“You don’t understand – you have boys”

I’m so sick of people saying that to me.  It happens surprisingly often.  It’s always when someone is talking about being worried about their daughter:  Usually about her safety – protecting her from other people, sometimes other adults but often also her peers.

It’s worries about her going out in the world, being away from them and with other people.  Worries about her growing up.  Getting hurt.  Being negatively influenced by other kids.  And of course, that ultimate daughter-worry, getting pregnant.

Fine, worry about your daughters.  Comes with being a parent, I suppose.  But please DON”T tell me that I don’t understand because I have boys. 

Boys get hurt. 

Boys get raped.

Boys get beat up – often, and with less chance of someone stepping in to protect them.  And you can add in the fact that if you DO step in to protect them, you may be making it more likely that they will get beat up more aggressively the next time you are not there.

Boys get negatively influenced by other kids and other adults – possibly one of the worst influences being the attitude that “boys will be boys” and thus they are allowed to do shit that should be nipped in the bud.

And if you want to get down to the nitty-gritty…  the Big Scary…  PREGNANCY – I’ve got news for you: 

If my sons are the responsible people we are trying to raise them to be, and one of them sleeps with one of your daughters, and your daughter ends up pregnant…  THE BALL IS TOTALLY IN YOUR DAUGHTER’S COURT.  Not in my son’s.  He does not get to decide what happens.  SHE gets to decide whether to have an abortion, put the baby up for adoption, or keep the baby.  SHE gets to decide whether she wants to work after she has the baby, or stay home with it and make my son pay for everything.  This is her right, as it is her body – I do not begrudge her that, but I do begrudge you the right to tell me that all of the danger and worry is on your side.

Yes, there are irresponsible males who will run away (and their families who will actually HELP them to shirk the responsibility – shame on them).  I do not plan on my boys being like that.  And do keep in mind that there are also plenty of irresponsible females out there – who will forget to take their birth control pills for days at a time and not mention it, or who will actually want to get pregnant so someone will take care of them (I know it’s not PC to say so, but females like this do exist, and they are often very pretty…).

I’ll make a deal with you:

  • Teach your daughters to make people earn their trust, not just give it to everyone who smiles at them.  I will teach my sons the same. 
  • Teach your daughters to use birth control (AND protect themselves from STD’s).  I will teach my sons the same (and hope that research into male birth control gains momentum). 
  • Teach your daughters to not accept abusive or deceitful relationships (as friendships or romances).  I will teach my sons the same.
  • Teach your daughters to protect the boys and girls in their lives from danger.  I will teach my sons the same.
  • Teach your daughters to take care of themselves, to use their judgement, to be honest with their partners and friends.  I will teach my sons the same. 

And please, think before you condescendingly tell me that I don’t understand – like I don’t care about my boys, like they are somehow immune to danger and hurt and “bad people”. 

Our worries are two sides of the exact same coin.

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