Boy Mom Talk: Raising Respectful Men


My boys are my greatest achievements and my deepest work. Parenting is a challenge, no matter the gender, and I have been thoroughly exhausted on multiple occasions from the high energy and constant fighting between my two boys. I choose my battles to save my energy so I can teach the most important lesson: raising them to become respectful men.

respectful men

Our society is not doing our boys (or girls) any favors. The male/female roles are deeply ingrained. My job is to give my children a different perspective and offer them the space to be whomever they want to be, while still having empathy and respect for all. However, as a mother of two boys, teaching them to be respectful of the boundaries of a woman is a non-negotiable. Here are six things I try to ingrain in my boys now so they will grow into respectful men.

1. Manners

  • “Please” and “No, thank you” are simple, yet so very powerful.
  • Holding the door open for others. Especially women and little kids. Chivalry isn’t dead for respectful men.

2. Affection

Did you know the average age where parental affection is lost for young boys is age six? This leaves our young boys confused about their ideas of what affection should look and feel like. Allow them to give and receive affection while also teaching them personal boundaries. For example, not everyone wants a hug, so it’s important to ask first.

3. Emotion and Empathy

Have you ever said, “Why can’t you just suck it up?” or “Man up.” Yeah, me too. Ugh.

  • Please do not shame boys out of their ability to feel. Let them cry. Show them your tears, too.
  • Help them see and describe their emotions. For example, say, “I can see you are upset because you are yelling. Are you mad? Sad? Frustrated?”
  • Help them understand your emotions as well. Show them it’s okay to feel sad or frustrated and how to manage this emotion.

Relating to their own and others’ emotions teaches empathy, which allows them to connect deeper and have healthy relationships in the future.

4. Respect Others

No means NO. Always. This is where I focus most of my attention with my boys these days. They wrestle and “fight” with each other all.the.time. When one yells, “Stop!” or “Get off!” and the other doesn’t respect that, I can come unglued!

  • Help them understand the importance of respecting the requests of others, especially when it comes to the body.
  • Remind them their bodies are their own, and they are never to touch someone else without asking first. I do not take this lightly, and I hope you don’t either. 

5. Self-Respect

You can’t have true respect for others if you don’t respect yourself. This can be lost on children, or maybe it’s just my boys. They don’t care much about hygiene…yet. This is great starting point to teach self-respect.

  • I tell my boys, “How you present yourself to the world is how you will be treated. You are training others to respect you by respecting yourself. So yes, you MUST brush your teeth, wash your face, and put on clean clothes. Yes, this means every day!”
  • As they’ve gotten older, self-respect has shown itself by standing up for what they think is right. For example,reporting a bully or helping friends with conflict. 

When they respect themselves, they also understand how to respect others.

6. Value of Women

This one is the secret sauce. You are not “just” a mom. You have value, and you model this for them. If you don’t value yourself, your boys won’t learn to value and respect other women.

  • Teach them what it means to be a mom.
  • Show them examples of powerful women so they don’t equate only men with value and power. I introduce my boys to female business owners. 

There are no guarantees in parenting. Do what you believe is best, cross your fingers and pray it works! In the end, it all boils down to love. If your boys know they are loved without question, then they will love you back. And you, mama, are the first love of their lives.

You are teaching your boys how to be amazing, respectful men. It’s a big job, but I know you are up for the challenge.

What are your tools for raising respectful men?

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Selena Maestas is healing hearts worldwide as the founder of the Love YOU More Project. An insightful life coach, she has helped hundreds of people over the last 12 years to heal the most important relationship: the one with themselves. Selena has a strong background in psychology which gives her an inquisitive lens and a library of experience towards effectively guiding people to make change in all areas of life. She has focused her work to help working women strengthen their confidence and proudly claim their space in the world. How? By teaching them how to get out of their own way!


  1. I love this! I have 7 kids, 3 of them are boys. I had an argument with my 6th grader about the importance of wearing clean pants to school, just last week.

  2. This is so beautifully articulated! I have 2 little boys of my own, and we’re working hard on No means No. They’ve got fantastic manners…….with other people, so we’re working on manners and respect at home too. Thank you for writing this, it needs to be said, over and over until our entire society understands it.

    I’m thinking I might write my own ideas on this, would it be okay if I linked back to here, so my readers can see the inspiration of my thoughts?

    • Echo, thank you for your reply. It all starts at home. And all we can do is our best! I agree that we need to repeat these ideas! Let’s keep the conversation going 🙂 Yes, link back to this article! Share it! I would love this message to spread far and wide!

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