What Kids Think About Emotions, Aggression, Stereotypes, and Consent


How to Raise a Boy is a weeklong series centered around this urgent question in the era of Parkland, President Trump, and #MeToo.

What does it mean to be a boy? If you ask them they’ll tell you, and their answers will be complex.

They’ll describe pressure to conform to stereotypes and the expectation to be tough. Many will say the woman they most admire is their mother. All will outline the differences they see in how girls and boys express emotion. And in describing these differences, they’ll betray precisely the type of vulnerability they feel they’re supposed to veil.

As adults, it’s easy to think we understand the societal pressures boys face. But when children reflect on the experience, the analysis takes on new weight. Recently, a group of New York kids, boys and girls, ages 6 to 14 shared their thoughts on masculine stereotypes, emotions, aggression, and a topic that’s consumed the public — consent. Here’s what they had to say.

On Emotions

On Stereotypes

On Aggression and Sports

On Consent

What Kids Think About Emotions, Stereotypes, and Consent