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International Day Of The Boy Child: The Case For Equally Nurturing Both Boy And Girl Children, By Bright Okuta




International Day Of The Boy Child: The Case For Equally Nurturing Both Boy And Girl Children, By Bright Okuta

It is not difficult to understand why there are thousands of initiatives to empower and protect the girl child.

This effort to educate, groom, nurture, and shelter young girls is important in breaking barriers to their success and their well-being when they grow up. Yet, within this effort, a good number of equally vital elements tend to be pushed to the backburner: the grooming and character shaping of boy children.

The boy child has long been neglected in proper nurturing, attention and care by the society, civil society organizations and even parents. They do little or nothing to raise awareness about the challenges faced by boys.

Societal vices, domestic abuse, and fraud, most of which are carried out by boys, have been greatly propelled by society in Nigeria and most countries. The view often displayed is that young boys are resilient or less vulnerable and, hence, do not need the same level of grooming and protection young girls need. The adverse impact of this is that the boys eventually grow up to become bad fathers, husbands, and menace to the society.


Consider an example of a Nigerian father with sons and daughters who inadvertently perpetuates stereotypes by being more focused on raising his daughters. He is protective of his daughters, knowing every time they move out of the house and warning them against all the dangers lurking around. But he does not do the same for his boys.

The boy children get the freedom to frolic with unhealthy companions who introduce them to criminal activities like theft, robbery, cultism, gang violence, rape, use of hard drugs, yahoo fraud, and even ritual. Between 2021 and 2023, there was an incredible rise in money rituals by teenage boys in Nigeria.
This unbalanced practice unconsciously sustains harmful bias and societal imbalances in Nigeria.

Equity in the development of both genders can only be possible when they are equally nurtured and given a chance to grow and flourish. There are a plethora of reasons why boy children should be equally groomed. The first is to address the root cause of social vices. Making conscious efforts to address the root causes through comprehensive education and awareness campaigns for both genders.


The second reason is to promote gender equality.

The third is to break the cycle of toxic masculinity. By inculcating values such as empathy, respect, and accountability in young boys, I strongly believe society can break the cycle of toxic masculinity at the tender age of the boy child. Encouraging the expression of emotions and teaching healthy ways of coping helps the boy child to be able to cope with life challenges without aggressive behaviours.

The fourth is the empowerment of boys as agents of change. A boy child has a lot of potential to become a change agent in their communities and beyond. When taught the core values of life, society can empower a boy to channel his energy and aspirations into constructive enterprises that add value to society.


There is also the need for positive role models. Providing boy children with positive role models that depict integrity, compassion, and ethical conduct impacts them greatly during their developmental stages. Mentorship programs and projects that expose boys to successful and upright men and women widen their thinking and can inspire them to excel in every facet of their lives.

Societies have to rise above mere tradition and embrace the evolving, broad-based, and multidimensional concept of nurturing children to not only have a generation able to realize their full potential but also to be committed to creating a just society.

It is time to redefine gender equality by recognizing the worth and dignity of every child.