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Son tells mom that he's 'scared of her' and she responds with a great lesson in parenting

'I know this might be a little shocking but I do sometimes actually find you a little scary.'

Raisingself TikTok screenshots

Son tells mom that he's scared of her and the exchange is parenting goals.

Parenting is a hard gig regardless of whether you planned to have children or they were a happy surprise. As many parenting books as there are out there, none of them have the perfect equation to get it right and most parents do the best with what they learned, or unlearned, from their own parents.

Samantha, a parenting content creator on TikTok under the name Raising Self, has been working hard to overcome generational trauma and parent her children differently. Recently she was doing a live video to interact with her followers when one of her children made a stunning revelation: he was scared of her.

You could tell by her expression that his confession was a surprise, and though her son barely took his eyes off the video game he was playing, the two had a very meaningful dialogue. Instead of being upset or even happy that her child was fearful, she responded with curiosity.


Some people believe that children should be fearful of their parents in order to respect them, but the exchange Samantha had with her son turned that thought process on its head. He started off the conversation by saying, "I know this might be a little shocking but I do sometimes actually find you a little scary." When Samantha probed him a little she found that what's causing him to be fearful is when her "grandma instincts come out," referring to a generational pattern that his mother has been trying hard not to repeat.

Samantha didn't hesitate with her response: "Yeah, I did not know that. I'm sorry that you're experiencing that." She continued, "When it's happening, please call it out. Cause that allows me to understand what behaviors I'm not doing a good job mitigating." Even though she was shocked, the conversation didn't end there. It's a beautiful exchange that can guide other parents on how to navigate these types of conversations.

Watch the entire conversation below:


This article originally appeared on 12.21.22

Photo by saeed karimi on Unsplash

The scenarios of parenting have many hurdles in order to offer a healthy way of approaching life.

The second week of first grade, my 6-year-old son came home and told me, very seriously, "Mama, I have a girlfriend, and I love her."

I didn't laugh at him or tell him he is too young to have a girlfriend, and I didn't minimize his feelings. We had a very serious conversation about his girlfriend: what he likes about her, what they talk about at lunch, and what games they play on the playground at recess. I asked questions about her; some he knew the answers to, and some he didn't.

Nearly every day after that for some time, we talked about his girlfriend, and in every conversation, in some way, we talked about consent — what it means, what it looks like, and how I expect him to act.


I didn't objectify the little girl by referring to her as "your little girlfriend" as I've heard other adults tease their own children. I didn't make jokes about him being a heartbreaker or tell him that the girls will be falling all over him by high school. I didn't tell him his feelings don't matter — and I definitely didn't tell him her feelings don't matter. I think the seeds of misogyny are planted with words as much as behavior, and I treated his emotions seriously because, for him, being in love for the first time is the most serious thing in the world. He will remember this little girl just as I remember my first boyfriend, and how I handle things now is setting the tone for the future.

I wasn't expecting to have these conversations in the context of a relationship quite so soon.

His older brother is more introverted, with the exception of the occasional fleeting crush. But I have been talking about consent and modeling it since my sons were babies.

The idea that young men need to learn about consent in high school or college goes hand-in-hand with the idea that sex education shouldn't be taught before then, either. Consent is an ongoing conversation in our home, framed to suit the situation. But now that my son has a girlfriend, I'm finding ways to introduce the concept of consent within a relationship on a level that he can understand.

From the time my sons were very little — before they could even talk — I started teaching them about body autonomy and consent.

"Do you want me to tickle you?" "Can I pick you up?" "Do you want me to brush your hair?"

I would ask whenever I could, waiting for their response before proceeding. Yes, of course, there are times when a young child needs to be picked up or hair needs to be brushed whether they want it or not, but there are just as many times when children can be given — and deserve — the right to choose. And so I let them decide whenever I can.

Teaching them that no one can touch them without permission was the first step in teaching them about respecting the boundaries of others.

I model the respect I expect them to extend to others. It is an ongoing lesson, as the most important lessons always are.

Of course they fight — what siblings don't? But I teach them that, whatever the game or activity, if someone says "Stop!" or "No!" they are to stop what they are doing.

To that end, I try to stay out of their squabbles and give them time to sort them out. If they don't stop, there are consequences. We talk about how it feels to have someone keep chasing, tickling, or bothering you when you've told them to stop. I watch their empathy for others grow as they consider how it feels to be little and have grownups want to touch their faces or hug them without permission. They're learning, and it gives me hope.

But now I'm having daily conversations with my youngest son about girlfriends and what is — and isn't — OK.

He knows he has to ask if she wants a hug before he touches her. He knows that it's rude to refer to her as "my girlfriend" when talking about her and that it's better, and more respectful, to use her name.

He knows that if he gives her a gift, he should give her a chance to respond instead of inundating her with more gifts. "Let's wait and see how she feels about this lovely picture you made her before you draw another one," I tell him, explaining how overwhelming it can be to have someone give you gifts when you're not ready for them or haven't had a chance to return the affection. Of course, I'm thinking about the boy I knew my junior year of high school who would constantly leave me trinkets of his affection at my locker — affection that wasn't reciprocated and made me uncomfortable, especially after I asked him to stop.

I don't know if I'm doing this right, honestly.

There are times when I think to myself, "But he's only 6! Why are we even having this conversation?" And then I remind myself, "If not now, when?"

I know what it means to be a girl in this world, and my sons are starting to hear my #MeToo stories, the ones they're old enough to understand. How do I talk about what's wrong in the world if I'm not willing to talk about the right behaviors, the right way to treat women?

I know my sons have a good role model in their father and in our marriage. I know they watch how my husband interacts with me, and I see it reflected in how they treat me. It's a start, but I know it's not enough in a world that sends mixed messages to boys about girls and how to treat them.

It's been eye-opening, seeing how my children regard consent.

I've seen how those early lessons in teaching them about their own right to say no have gone a long way in teaching them the empathy and respect they show for others now.

I know we're not done; we're only just starting. I know it's only going to get more complicated as they get older.

But at the end of the day, no matter their age, the core lesson is the same: respect people, care about how they are feeling in your interactions with them, and remember that others have a right to feel differently than you do and to set boundaries for what is OK with them. The situations will change, but those words will be repeated again and again.

Teaching consent is not a one-time discussion. It's something I want my sons to think about every single day.

This story originally appeared on Ravishly and is reprinted here with permission. More from Ravishly:

    President Donald Trump makes a lot of big claims. It's kind of his thing.

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    But perhaps the most hyperbolically "WTF" phrase he's ever uttered was about women.


    GIF from ABC News/YouTube.

    Even if you were to set aside his history of misogynistic comments and the accusations of assault and harassment by a bevy of women throughout the years, we're to believe that nobody has more respect for women? Seems unlikely — on a purely statistical level.

    That's why gender justice group Promundo is calling on Trump to make good on his farfetched boast and "Be a Model Man."

    The group encourages men and boys to partner with women and girls in the fight for gender equality, working to defeat harmful gender norms and disrupt power dynamics that drive gender-based injustices worldwide.

    This week, the group posted an open letter to the president on its website.

    "During the campaign, you said, 'Nobody has more respect for women than I do,'" reads the letter. "Yet, you have said and done things that many people consider to be disrespectful. As men who believe manhood is not about disrespecting women, we call on you to make amends and to set a new tone."

    While directed at Trump, the letter serves as a call to action for men around the country to support the fight for gender equality.

    On January 21, just one day after Trump took office, millions participated in what was originally planned as the Women's March on Washington, with sister marches popping up around the world in solidarity.

    Standing up to the president, who was recorded on a hot mic saying, "When you’re a star, [women] let you do it. You can do anything. ... Grab ’em by the pussy," and once claimed that one of his sexual assault accusers "would not be [his] first choice," it's important to remember the culture that empowers men to say and do things like that in the first place.

    GIF from Bloomberg Politics/YouTube.

    The ongoing attacks against reproductive rights and changes to grants under the Violence Against Women Act are much more than "identity politics," as some would like to suggest.

    These issues, innately gendered as they are, are core to who we are as a country and who we want to be as a country. Promundo's open letter calls on the president to "champion the rights of all women." Even if he won't, you — and other men — can!

    It's simple, dudes, really. Set a good example, be your best self, use your voice and platform to advance causes of justice, and push back on unfair gendered power dynamics. Fighting for women's rights means taking a stand for women of all backgrounds, religions, financial situations, sexual orientations, and abilities. It means standing next to — and not in front of —women, using your privilege to make space for women and amplifying women's voices and experiences whenever possible.

    Whatever Trump does or doesn't do, remember that it's up to you to decide whether you want to #BeAModelMan.

    Chelsea Clinton was just 12 years old when her family moved into the White House.

    On Jan. 20, 1993, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton joined an exclusive club of "first kids" that included Amy Carter, Susan Ford, Luci Johnson, Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr., and a handful of others.

    It's hard to imagine what it must be like to grow up with the spotlight of the highest office in the land fixated on you, but for a select group of presidential children, that's life, and it's not always easy.


    The first family waves to the crowd at President Bill Clinton's first inaugural in 1993. Photo by Tim Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

    With a new member entering the exclusive club last week, the former first daughter shared an important request with the public.

    On Friday, Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States. The real estate tycoon-turned-leader of the free world has five children: Donald Jr. (39), Ivanka (35), Eric (33), Tiffany (23), and Barron (10). And it's fellow White House tween, Barron, that Clinton's advice concerns.

    Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does-to be a kid. Standing up for every kid also means opposing POTUS policies that hurt kids.

    Posted by Chelsea Clinton on Sunday, January 22, 2017

    Even if you disagree with a president's actions, words, or policies, there's no reason to take it out on a child.

    Just days after her father was elected in 1992, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh attacked Clinton on his somewhat short-lived TV show, comparing her to Millie, the outgoing White House dog.

    In 2014, Elizabeth Lauten, then-communications director for Rep. Stephen Lee Fincher (R-Tennessee), took a swipe at Malia and Sasha Obama (ages 16 and 13, respectively) for their appearance during the White House turkey pardoning ceremony. "I get you're both in those awful teen years, but you're a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. ... Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at the bar."

    President Obama (R) stands with his daughters Sasha (L) and Malia during the White House turkey pardoning ceremony in 2014. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

    Those attacks were wrong when they were directed at the children of Democrats, and they're just as wrong when they're directed at the children of Republicans — like Barron Trump.

    On Friday, SNL writer Katie Rich tweeted (and quickly deleted) a joke about the youngest Trump, writing, "Barron will be this country's first homeschool shooter."

    In November, Donald Trump's longtime nemesis Rosie O'Donnell tweeted a message suggesting that Barron was autistic: "Barron Trump autistic?" she wrote. "If so — what an amazing opportunity to bring attention to the AUTISM epidemic." Days later, after much criticism, O'Donnell issued an apology to Barron's mother, first lady Melania Trump.

    Barron and Donald Trump appear together at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

    This goes beyond slogans like Michelle Obama's "When they go low, we go high." This isn't about "winning" elections or losing. It's about treating others how you'd like to be treated.

    Barron didn't choose to be born into the Trump family any more than each of us chose to be born into our families. In many ways, to be sure, he lives a charmed life — riches beyond most of our wildest imaginations and the son of one of the most powerful people in the world. But he's not responsible for the type of campaign his dad ran or the types of policies that will be implemented under his dad's watch.

    Not only is it wrong to attack an innocent child, but as Clinton's Facebook post suggests, we must not get distracted from what really matters: how Trump plans to run the country.

    There are many valid criticisms to be made about any politician — whether you're discussing Donald Trump, Barack Obama, or anyone else — but taking aim at their young children should not be among them.

    Barron Trump arrives at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2017. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.