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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

How do mothers (usually) bring up boys to respect women as equals? Or not do so?

Who can get through a day of the 2016 presidential campaign and not think of this?

Here's part of how my mom did it in the late 1930s and the 1940s.

I didn't know what she had in mind when she raised us as if there was no such thing as boys' work or girls' work. My brother and I did not help my sister "do the dishes"; we all three did them. Mom taught my brother and me how to prepare simple meals. She once sent my sister out to help my brother and I do yard work but my dad didn't give my sister any work to do. I was in my 20s when mom said she wanted all of us to know how to take care of ourselves.

After I started dating I realized that she did not teach me how to read girls' minds. Troubles followed.

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There are some words I don't forget.

I was maybe twelve when, at a picnic with relatives on my mom's side of the family, I heard an aunt say, "If he hits me one time, there won't be a second time."

I guess it's about having boundaries.

When a woman or a man says, "If he(she) hits me one time, there won't be a second time" I hope you affirm the declaration! 

When I worked at the boys' ranch, there were several battered fathers as well as mothers. My job as a social worker was to train males and females, young and old, how to assert themselves, how to say no, how to set boundaries, and how to end a relationship that was toxic. 

As a former battered wife, I had to learn those life skills in order to get my three children safely from their father/abuser. These life skills should be taught to every child in every home and in every family, as well as every classroom. Sadly, in those days we lived in an age when a father was head of the family and was to do whatever he needed to do to get control of his wife and children. Fathers had the right, religiously and by social custom, to do "what they needed to do to get control of their wives and children. 

Those days are gone in most enlightened families and if abuse does exist, the abuse needs to be confronted by professionals and if abuse does not end, the family has to be torn apart. The old value was to maintain the family at all costs. The price of abuse was far too high to allow that idea to remain. 

Thankfully, the skills are learned and anyone can learn them if they want to live more healthy lives and have healthy relationships.

My Mother brought me up to believe that men didn't do house work, and when I was very young she and my sisters would wait on me as if I was a little prince. But something happened when I was about ten my mother went into hospital and I was looked after by my older sister. She slowly but surely taught me to look after my self and to believe that woman were equal to men, but she did this in a kindly way. Ever since I've had no doubt that woman were not equal but superior to men.

I was youngest child, only daughter, and trained from an early age to do everything for everyone, without expecting thanks. After my escape I could only think of equality and I did everything I could to get there.

Chris B. I respect the struggle you had with such sexist training as a child. Thankfully, you learned to set limits on what you would/could do for others as well as learn how to take care of your needs and wants. 

Stephen, what a special story you have and you were able to learn how to take care of yourself and that your sister was kind as she taught you. I hope your mother recovered from her illness, and I know that you are strong, capable, considerate, and able to assert your needs. 

Yes Joan my mother made a full recovery but resented my sister for showing me how to look after myself. As the youngest child, I think she wanted me to stay with her during her old age but she died quite young and all of a sudden I was on my own and I had to take care of myself.

Tom, you wrote, "After I started dating I realized that she (Mom) did not teach me how to read girls' minds. Troubles followed."

This is where communication comes in. Moms fail to teach everything a boy should know. We do think of things like meals, dishes, vacuuming, dusting, changing beds, and hopefully problem solving, conflict resolution, negotiation, compromise, anger management, and self-motivation, etc. 

When you experience feelings of not being able to read the mind of another, you need to learn to communicate that feeling, which brings up other life skills: patience and tolerance. 

Oh! but you learned those things already and I don't need to take your time telling you the obviously 

Lots of love, Joan. 

Joan, I'm happy to see you're well. I've been at www.agnostic.com and am now visiting AU. I'll hang around for a few days.

I have certainly said often that my mother did not teach me how to read girls' minds. Because she usually spoke her mind, even hurtfully at times, I could have more accurately said she did not give me opportunities to learn how to read her mind. I still don't read other women's minds.

Cheers.

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