'Kids learn by example': Local mom of teen championing social issues shares her parenting secrets

"I do believe that debating goes a long way in teaching kids about the many issues that we face in the world today."
"I do believe that debating goes a long way in teaching kids about the many issues that we face in the world today."

The sad but true reality about life is that good things often emerge from the worst circumstances, and after the grim period of gender-based violent crimes dominating news headlines, Parent24 was happy to share two insightful and inspiring videos made by local teen boys.

The first being Cam. A learner at a boy's high school who put together a 10-minute video explaining rape culture and its role in the ongoing crisis of gender-based violence in South Africa. 

If you have already seen it, find it here: Local teen brilliantly explains what is wrong with South African society today

We reached out to Cam's mom, Alison Deary from Cape Town, to find out more about what inspired her son and what she had done right in raising an emotionally healthy boy. 

Here's what she told  us: 

How did the idea for the video come up?

With all the tragedies that were happening during Women's month, some being very close to home, there was a heightened awareness and many conversations around this topic.
One of Cam's teachers was explaining toxic masculinity and rape culture to the class, and Cam asked her if he could explain it to the boys.

One of the boys then went home and told his mom that he finally got it, after Cam had explained it in class.

The mom called me, feeling very emotional and grateful, and asked if he would mind recording his explanation so that she could share it with a few of her friends.

Cam got onto it immediately. It was really only intended for a couple of people to watch, but obviously, it got a few more views than we expected.

How do you feel about your son doing this?

Firstly, I am extremely proud of him. I didn't even fully understand rape culture until I watched the video myself.
After watching it the first time, part of me wanted to tell him not to post it because there are some brutal people out there on social media and, as a mom, I would do anything to protect my kids.
Within 5 minutes of posting, I saw how positively his circle of friends reacted, and I realized it absolutely had to be shared.
Sadly, after it became more widespread, there were a couple of very inappropriate comments that were posted – we decided to moderate comments on YouTube.

Did you raise your son to be aware of these kinds of social issues?

Not particularly, but if compassion and inclusion are invoked in kids from a young age, they are bound to naturally take an interest in social issues.

Cameron took an interest and a stand towards this specific topic a while ago already.

I do believe that debating goes a long way in teaching kids about the many issues that we face in the world today.

What are your tips for other parents raising their sons in a country where toxic masculinity and rape culture is so prevalent?

Kids learn by example. Juan and I try our best to be respectful, kind and compassionate towards everyone we come in contact with and on top of that, Juan has always treated me with the utmost of respect.

I don't think you need much more than that.

*Watch this space as we'll soon be featuring Thomas Turck, the father of Ethan who made the inspiring video, Calling all good guys.

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