First Grade Chivalry: Parenting Boys in a Boorish Age

First Grade Chivalry

My first grader is an active, rough-and-tumble imp who picks his nose and likes to pass gas as loudly as possible. He’s my youngest child, and my only son. Learning to navigate being a Boymom has been interesting because it is different than parenting girls in significant ways.

Of course, all of my children were taught to say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, and “I’m sorry” from the time they learned to speak. But in light of the devastating wave of sexual misconduct allegations in the media lately, I’m feeling an even deeper urgency to train up my son to be the best man he can be. My prayer is that he honors God in all he says and does, both publicly and privately.

First Grade Chivalry

In order to help my sister out,  I started picking up my niece, a kindergartner, two days a week. Without being asked to, my son takes her backpack and carries it to the car each day she comes home with us. He tells her “I’ve got it, Abby”, which just melts my heart. This sweet little kindness of his reverberated within me after I heard yet another lascivious news item this week.

It seems a high-profile morning show host was fired for alleged inappropriate sexual behavior, shocking the nation and calling even more attention to the serious issue of sexual bravado on the part of powerful men.

As a young single woman in the early 1990s, I experienced this firsthand at my workplace. When I told my supervisor about the unwanted advances, her way of handling it was yelling down a corridor “Leave my girls alone!” to the offending party. And that was that. I’m grateful for today’s open dialogue on this serious and painful topic.

Parenting boys is a challenge in an age of such boorish behavior. In the wake of all this unrest, our family must continue to be diligent in maintaining dialogue in our home about appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Most recently, we have been talking to my son about “When someone says stop, you stop”. This, in response to his tackling or whacking his sister in a pesky little-brotherish fashion.

While siblings inevitably bicker and engage in childhood fisticuffs, that doesn’t make it acceptable. Time outs, stern talkings-to, and loss of privileges are all part of our parenting process of reining in behaviors that show disrespect and cause harm towards others. But above all, we explain that that is not how kind, respectful boys behave. Small aggressions left unchecked have the potential to become egregious behavior later.

Small aggressions left unchecked have the potential to become egregious behavior later.

For some time now, “locker room talk” and grabby behavior have been tolerated, even winked at. This normalizes it and this is NOT normal behavior. This is not healthy behavior. Men are capable of controlling themselves and conducting themselves like gentlemen.

When we shine the spotlight of truth on deplorable behavior, ill deeds have little recourse. The backlash of survivors speaking out is positive motion in the direction of calling out and calling to task those who abandon their dignity and violate the dignity of others in the process.

When we shine the spotlight of truth on deplorable behavior, ill deeds have little recourse.

While there is breath in my lungs, I will continue to sing the refrain of how a young man should behave. I’m grateful that my husband will support me in this and continue to model positive male behavior for our son. Violence and unwanted sexual advances are things I will speak to my sweet boy about, in an age-appropriate way, for the rest of my time as his mother.

Until then, I’ll praise him for carrying his Batman backpack on one shoulder and the navy one with tiny rainbows and hearts on the other.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

-Proverbs 22:6

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 6 Strategies for Parenting with Eternity in Mind and Beyond Protection: 6 Powerful Prayers for Your Children


Hi! I’m Tracy…Christ-follower, wife, mama, writer, blogger, speaker, teacher, dreamer. I love Earl Grey Tea and quiet mornings. Here at Earl Grey and Yellow, the focus is striving to be faithful and appreciate the small things. So glad you stopped by. Please have a look around and subscribe to our newsletter and social media to stay connected.

9 thoughts on “First Grade Chivalry: Parenting Boys in a Boorish Age

  1. I don’t know whether to say boys don’t take instructions seriously like girls or they forget often! My daughter was very obedient as she grew up unlike my 8 year old son who keeps repeating the same mistakes. I hate it when he doesn’t switch off lights, doesn’t close doors behind his back and even forgets to brush his teeth. I have to closely supervise him and hope he will catch up soon. I get some consolation when I hear others go through the same and tend to imagine it’s a task that any concerned parent cannot ignore.

  2. I am thankful knowing that gentlemen are still being raised. We come from different generations but can still raise children to be respectful and kind. Thank you Tracy for being a great example of a Godly Mom…keep up the great work.

  3. The desire to protect and provide is an innate characteristic in little boys because they are made in the image of God. However, parenting, home environment, and society can very quickly alter that desire if we aren’t proactive at reinforcing it. Heather Haupt has a great book Knights in Training that helps keep chivalry alive!

  4. Being raised in a large family, the “rules” varied for my siblings based on whether they were male or female. My parents fretted more over my sisters and me than over my brothers. Even our curfews were different. Without realizing it, my parents were subliminally contributing to the societal belief that men were better and measured by a different standard than women. We must shatter this standard and seek God’s help to parent a generation of love and respect for God and for each other!

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