10 Ways To Raise Your Son To Be A Gentleman

How to raise your son to be a gentleman
by Alia Fatin Binte Abdullah 2020-06-17 • 9 min read
Alia Abdullah is the editor-in-chief of Muslim.Sg. In 2021, she won the Exemplary Skillsfuture @ Public Service Award, a national award that recognises individuals who constantly upgrade their competencies. A law graduate and digital media specialist, Alia is an exceptional writer whose work has been featured in Young Women in Leadership Dialogue's (YWILD) Commemorative Book "Unprecedented - To the Beat of Her Own Drum” and on platforms such as Mvslim and The Muslim Vibe. Alia lived and worked in Saudi Arabia for 2 years. She is now based in Singapore.
2020-06-17 • 9 min read

As parents, we are responsible for raising our sons to be men who treat women with respect, love and dignity. Ustaz Mizi and Ustaz Irwan, who are young fathers, conducted an IG live session to share how fathers can nurture boys to be gentlemen

Nurturing sons to be gentlemen

Here are 10 main takeaways: 

1. Respect women

Teach son that gentleman respect women

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. lived in a time when women were treated like objects. If your husband passed away, others can just “chope” you as their property. 

When people treat women like objects, you’re regressing to a time of ignorance. Let us not compare women to objects. For example, let’s not say that women who don’t wear hijab are like uncovered sweets and that the ants will come.  

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. honoured women. As his followers, let’s teach our sons to honour and respect women like we are taught. 

2. The best of you is the best to your family

Teach son that gentleman is good to family

Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said, “The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best to my family.

Some women have admitted that their abusive husbands are leaders of organisations or have received big awards for their contributions to the community. It’s hard for them to speak up because people may doubt them and say, “How can it be?”

It starts at home. You could be really successful and respected outside. However, if you’re an oppressor at home, that’s what you are. You are only as good as what your family thinks of you. 

Strive to be the best to your family, especially your wife. A believing man should never belittle or degrade his wife. If there’s something that you’re unhappy about, have a proper conversation as mature adults. Seek and appreciate the many other good things about her. We are all humans.

Here are 3 ways Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. showed us how to treat our family.

3. Understand the impact of your words

Teach son that gentleman speak kind words

Words cut deeper than knives. Some husbands would jokingly say “ni baru satu boleh tambah tiga slot lagi” (joking that they can get married again). This kind of jokes are extremely hurtful and can make you feel like you’re easily replaced.

At the same time, we live in a society that tends to shame men for showing emotions. From a young age, boys are told, “You’re a boy! Don’t cry!” When these boys eventually grow up, they are scolded for not being able to empathise.  

We all need to reflect on the words that we say and hold ourselves accountable with self-compassion. Only then can we grow as people.

4. Lead by example

Teach son that gentleman respect others and treat people with dignity

Our children are like sponges. They absorb everything they hear and see. You want your son to be a gentleman? Lead by example. When you do reprehensible acts towards your wife, you are teaching your son that it’s okay. Do you always fight and scream? Hit each other? Use disrespectful labels? All these things are picked up and downloaded by their young minds. 

Daughters and sons will gravitate towards people who are just like you. Their subconscious minds are picking up what is normal to them. When she grows up, she will agree to be with a man who is like you. Your sons will also think this is how he should treat women. 

Find out how Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. treated his wives and showed his love.

5. Teach your sons to lower their gaze

Teach son that gentleman lower their gaze and don't stare at women

When Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was travelling on the road with his cousin, Al-Fadl ibn Abbas, a woman stopped to ask him a question. The woman was very beautiful and Al-Fadl could not help but stare at her. Seeing this, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, reached out and turned Al-Fadl’s face away. He didn’t tell the woman to cover her face. Instead, he averted his cousin’s stare. 

6. Let them cry

Teach son that gentleman cry

When boys cry, hug them, acknowledge their pain and talk to them. Help them to name their emotions and express feelings in a healthy way. Teach your child the difference between feelings and behaviour. Say things like, “It’s okay to feel upset but it’s not okay to hit.”

Here are 4 powerful stories in the Quran about the role of a father.

7. Share stories of inspiring women

Read stories of inspiring women with your son

On top of telling our sons stories of the prophets, tell them about the incredible women around them as well. Here are 4 things you should know about Aisyah r.a.

When they are growing up, make a conscious effort to expose them to amazing male and female role models. 

8. Teach them to empathise

Teach son that gentlemen have empathy

When people raise concerns, empathise and listen. If you immediately get mad or call others “emotional” or “crazy”, they will not feel safe to talk to you again. 

Consent is also very important. Some men think that their wives must be ready for sex, no matter what her condition is. For example, a woman confided that she had a miscarriage and was going through a tough period but her husband forced himself on her just 3 days after that. 

9. Do housework together

Teach son that gentleman do housework

Hisham said, “I asked ‘A’isha, ‘What did the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, do in his house?’ She replied, ‘He did what one of you would do in his house. He mended sandals and patched garments and sewed.”

Sons should not be made to think that household chores are only for women – mothers, sisters and eventually, wives. When men do housework, they are not helping women. They are doing their share of the load as caring family members living in the same house. Instead of saying “Let’s help Mama do housework”, say “let’s all do housework together”. 

Father teach your son to cook

10. Develop a critical mind

Teach son that gentlemen think critically

Encourage your son to develop a critical mind, especially in the consumption of media and culture. It is impossible to keep our children away from media and social media in this day and age. What we can do is to equip them with good values and the skills to evaluate every material they encounter.

You can start by watching shows or movies with them and asking them questions like “What do you think about what the character did? Is it okay to treat someone like that? Was there something you didn’t understand about the film? Do you agree or disagree with any parts of it? Why?” 

May Allah ease our parenting journey and make our children respectful people who are successful in this world and the hereafter. Amiin.

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