother’s gaze can never cause harm and buying the essentials before the birth of the baby can only be beneficial and bring no bad luck.
Here are three things I refused to do with my son’s upbringing. Of course, a lot of research goes into figuring out what’s right and what’s wrong, but it’s all worth it for my little one’s well-being and future.
3 Common mistakes to avoid while raising a boy:
1. Letting Him Skip Household Chores
When we talk about gender equality we tend to miss out on day to day brainwashing practices. Learning mundane household chores develops one of the most important values of being responsible.
If one learns to add a daily thought of their house and its upkeep, they lean towards an organised life. Doing simple tasks like tidying up their own room, helping set the dining table or any other age-appropriate chores of the house imbibes values of work ethics, and trust me you won’t have to take care of timely submissions of homework.
Laundry lessons around six years of age or simply teaching him to help you with anything from food shopping to cleaning can make a great difference. This can assist you in developing a good habit in your son’s routine of doing normal house chores and supporting their mothers.
2. Making him feel superior as a masculine figure
The part I feared the most was making him grow into a man who is expected to be emotionally tough. Boys frequently hear comments like “Crying is only for girls,” “Take it like a man,” and “Big boys don’t cry” when they are growing up.
Before they can be kind and empathic boys, they must improve their ability to be in touch with their emotions. This also helps your son develop emotional literacy and thereby, a high emotional quotient.
The best way to avoid this from happening is by teaching him to treat people with respect regardless of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. To prevent this line of thinking, encourage mixed-gender friendships along with setting a good example around the house.
3. Gender stereotyping is a big no
“Girls should necessarily learn how to cook”, “football is a boy’s sport and badminton is a girl’s sport” and “…” are a few common stereotypes that run in most Indian households. Teaching self-care as a grooming habit is meant for ‘girls’. Dressing up and taking care of your own self is not restricted to any gender.
Gender-stereotyping can be detrimental to the growth of a child, more mentally than physically. It instils preconceived concepts and ideas in the minds of young boys and girls.
Parents should be extra cautious with the kind of words and ideas they try to convey to their boys. Using gender-neutral language is extremely important in this day and age since it imparts the message that boys and girls stand on an equal footing.
It should also be made sure that when the boy faces an instance of gender stereotyping, it is well addressed and clarified before it becomes a concrete notion in his mind. Parents should also ensure that gender stereotypes are called out when they come up in stories or movies.
A huge fissure has been created in the way boys are raised and the way girls are raised. Parents should find ways to close this gap. Parents can share parenting responsibilities and household tasks among themselves, however small or big may it be, to set an example their children can learn from. We should also encourage interaction with our sons to prevent them from being hesitant to talk about their feelings.
It is time to question age-old traditions that we tend to follow blindly. Trust your instincts as parents because nobody knows what is best for your baby boy better than you do. Trust the process of sowing your seed and admiring it reap into your beautiful little sapling.