With social pressures all around pulling you in many different directions, it can be difficult to know the right ways to raise a son in Egypt. So here are 10 tips that can help your son turn into the perfect, respectful gentleman:
1) It is okay to cry- It’s not just about crying, boys should learn that expressing their opinions and feelings however they want to is appropriate. And it is important to set a positive example with you and your husband being open to showing him emotion in return.
2) Let him play with whatever toys he wants- Dolls or cars, anything that can positively stimulate you son’s imagination should be encouraged. Children learn so much from play, it is important to not limit them!
3) It is okay if he doesn’t like football-Some of the best ballet dancers and classical musicians in the world are men. Nurture your son’s talents and passions regardless of what they are.
4) Let him decide his favorite color- In the past pink used to be seen as the masculine color because of its passion, and blue was deemed feminine for its calming effect. Gendering colors is arbitrary, let them decide themselves which ones they like.
5) Be strict with manners- Sons should never get into a habit of ordering other people around. Things as simple as saying please and thank you can mark the difference between being grateful and ungrateful.
6) Give him chores- Many Egyptian men grow up depending on others for thing to be done for them, often because they don’t know how to do it themselves. Children learn through doing, so give your son tasks from an early age so he can learn how to cook and clean and become more independent.
7) Don’t let him control his sister’s actions- In the hierarchy of your family, your children should always be equal. The son should never feel that he has power over his sister. If it becomes normal for him to control her actions, then this is a sign of what he will be like as an adult, so make sure to keep them on a balanced playing field.
8) Teach him not just to respect your authority, but also your intelligence- Many men grow up with the idea that women less intelligent than them. Engage with your son in his school work, help him with homework and read about subjects that he likes. That way you can participate in conversations that don’t just interest him, but intellectually stimulate him and can associate the most important woman to him with intelligence.
9) Being Bullied is not his fault!- If your son is being bullied, don’t ask what he did to deserve it and why he didn’t stand up for himself. Teach him how to cope with bullies whilst making it clear it is not his fault. If he is the bully, it is not ‘boys being boys,’ he needs to be scolded and told what he is doing is wrong.
10) Don’t put the weight of the family on his shoulders- Putting pressure on your son to follow a certain path and carry on the family legacy is a big burden for him to bear, especially as a young person trying to face their own challenges. Give him space to find his own path and feel part of the family on his own terms.