Don’t Raise a Creep: 5 Important Conversations to Have With Your Son

Mom Moment 19

father and sonIn an open letter to parents of boys, writer and sex educator Carina Kolodny talks about all those cautionary conversations we're supposed to have with our daughters: Be careful how you dress, don't drink too much, protect yourself against creepy men. But then she asks, "Who are these 'creepy men' and where did they come from AND who in the hell raised them?" Oh -- that would be US! Creepy men start out as boys, and that means at least one parent somehow failed to teach their son not to be creepy. And so, Kolodny makes a very reasonable request: Talk with your sons about how they treat women and girls, all of them.

Okay, fair enough. But ... it's so awkward. What are you supposed to do? "Son, please pass the salt, and speaking of passing the salt, can we talk about sexual assault?" Awkward! Leave Dr. Seuss behind. Here are a few ways to start that "Don't Be a Creep" conversation with your son.

It's all about noticing the right opportunity and asking key questions. That way you can find out what your son already thinks before launching into a lecture that will make them roll their eyes and say, "I know, Mom/Dad!"

You’re watching TV and you see an ad with girls wearing skimpy clothes: How do you think the girls in that ad want to be treated by men? Would your friends treat girls dressed that way differently than girls dressed in long jeans? Why/why not?

You’re having a glass of wine with dinner: You know, I was raised not to get too drunk to behave responsibly, but I know not everyone else has been taught that. What would you do if a girl you know got so drunk she couldn’t move? Do you think drinking more than you meant to would ever excuse your behavior if you ended up doing something wrong?

You're listening to music in the car and the singer is boasting about his sexual conquests: Why is he so proud of having sex with so many women? What does that do for him? Can a grown man be cool/manly/awesome without having sex with a lot of women?

You hear someone use the word "slut" in any context: How come we rarely hear anyone call a guy a slut? Why are people uncomfortable with the idea of girls having sex with more than one guy?

You see or hear a news story about online sexual harassment: What do you think of girls who post sexy photos of themselves? Has anyone ever texted you a photo of a girl with her clothes off? (He'll probably say no ...) What would you think of that?

I confess, I haven't had any of these conversations with my own son -- yet. But I think I should, because if I don't, there's plenty of other people out there who will teach him to be a creep. And as a parent of a boy, I think it's my responsibility to help keep your daughters safe, too.

Have you ever had these kinds of conversations with your sons?


Image via Mike Baird/Flickr

behavior, sex, tough topics


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eupeptic eupeptic

I think a good method would be to begin from a young age instilling the value that most women like guys who are gentlemen and throughout his life provide him with examples of how he can be a gentleman (e.g., by being accepting, forgiving, respectful, loving, caring, compassionate, selfless, empathetic, etc.; perhaps also ask him to put himself in her shoes so he'll think about a guy's behavior from a woman's perspective - that should encourage him to think more about his own behavior towards women) whenever something comes up that you'd like to point out to him.

the4m... the4mutts

My oldest is only 10, but I have started with the "everybody wants privacy" (so he wouldnt just walk in on his sisters changing clothes) and talking to him about good & bad touch, and that we never touch someone, even a hug, who doesnt want to be touched.

He is good with respect for female bodies. He can have an eye-to-eye convo with a fully uncovered nursing mother, and never once look at anything other than the baby or her face. I praise him for it on a regular basis, and he says, "well what kind of freak stares at boobs with babies on them?" LoL

abra819 abra819

How about "how to keep from raising little bitches that grow up and treat our good sons like shit"..

Momm2... Momm2threeboyz

I couldn't agree with this article more!! However, I feel two very important things were left off the list. 1-abusing women/girls is NEVER okay.Whether it be physically, mentally or psychologically! It doesn't matter if it's "just a push". It is NOT okay! and 2-take care of your responsibility period! If you choose not to protect yourself while being intimate, then he IS responsible for the consequences of having a baby. It shouldn't be left to the girl to handle by herself. He was part of the act it took to make the baby, he chose to not be responsible in the first place, so he DEF needs to do his part in helping raise HIS kid! To the author of this article.... you rock

Mandy Swanda

I'm guessing people like abra819 are the ones raising creeps.  If someone's daughter doesn't like your son, that doesn't make her a B., and no just because she dresses immodestlt doesn't mean he can date-rape her.  Mmmmkay?

Sarah... SarahHall58

I've been around my fair share of creepy men and I did ask myself "who the hell raised this guy". I've even asked him "did your mom raise you to be disgusting?" I vowed if I ever have a son he will respect women. His rather is a beautiful shining example of that. And I hope whatever this baby is learns to be respectful of the opposite sex.

Jilectan Jilectan

I'm raising one son and two daughters and I am trying hard to raise them to be respectful of other people and do what's right. So far, so good. Of course, they're 9, 7 and 3, so it's a work in progress.

Kattey Kattey

Thank you for this article. I don't have a son, but if/when I do he will definitely be taught to treat others with respect.

I feel as though another important thing was forgotten though, and that's to speak up if he sees someone else sexually assaulting someone.

Blenderx Blenderx

Okay, how about an article about raising women who don't throw themselves at guys who don't want the attention, don't use our sons, don't verbally or physically abuse them, dress respectfully- especially at work, etc.?  It goes both ways!  Boys are not the enemy.

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