Another Point-Of-View: Raising A Man, Not A Boy

From the moment I found out I was having a son, my wheels began turning.  My kiddo went from being an “it” to a “he,” and I couldn’t have been more excited.  With my elation, I felt a huge responsibility to raise a good human and not just a boy.

You will never hear me say, “Boys will be boys,” because in our household, boys will be held accountable for their actions. 

raising a man not a boy boys men

The concept of consent has already been started and he’s two.  When NO is heard, all bets are off.  No means NO!  I intend to raise a gentleman and a scholar. I will raise him to know that he can not blame skimpy clothes for giving him certain thoughts. He will know that alcohol does not imply consent in ANY way.  I will not raise the boy that snaps the bra of the girl in front of him or the boy that pushes (or kisses) the little girl on the playground because he “likes” her.  (Honestly, I don’t know that he will want your daughters, and to be quite frank, it’s none of my business!)  There will be consequences in our house.  There will be far greater punishments for these violations than for behaviors like breaking curfew, not doing his homework, skipping out on chores, or having a smart mouth. 

He can however, assume that holding doors, pulling out chairs, offering a coat or hand, being nice, covering, helping someone get home safely, offering to help others when they’re struggling to carry something, etc. will always be expected and rewarded in our house.  If someone declines his help, though, he should appreciate that and not assume helplessness.  He will witness my partner and friends modeling this behavior, he will witness his mother showing appreciation for those gestures, and he will get an earful when these values aren’t upheld. 

I refuse to raise a man that speaks of or treats other men or women like they are dispensable and devoid of feelings.

I’m naturally an independent woman, and I don’t expect to be rescued. I can hang with the boys and hold my own.  Honestly, I hope that he is drawn to women similar to me in that regard – able to pick up the slack and take care of business when the need arises.  I refuse to raise a man that speaks of or treats other men or women like they are dispensable and devoid of feelings.  If he sees a mom struggling to juggle her children, groceries, and diaper bag, I hope that he doesn’t hesitate to help.  If he sees another person walking to the same door, I hope he stops and holds that door for the other person. 

I want him to speak up and hold his friends to the standards I hold him to. 

I want him to be an activist and value the opinion of women, speaking out when needed.  It is an important skill to be able to recognize when a woman is using her body for attention or power and know how to not take advantage of someone’s lack of self-worth.  He needs to be above that.  I want him to use both logic and empathy.  He should build others up, hold himself accountable, and respond appropriately.

Part of the reason his father and I are divorcing is because I am following my own advice. I don’t want him to see a couple staying together because it’s easier than leaving, starting over, and finding a new partner that respects, loves, and appreciates me (and my son).  Even more, I don’t want him thinking that HE is the reason his dad and I are miserable together. That’s a lot to pin on a child.  I can’t speak for my soon-to-be-ex-husband, but I hope that when he starts seeing someone new that he keeps his standards high and treats her well. 

After all, I am raising my son to be a MAN and not a boy.  

I want him to be comfortable with himself and others’ perceptions of him, which means gender stereotypes and associated expectations may need to be adjusted.


Nicole is full-time Mother-Baby Nurse at UIHC and full-time single momma to her 3 year old son, Griffin. She grew up in Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa. She lived in Chicago for almost 4 years before moving back to Iowa City to start a family with her (now ex) husband. After struggling with infertility and undergoing In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfers, she worked hard for the title of Mom. Feeling complete as a family of three, they donated their last remaining embryo to another couple, which has been an interesting and complex process. Nicole’s next conquest is to get her Lactation Certification and do some in-home consultation on the side. Her other passions are hiking, reading non-fiction science (or parenting) books, Sudoku, being mamarazzi/managing Griffin’s modelling hobby, visiting museums, and listening to podcasts. She describes herself as resilient, passionately curious, coffee-obsessed, science nerd.


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