My son is at the age when girls and boys start “liking” each other. And even though he’s not the heartbreaker type (I think he’s cute and charming, of course, but not boy band material), I want him to know how to treat girls when those girl/boy interactions begin.
First and foremost, I want him to be nice to all of the girls, not just the ones the boys think are “it.” I want him to treat girls the way I hope they will treat him – with kindness and respect.
Here are the 6 Things I Will Teach My Son about How to Treat Girls.
1. Girls are people too.
While I know that my son realizes that boys and girls are, obviously, different, I also want him to realize that girls and boys share similar feelings – they get scared, they feel shy, they get their feelings hurt. I want him to always try to put himself in their shoes when it comes to thinking about how his actions and words will affect them.
2. Be the gentleman.
Gentlemen stand out. Gentlemen are appreciated. Gentlemen are men with good manners. So if my son reaches a doorway at the same instant a girl does, he needs to step back and let her go first. If a girl drops something, he needs to pick it up for her. Even when he’s surrounded by his buddies, he needs to be a gentleman. (If you want your son to be a gentleman too, check out these 5 ways to raise a gentleman.)
3. Say no kindly.
Unrequited love hurts – even when you’re 12. I want my son to know that if a girl likes him and he’s aware of it and does not wish to return the sentiment, he needs to be kind. If a girl asks him directly if he likes her, he can say yes or no (even if it’s in a check the “yes” box if you like me, check the “no” box if you don’t note) with kindness. As much as the line “I like you as a friend” hurts, it does cut to the chase.
4. Say no firmly.
I also want my son to say no firmly when it’s called for. If a girl starts being too forceful or intrusive with her affections, he can let her know in a firm way. “Beth, I like you as a friend and that’s all. I think we should leave it at that.”
5. Be prepared.
When my son lays his heart on the line, he needs to be prepared for rejection. I want him to know that that’s a part of romantic life. Having said that though, I want him to be brave if he feels like he does want to let a girl know that he likes her – because where there is no risk, there is no reward.
6. It’s okay to sit it out.
We never tease our children about romantic things. No “so who’s your girlfriend?” asked in a teasing way. We don’t want them to feel pressure to join the boy/girl “she likes you” dance. There is plenty of time in life for romance. In fact, we hope our son will enjoy hanging out with his buddies, rather than getting caught up in having a girlfriend. If you’re unsure about your take on this, take a look at the pros and cons of middle school romance.