How to treat girls with respect

How to treat girls with respect

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While respect should be second nature to us (Aretha made darn sure we knew how to spell it and practice it), there seems to be a major deficit of it in our world today. From mean tweets to cliquish behavior on the playground, respect is plainly overdue for a comeback. The good news is that you can play a big role in starting a respect revolution just by modeling respect yourself and teaching your girl to follow suit.

Here are 7 simple ways you can teach your girl to be more respectful today:

1. Listen and be present
If someone else is speaking, give them the courtesy of listening to and thinking about what they’ve said before responding, forming your own opinions, or dismissing theirs. Your girl may not agree with what’s being said, and that’s absolutely OK (and sometimes important!) for her to express, but she should wait her turn, pay attention, and avoid jumping to conclusions. You never know, what someone says could surprise her!

2. Be thoughtful of others’ feelings
Talk to your girl about how she might feel angry, sad, or even embarrassed if someone rolled their eyes at one of her ideas or talked over her when she was trying to speak. It might feel even worse to hear that someone was calling her names or making fun of her. Since she doesn’t want to feel that way, she should do her best to ensure others aren’t made to feel that way either.

3. Acknowledge others and say thank you
If your girl did half the work on a science project, but her partner took all the credit, how would she feel? Probably pretty upset. Similarly, if she made a gift for another girl in school, and that friend never said thank you, she might feel confused or think the gift wasn’t very good. Letting others know that their efforts matter and thanking them for their time, work, and/or thoughtfulness doesn’t need to take more than a few seconds, but it makes a big difference.

4. Address mistakes with kindness
Everyone, even your girl, makes mistakes! Have her think back to a time she messed up a little. Would she want to be called out and humiliated in front of her friends, or would she have felt better if someone pulled her aside, gently told her about the mistake, and then helped her to improve next time? We’re all human and we’re all going to need a helping hand now and then. Helping others grow from their mistakes with dignity is just the decent thing to do.

5. Make decisions based on what’s right, not who you like
Sometimes it might feel easier for your girl to go along with the crowd and either mimic the behavior of her friends or choose their ideas over those of others out of a sense of loyalty or to gain favor with more popular kids, but that’s not smart or fair. Talk to your girl about weighing the pros and cons of the choices she makes in her daily life, about thinking about what’s right, and what will lead to the best outcomes for all involved. Sometimes it takes guts to stand up and support less popular views, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Not only do people’s feelings get hurt when we play favorites, but we can sometimes make poor decisions that have even bigger consequences.

6. Respect physical boundaries
Everyone’s body is their own, and everyone has the right to decide the level and type of physical contact they’re comfortable with. For instance, some people love to be greeted with hugs, some people don’t, and that’s OK! Talk to your girl about the importance of respecting people’s personal preferences and how she should insist on others respecting her boundaries as well.

7. Live and let live
In this great big world of ours, there are a billion different ways to live life, and that’s what makes life interesting! As long as everyone is being respectful and no one is hurting anyone else, it’s important to take a step back and accept that there’s no one right way to exist on this planet.

And finally, how can your girl get more respect in her life? Talk to her about the word integrity. Someone who has integrity is honest, is true to their word, does the best they can, and owns up to their shortcomings without making excuses, covering it up, or passing the blame onto someone else. Nobody’s perfect, but when your girl lives her life with integrity, she’ll earn others’ respect and be able to feel good about who she is as a person—and she’ll make others feel better in the process.

How to treat girls with respect

If a woman doesn’t respect you, she will not be attracted to you. That is not good if you are a single guy trying to get a woman or if you are a guy who is dating a woman and trying to keep her. So, how do you get a woman to respect you? Following are 10 crucial tips that you will want to read and apply to your own life.

How To Get A Woman To Respect You

1. Respect Yourself

If you don’t respect yourself, how can you expect a woman to respect you? It just doesn’t make sense.

Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror?

Do you think of yourself as a man who is responsible, working towards a future, and doing something worthwhile in this life?

If not, then it’s time to change things around. Start being honest with yourself, take action on the life you want, and feel good about yourself as you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night. When you can do that, every woman (and man) will respect you.

2. Get A Job

If you don’t have a job and you are not pulling in any money, get a job. Do what you can do to pull in some money and earn an honest day’s wage. At least put in the effort!

So many guys think a woman won’t respect them if they work somewhere they find demeaning, but the truth is that going out and doing what you need to do is very admirable, and any woman will appreciate your efforts to do what needs to be done.

Ain’t nothing sexy about a man with no job, no education, no respect, and no responsibilities.

3. Make Sure Your Actions Follow Your Words

This is so simple, but so powerful.

If you say you are going to show up somewhere, then show up.

If you say you are going to call, then call.

A man who backs up his words through his actions is a man that a woman will respect.

4. Be Upfront With Women

Tell it like it is. Don’t beat around the bush and say what you think a woman wants to hear. Tell a woman how you feel, what you think, and don’t mince words.

This means you are going to have to let a woman know that you have beliefs, morals, preferences, and interests. A woman will respect your honesty as long as you are not a jerk about it.

In other words, if you don’t want to go watch a certain movie, tell her what you think. If you like playing video games, tell her that. When you are upfront with her, she may get upset or mad initially, but she will respect you for ability to be upfront about who you are as a man.

5. Stand Up For Yourself

Whether you have just met a woman or if you are in a relationship with a woman, make sure to stand up for yourself. A woman can easily walk all over you if you don’t. And she will lose some respect for you as she does so.

This doesn’t mean you need to be a jerk. You just need to speak up when she’s being mean, inconsiderate, or downright rude! Call her on it – in a respectable way – and believe me, you will earn her respect.

6. Respect Her When She’s Not Around

Don’t talk about a woman you like badly when she’s not around.

Don’t hit on other women as if your woman doesn’t really matter to you.

If a woman finds out that you did that, you are going to lose her respect very quickly.

I respect a man that respects me when I’m not around.

7. Don’t Be Needy

A man who needs a woman by his side 24 hours a day will lose respect from her quickly. In fact, if you are needy, a woman will sense it right away and your chances of succeeding with her are very small. And if you do get her, your relationship is going to suck really bad.

I had a friend who had a great man – expect he was extremely needy. That neediness made him seem jealous, desperate, and low in confidence, and she had so little respect for him that she hardly ever spent time with him and treated him more like a dog than a lover. They are no longer together.

Neediness is the ultimate respect killer.

How To Stop Being Needy With Girls

8. Show Her Respect

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

If you want to get respect, give respect. Respect her opinions, beliefs, habits, interests, friends, family, feelings, and everything else.

9. Be A Man

Be a man. I used to hate that saying, but the truth is that you can’t be a wimpy guy and expect to get a feminine woman. You just can’t. Feminine women are attracted to masculine energies. You may attract a woman who walks all over you and treats you poorly, but you will not attract a woman who respects you.

10. Listen To This Guy

If you have not heard of Jason Capital yet, you need to. Sometimes I don’t like the guy, but I always respect him. He can help you get respect from women. Read this article on why you should listen to him.

Sharing is caring!

When it comes to raising our children, we must remember that we are not just raising future grown-ups. We are raising future boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives. We are raising little people who will grow up to interact with the world using the manners and virtues that we have brought them up with. As the mother of both a son and a daughter, there are two things I strive to teach each of my children: how to treat the opposite sex, and what treatment to expect from the opposite sex.

I find it especially important to stress this with my son, because I feel like women experience far more disrespect within relationships than men do. And so, I make every effort to encourage my son to be as respectful and chivalrous as possible, even at his young age. There are a few core values I want to instill in him with regard to his relationships with women. These are just a handful of very important lessons in how to treat a woman right.

How to treat girls with respect

1. Treat Girls With Respect

It’s never too early to start teaching respect to our children. Just as we should demand respect as mothers, we should demand that our sons respect all women. This means speaking to girls in a way that doesn’t judge them, put them down or violate their dignity. We need to teach our boys to listen respectfully and not use language around girls that is offensive. The best indication of how our sons will treat their future girlfriends is the way they treat us. If your son treats his mama like gold, he’ll treat his future female suitors like gold too.

How to treat girls with respect

2. Communicate By Listening

If there’s one thing women complain about most when it comes to men, it’s probably that they don’t listen. I personally chalk it up to “selective hearing” sometimes, but there might be some truth to this. We need to train our sons to be good listeners. When we are speaking to them, we must enforce the idea that it is disrespectful to interrupt. After we tell them something, we should ask them to repeat it back to us to make sure they heard correctly. Our sons’ future relationships will be so much stronger if we can teach them early on that good communication is all about listening to your partner’s point of view without judgment, and with fully attentive ears.

How to treat girls with respect

3. Appreciate Each Girl’s Uniqueness

I’m lucky that my son has a sister because I can use her as an example of how each girl is very unique. But whether you have a daughter or not, it’s important for your son to value every girl he meets. This lesson, when reinforced enough, will help our sons to understand that a woman’s worth goes far beyond her physical appearance. That sometimes, what makes a girl so great is what cannot be seen on the outside. I want my son to take the time to get to know girls, instead of throwing them into categories based on a physical or social element. If I can get my son to appreciate the uniqueness that my daughter and I both have, I hope he’ll be able to remain open to exploring the uniqueness of other girls he meets in his life.

How to treat girls with respect

4. Be A True Gentle-Man

Beyond chivalry, I want my son to be a gentleman in the literal sense. I want him to speak to women kindly, treat them compassionately and always try to practice sincerity. I want my son to know that words are powerful, and that he should choose ones that will lift women up. I want my son to be polite (to everyone, not just women) and to act selflessly in his relationships. The way I allow him to speak to me and treat me at home will play a huge role in this. So, when he uses language that is not kind, or behaves in a way that isn’t appropriate, I make sure that he knows it’s not acceptable.

How to treat girls with respect

5. “No” Means NO

I don’t force my children to hug or kiss me. I make a request for both. The reason I do this is because I want them to understand that no one should ever force themselves physically onto anyone else. If my son says “no” when I ask for a kiss, I respect his decision. I want him to do the same for the women he dates. I will teach my son that when a girl says “no,” It means NO. Always. No exceptions. It doesn’t mean “maybe,” or “ask again later.” It means NO. I want my son to grow up feeling that his physical boundaries are being respected so that he can truly appreciate when a woman tells him “no” too.

How to treat girls with respect

With the hope of offering some helpful tips to young men on respecting girls, we interviewed several moms and dads, teenage and college age boys and girls who we consider to be wise and prudent in this matter.

Tips for Teenage Boys on Respecting Girls
These tips are useful both in and out of dating relationships both in high school and college. We do not recommend having serious dating relationships in high school. In general it is better to stick to larger groups and any relationship should be paced, chaste, respectful, non-exclusive, and public.

1. Be sincere (don’t try to be somebody you are not…girls see right through this. You are much better off just being yourself)

2. Don’t brag, talk too much about yourself, or speak poorly of others

3. ­Be kind to EVERYONE. (A girl judges whether you’re a good guy not just by how you treat your buddies or herself, but ALL people: the janitors at school, waiters, kids you’re not necessarily friends with, etc.)

4. Be respectful of the rules imposed by a girl’s parents. Every family has different guidelines with respect to movies they’re allowed to watch, parties they’re allowed to attend, curfews, etc. Don’t criticize, make fun of or even worse encourage her to break them, no matter how much you want to spend time with her.

5. When you go up to talk to a girl, make a point to say hello and talk to her friends as well

6. Don’t expect a girl to hang out with you and ten of your buddies. This can be very uncomfortable for a girl. Ask her to bring a few of her girlfriends along as well or don’t insist that she come over to watch a football game if it will be all guys.

7. Be very selective in the movies you take girls to see. Inappropriate content makes a girl feel very uncomfortable and it is simply not considerate to put her in that position.

8. Be a good listener. Ask questions and allow the girl to talk (don’t dominate the conversation). When a girl has a problem, she needs to talk about it. She is looking for empathy (NOT sympathy) and not necessarily a solution. If she asks for advice give it to her (and give it some thought).

9. Give special attention to etiquette and chivalry:
a. Stand up when she stands up from the table, and stand up when she returns to help her with her chair
b. Hold doors for the girl, especially car doors
c. Give the girl the seat of preference and offer her a seat if there are none readily available
d. Walk a girl to her car if she is driving alone
e. Check on the girl to make sure she gets home safely
f. Come to the door when picking a girl up and meet the parents and come to the door when you drop her off as well
g. Stay out of other girls’ bedrooms and don’t bring them into yours
h. Keep eye contact (if you can’t look her in the eye, look away, not anywhere else)
i. Walk on the outside of the sidewalk (the guy is the protector)
j. Don’t cut off conversation for a social text or call
k. A guy should be the one initiating contact (phone calls, etc.)
l. Give preference to calling over texting and always take care of important business face-to-face
m. Respect girls online and via text the same way you would face-to-face

10. Most importantly, treat a girl with RESPECT. She is not an object, but one of God’s beautiful creatures. Dating and friendship are for getting to know the person rather than for physical intimacy. Girls are created in God’s image the same as guys. If you always try to see a girl the way God does, you won’t ever have a problem treating her with respect.

Before my son was born, I didn’t think it was my problem to raise good men. I’d been working with raped and battered women as a women’s rights advocate for many years, and had seen my share of sexist atrocities by men-gone-wrong. My aim was to get justice for women – even though I always understood that the only solution is to prevent the violence in the first place. But until such time as women and men have financial, social, economic and political equality, how could this be possible?

I always imagined that men become assholes because either a) men have the asshole gene and there’s nothing we can do about that or b) they were raised by asshole fathers or weak mothers who themselves had assholes for fathers.

But when my son was born, I became afraid that no matter what we did as his parents, somehow he’d get infected with the virus of sexism ‘out there’ and become one of those men I’d been working all my life to protect women from. I also didn’t want to become one of those domineering mothers who emasculates their sons for loud, aggressive testosterone-driven behaviour. Boys and girls are – despite all the politically correct notions to the contrary – different in ways it is disingenuous to ignore.

Here are some of my thoughts about how we can potentially raise boys who respect girls and women:

1. Surround our kids with good men: boys who have dads (step-dads or other mentors) who are not assholes have a much better chance of not being assholes themselves. So the way a boy sees his father treating his mother, wife and daughters will have the hugest lasting impact on how a boy works this one out.

A while back I was chatting to a woman who confided that her teenage sons make sexist and misogynist comments all the time. She was confounded and deeply upset by this. ‘They just don’t respect me,’ she said miserably.

I made some suggestions about ‘laying down rules’ and ‘invoking consequences for rude behaviour,’ but she shrugged weakly and said, ‘They’ll just laugh at me.’

‘What does your husband say about this? Why doesn’t he step in and let them know that it’s not okay to disrespect women?’ I asked.

‘Where do you think they learn it from?’ she asked helplessly.
Our kids become what we are, not what we say. Lecturing and teaching them doesn’t work. They learn from us by watching what we do.

2. Kids believe what their mothers say: as mothers, our job is to love and respect ourselves and other women. Our kids listen to how we talk about our own bodies and how we speak about other women and girls. Our self-loathing and gendered criticism trickles into our sons (and daughters) and is powerfully undermining of building respect.

3. Sex talk: our kids imbibe sexual attitudes – not only from mainstream culture – but also through the subtleties of how comfortable we are with our own sexuality. If we talk about sex as something natural and mutual; if we discuss what is both interesting and disturbing about pornography, our kids will take those attitudes with them when they’re exposed to it.

4. Make it about ‘people’: sometimes we have to talk about gender differences (like the fact that girls are the ones who fall pregnant, and are likely to be physically weaker than boys when it comes to gender violence), but in many instances, respect is about ‘respecting people,’ irrespective of their gender. If we role model compassion, non-judgement and kindness to everyone, that’s the message that sinks into our kids.

The 7 Day Writing Challenge

WINGS: Words Inspire, Nourish and Grow the Spirit

5. Speak up: some stuff is just unacceptable. If we fail to call people on sexist remarks or jokes (whether made by men, women, girls or boys) our kids learn that silence. They learn how to shut up instead of speak up. Watching us, our kids learn what is tolerable and what is not. Sometimes we have to shout ‘NO!’ At other times, we can speak up gently, compassionately and without humiliating the person. Sometimes all that’s needed is a: ‘That remark really made me uncomfortable, perhaps you didn’t intend it, but that was the effect.’ We’re all learning how to make sense of a world of confusing and contradictory gender roles. We all make mistakes. We’re all learning how to be better people.

6. Teach your kids the ‘f’-word: ‘feminists’ are not a cult of rabid anti-men lesbians. Being ‘feminist’ simply means that we’re politicized, that we know we live in a world of social, economic and political inequality. Our boys and girls can learn to say they are proudly ‘feminist’ because they believe men and women should be treated equally (which is not to say that gender differences should be ignored – in certain instances affirmative action might be an important reparative step in achieving that equality).

7. Laugh: there is so much to get angry about in our modern world that we need a sense of humour to survive it all. Laughter is the best way to build resilience. Life is serious, but we don’t need to take ourselves too seriously. We can laugh at ourselves – with all our mistakes, foibles, imperfections and failures, and in so doing, our kids learn to do the same.

Published on the Happy Parenting blog, 2015

How to treat girls with respect

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

Men know a lot but when it comes to winning a woman’s heart, most of them are clueless. In fact, many don’t know how to treat a woman with respect. Starting a relationship is easy but if the relationship has to last longer, men must win the heart of the woman. Winning is impossible when a man doesn’t know how to treat a girl with respect.

Most of the men who lack sensitivity tend to misbehave with their women and later on they lament about their broken relationships. But if they can manage to learn the ropes, they can open up to a whole new world in their relationships. So, if you want to know how to treat a woman with respect, go through the following points.

Ways to treat a woman with respect

How to treat girls with respect

Pay attention to what she says
Most of the men are used to taking one-sided decisions without even considering the opinions of the partner. This doesn’t go well with women. A man will be respected only when he knows how to treat a girl with respect. So, if you want to be respected by your girl, simply pay attention to what she says. There is nothing wrong in being a good listener sometimes.

How to treat girls with respect

Respect her taste
Let us admit it: women tend to have better tastes. Treat your girl with respect. As men, we are not so good at deciding which place to shop or what to buy for the coming Christmas. In such situations, we must just take the back seat and let the wise woman take all of our decisions. Rest assured; things will be better when they choose things for us. You must just treat your woman with respect to get the finer things of life.

How to treat girls with respect

Let her take the lead
Women are good managers. A wiser thing to do is let them manage certain things. Let them take the lead. You will never regret if you let the woman meticulously implement certain plans. Women are more organised than us in certain ways.

How to treat girls with respect

Respect her ideas
A woman feels so happy when her ideas are respected. Give her this incentive and in return you can get her love. Start trying to value her ideas and see how her eyes light up when she discusses her thoughts with you. If you try to be authoritative, you will never be able to see her romantic side for eternity.

How to treat girls with respect

Respect her people
A woman’s world revolves much around her family, pets and friends. If you wish to love your woman, you must also get ready to love her entire family and friends. Even if you don’t love them, never insult them in front of her. You will score brownie points when you really show affection towards her people. Know how to treat a woman with respect and your job is done.

Before my son was born, I didn’t think it was my problem to raise good men. I’d been working with raped and battered women as a women’s rights advocate for many years, and had seen my share of sexist atrocities by men-gone-wrong. My aim was to get justice for women – even though I always understood that the only solution is to prevent the violence in the first place. But until such time as women and men have financial, social, economic and political equality, how could this be possible?

I always imagined that men become assholes because either a) men have the asshole gene and there’s nothing we can do about that or b) they were raised by asshole fathers or weak mothers who themselves had assholes for fathers.

But when my son was born, I became afraid that no matter what we did as his parents, somehow he’d get infected with the virus of sexism ‘out there’ and become one of those men I’d been working all my life to protect women from. I also didn’t want to become one of those domineering mothers who emasculates their sons for loud, aggressive testosterone-driven behaviour. Boys and girls are – despite all the politically correct notions to the contrary – different in ways it is disingenuous to ignore.

Here are some of my thoughts about how we can potentially raise boys who respect girls and women:

1. Surround our kids with good men: boys who have dads (step-dads or other mentors) who are not assholes have a much better chance of not being assholes themselves. So the way a boy sees his father treating his mother, wife and daughters will have the hugest lasting impact on how a boy works this one out.

A while back I was chatting to a woman who confided that her teenage sons make sexist and misogynist comments all the time. She was confounded and deeply upset by this. ‘They just don’t respect me,’ she said miserably.

I made some suggestions about ‘laying down rules’ and ‘invoking consequences for rude behaviour,’ but she shrugged weakly and said, ‘They’ll just laugh at me.’

‘What does your husband say about this? Why doesn’t he step in and let them know that it’s not okay to disrespect women?’ I asked.

‘Where do you think they learn it from?’ she asked helplessly.
Our kids become what we are, not what we say. Lecturing and teaching them doesn’t work. They learn from us by watching what we do.

2. Kids believe what their mothers say: as mothers, our job is to love and respect ourselves and other women. Our kids listen to how we talk about our own bodies and how we speak about other women and girls. Our self-loathing and gendered criticism trickles into our sons (and daughters) and is powerfully undermining of building respect.

3. Sex talk: our kids imbibe sexual attitudes – not only from mainstream culture – but also through the subtleties of how comfortable we are with our own sexuality. If we talk about sex as something natural and mutual; if we discuss what is both interesting and disturbing about pornography, our kids will take those attitudes with them when they’re exposed to it.

4. Make it about ‘people’: sometimes we have to talk about gender differences (like the fact that girls are the ones who fall pregnant, and are likely to be physically weaker than boys when it comes to gender violence), but in many instances, respect is about ‘respecting people,’ irrespective of their gender. If we role model compassion, non-judgement and kindness to everyone, that’s the message that sinks into our kids.

The 7 Day Writing Challenge

WINGS: Words Inspire, Nourish and Grow the Spirit

5. Speak up: some stuff is just unacceptable. If we fail to call people on sexist remarks or jokes (whether made by men, women, girls or boys) our kids learn that silence. They learn how to shut up instead of speak up. Watching us, our kids learn what is tolerable and what is not. Sometimes we have to shout ‘NO!’ At other times, we can speak up gently, compassionately and without humiliating the person. Sometimes all that’s needed is a: ‘That remark really made me uncomfortable, perhaps you didn’t intend it, but that was the effect.’ We’re all learning how to make sense of a world of confusing and contradictory gender roles. We all make mistakes. We’re all learning how to be better people.

6. Teach your kids the ‘f’-word: ‘feminists’ are not a cult of rabid anti-men lesbians. Being ‘feminist’ simply means that we’re politicized, that we know we live in a world of social, economic and political inequality. Our boys and girls can learn to say they are proudly ‘feminist’ because they believe men and women should be treated equally (which is not to say that gender differences should be ignored – in certain instances affirmative action might be an important reparative step in achieving that equality).

7. Laugh: there is so much to get angry about in our modern world that we need a sense of humour to survive it all. Laughter is the best way to build resilience. Life is serious, but we don’t need to take ourselves too seriously. We can laugh at ourselves – with all our mistakes, foibles, imperfections and failures, and in so doing, our kids learn to do the same.

Published on the Happy Parenting blog, 2015

How to treat girls with respect

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

My son is at the age when girls and boys start “liking” each other. And even though he’s not the heartbreaker type (I think he’s cute and charming, of course, but not boy band material), I want him to know how to treat girls when those girl/boy interactions begin.

First and foremost, I want him to be nice to all of the girls, not just the ones the boys think are “it.” I want him to treat girls the way I hope they will treat him – with kindness and respect.

Here are the 6 Things I Will Teach My Son about How to Treat Girls.

1. Girls are people too.

While I know that my son realizes that boys and girls are, obviously, different, I also want him to realize that girls and boys share similar feelings – they get scared, they feel shy, they get their feelings hurt. I want him to always try to put himself in their shoes when it comes to thinking about how his actions and words will affect them.

2. Be the gentleman.

Gentlemen stand out. Gentlemen are appreciated. Gentlemen are men with good manners. So if my son reaches a doorway at the same instant a girl does, he needs to step back and let her go first. If a girl drops something, he needs to pick it up for her. Even when he’s surrounded by his buddies, he needs to be a gentleman. (If you want your son to be a gentleman too, check out these 5 ways to raise a gentleman.)

Gentlemen stand out. Gentlemen are appreciated. Gentlemen are men with good manners.

3. Say no kindly.

Unrequited love hurts – even when you’re 12. I want my son to know that if a girl likes him and he’s aware of it and does not wish to return the sentiment, he needs to be kind. If a girl asks him directly if he likes her, he can say yes or no (even if it’s in a check the “yes” box if you like me, check the “no” box if you don’t note) with kindness. As much as the line “I like you as a friend” hurts, it does cut to the chase.

4. Say no firmly.

I also want my son to say no firmly when it’s called for. If a girl starts being too forceful or intrusive with her affections, he can let her know in a firm way. “Beth, I like you as a friend and that’s all. I think we should leave it at that.”

5. Be prepared.

When my son lays his heart on the line, he needs to be prepared for rejection. I want him to know that that’s a part of romantic life. Having said that though, I want him to be brave if he feels like he does want to let a girl know that he likes her – because where there is no risk, there is no reward.

6. It’s okay to sit it out.

We never tease our children about romantic things. No “so who’s your girlfriend?” asked in a teasing way. We don’t want them to feel pressure to join the boy/girl “she likes you” dance. There is plenty of time in life for romance. In fact, we hope our son will enjoy hanging out with his buddies, rather than getting caught up in having a girlfriend. If you’re unsure about your take on this, take a look at the pros and cons of middle school romance.