Teaching Boys Respect

"Eat your vegetables. Don't play with matches. Finish your homework. Respect women."

The above words are from a "Coaching Boys into Men" program poster.

Boys get a lot of messages about how to be strong. They hear them in music, on TV, and from friends. Too often, these messages tell boys that they have to be tough and in control. These messages harm youth by making abusive behaviors seem normal.

Boys need advice on how to treat girls. A boy may not come out and ask how to act or talk respectfully to girls. However, boys often imitate the men around them. There are many ways that men can model positive behavior for boys.

Men can show boys:

  • That abuse has no place in a relationship.
  • How to use respectful words in a disagreement.
  • How to consider a girl's feelings.

Men can also teach boys:

  • How to talk things out instead of scaring or hurting someone. 
  • Not to approve of sports figures who demean women.
  • Why song lyrics or jokes that put girls and women down are not OK.
  • How to speak up when someone is saying hurtful words to a girl.
  • About safe ways to help a girl who is being physically hurt.

It is important for boys to develop healthy relationships skills. Be sure the boys in your life know that treating all girls with respect matters.

Visit the "Coaching Boys into Men" website.
Teens who need help can call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline:

1-866-331-9474 (TTY 1-866-331-8453)

To learn the facts about and risks of teen dating abuse, go to: