Anonymous had a couple other interesting thoughts about boys and respect. Listen:
Among boys, respect is earned by testing each other by irritating, teasing, hitting, competing, etc. These interactions between boys (of all ages) determine the amount of respect earned. This masculine pecking order is constantly being challenged, sometimes in an effort to change positions, other times to confirm your slot, always to define identity.
So what earns the respect of young boys?
- Physical Build
As a mother -- and sister -- of four boys, I sense the truth in his words. And yet, as a Mom, I'm confused. How do I help my young sons earn respect, while also teaching them to show respect? Defiance may be very important in the world of young boys, but I don't exactly want to encourage it in my sons. Same thing with teasing and irritating.
Even things like physical build and athleticism, while important in the world of boys, are to some extent of out boys' hands. As a parent, I can work with my son and encourage his athletic ability and interest, but only if he's interested. I can serve healthy foods and model an active lifestyle, but that's about it.
So my question is this: How do we, as parents, help our boys navigate the boy code, while teaching them to behave respectfully in the wider world? Are there behaviors we should ignore because that's just "part of being a boy?"
Let's see what Otis had to say.