10 Messages to Teach Your Child That Men and Women Deserve Equal Respect

By Rebeccah Minazadeh

After taking a gap year before attending school for my bachelor’s degree in Psychology, I was having second thoughts. My psychobiology class sparked my interest in biology, and I took up a minor in Bioethics to explore my passions. My dad supported me through an additional year of studies and was determined to respect any decision I make in respect to my career. In these years, I learned from my father that my passions, interests, and most importantly, education and independence matter.

Children are constantly learning from their parents, absorbing everything they see, hear and personally experience. It’s up to us to determine what messages our children receive. The following are important messages we can give our children in respect to feminism.

  1. It’s okay to cry as long as we show our emotions in a healthy and considerate way.
  2. Make friends with girls. Our differences make us special and unique (See Resilient Children for the “Unique and Special” exercise)
  3. You can be strong and sensitive. Your feelings matter, as well as your talents and skills.
  4. “Hold the door open for women” not because it’s the polite thing that men should do for women, but because it is common courtesy, as polite as saying please and thank you. (See Resilient Children for the exercise, “Speaking and Listening Courtesy”)
  5. “No,” means, “No.” Even “maybe,” means no. “Yes,” means “yes,” Parents can model this by following through on firm but gentle discipline.
  6. Surround yourself with people who inspire and encourage you. (See Resilient Children for the exercises, “Respectful Statements,” and “Conversation Makers and Breakers”)
  7. A girl may be pretty and cute, but it’s her inner beauty that makes her beautiful.
  8. Equal work deserves equal pay. The contributions of others are equally important as the contributions of your child.
  9. Sorry is a key word. Apologizing and forgiving are signs of strength, not weakness.
  10. Sensitivity, empathy, and compassion are valuable. (See Resilient Children for the “I Am Great” exercise)

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