How NOT to Raise a Boy to Respect Women, Himself, or Anybody – The Nikkole Pauluns of the World

A few days ago, a news story showed up on my Facebook feed, which was an “empowering” story about a proud mother who shared her experience in training her son to regularly take her, quote, “on a dinner date.” My mind immediately raised a red flag. Now, stories like this are nothing new, as the majority of people actively abuse, deprive, neglect, erase, and traumatize their children in thousands of ways, and it usually doesn’t even get identified as mistreatment of a child. But sometimes I am curious to see people’s responses to such things. So I took some time to investigate the story, and now I would like to share my brief thoughts on it.

So, a mother brags about how she is raising her son to “respect a woman,” and by that she means, quote, “how to treat a lady and how to take her on a proper date.” For some, it may be fairly obvious what is actually going on—but there still is a painfully huge number of people who believe that “a man should unilaterally cater to a woman,” “be a gentleman,” “protect her,” “do things for her,” etc.—so I feel inclined to expand.

Among other things, what the mother is confused about and what she is confusing her 6-year-old son with, is what “treated with respect” means. Just because he is a man and she is a woman—in other words, just because they have a different set of genitalia— does not mean he has an obligation to provide her with more value than he is getting. Some may argue that a woman’s presence and attention, is a value in itself. But then, if you want to be logical, objective, and consistent, you have to accept that the same applies to a man, too.

Now, a truly self-respecting woman—or any person—wouldn’t want for others to cater to her. As it would mean that she is less capable and worth less, which, sadly, is how way too many girls are raised to be and boys to behave. No person who actually values independence, equality, and maturity wants for others to provide for them, serve them, and treat them as a princess, a queen, or a king.

One may argue, “But isn’t it nice that a man opens a door for a woman or helps her when she’s in need?” Sure—but not as an imperative, and not because she’s a woman. I am a man. I quite often open doors for women and sometimes help them if they are in need. And I do the same for men (and other men and women do that for me). For old people. For young people. For children. In other words, my standard is that, all things being equal, I strive to treat everyone the same. I also don’t feel that it’s my duty to help others and give them my resources—because it isn’t. Helping others is an act of kindness and generosity, not of obligation. So if you apply the same to a more substantial relationship that an interaction between strangers, both parties eventually are expected to provide a more or less equal amount of value. Any other scenario indicates shades of interpersonal unhealthiness and inadequate self-esteem.

But going back to the story, you can’t look at this as an isolated, theoretical scenario only. The context is important. And the context is the boy’s mother. Now, what kind of person would act this way? Even without knowing anything about the person or seeing a picture of them, my knowledge of the human condition suggested that it is only a person who is shallow, careless, lost, confused, unprincipled, and narcissistic—all of which indicates they themselves were strongly traumatized as a child. So, let’s look at the mother.

Profile pictures on Facebook (click to see it bigger)

It’s Nikkole Paulun*, apparently a celebrity who is a single mother with a vivid history of careless and irresponsible behavior, bad priorities, and low self-esteem. Some may say, “So, what’s so bad about these pictures? She looks like a nice, beautiful, regular young lady.” Right. A “nice” lady who is carelessly breeding babies to meet her narcissistic needs. A “beautiful” lady who feels the need to have makeup on in every picture she takes and posts on Facebook for validation, approval, and narcissistic supply. A “regular” lady—actually this one may be true, because is quite common—who hates herself so much that she is almost exclusively concentrated on being attractive and sexually desirable, thereby she constantly meticulously alters her natural looks by changing her face (makeup, mascara), hair (dye, expensive haircuts, and other procedures), and nails (dye and polish), wears accessories (bracelets, earrings, uncomfortable shoes), and appeals to society’s false perception of value by regularly seeking public appraisal and attention. She’s strongly invested in being fake, both in her appearance, language, and behavior.

“No, you’re just being mean and over-analyzing things.” Okay then. Good luck, culture; stay the course, and congratulations on your success.

More pictures (click to see it bigger)

Also this: “I think nobody should really judge another person’s parenting… I guess because there’s so many people who are so negative, it’s made me a person where I don’t listen to anything negative anymore. I know who I am, I know what I do with my life. So when people try to bring me down and say all those mean things about me, I know it’s not true. I don’t let it get to me like a lot of other people do.” [source] In other words, nobody should estimate another person’s parenting and hold them accountable for their actions. Which is not unexpected coming from a person with a long history of a behavior she was not held responsible for and was routinely rewarded for. By the way, Nikkole, by saying that you are teaching your child to respect women you are judging parenting—yours and others’—as you are making an objective statement about the influence of such a parental treatment on a child. Unfortunately, the statement is incorrect.

By treating her child as she treats him, and by continuing to be who she is, Nikkole is teaching him the following:

1) A false understanding of what a healthy relationship between two mature, self-responsible adults looks like.
2) No understanding of what a healthy person looks like.
3) Low self-esteem and self-erasure.
4) Bad priorities and no objective principles.
5) To seek shallow, careless, unaccountable, narcissistic, delusional women.

Also, how about a possibility that maybe he’s not even interested in women at all, or in “taking them on dates”? Well, too bad, she’s teaching him that he should be and he is bad if he doesn’t. Although it is fairly obvious, but it’s worth explicitly saying that she doesn’t really care about him at all. Buying him expensive stuff, giving him money, spending time to do what you want for him to do doesn’t necessarily reflect genuine love or care.

You know what teaches respect? Treating a child with respect and consistently being a respectable person yourself. But that would require to be a healthy, principled, disciplined, mature adult—and most people are unwilling or incapable to have that as a standard.

In psychological terms, this behavior could be described as narcissistic parenting, or even as covert incest, as the following picture indicates.

A comparison (click to see it bigger)

It’s worth noticing the number of likes, shares, and “supportive” comments. She’s followed by 327,393 people, too. It’s just a reflection of our general culture. Congratulations on enabling, rewarding, and approving (self-)destructive behavior and child abuse.

*I usually tend not to mention a person’s name, but after I finished writing this article I found out that apparently she’s quite a celebrity, and her behavior is quite vile, so I don’t think it’s unfair. Some of you may know her, but I don’t have a TV nor do I follow pop culture, so I had no idea who she is. Also, she looks like so many other shallow, careless, unprincipled women (and people in general) I observe every day that she doesn’t have to be somebody famous for me to talk about it; it's my commentary on an archetype of such a person.

A follow-up post: "You're Judgemental and Bad" – A Response to Common Criticism

Support my work by becoming a Patreon subscriber for $5/mo or more and get access to bonus articles. And check out my book Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults. Thanks!


  1. This is a really insightful response, I totally agree with you. Her post is really disgusting. Trying to turn her six year old son into the boyfriend/husband that she wants, and imposing these shallow, outdated gender roles onto him. It isn't up to her what kind of people (perhaps not the opposite sex) he will one day want to have relationships with or how they will decide to negotiate their time spent together.

    She doesn't respect her son, and isn't modelling equal, healthy relationships for him either, but setting him up for ties where is solely used for someone else's romantic fantasies. This is absolutely narcissistic parenting. The only way to teach respect to children is by respecting them, and respecting yourself. When parents emotionally, physically, or sexually abuse their children, this sets them up for unhealthy patterns of behavior with other adults when they grow up; it's the same regardless of gender.

  2. She's a 16 and Pregnant MTV star by the way.

  3. Anonymous, yes, and it's another example of her using and exploiting her children (in this case, her at the time unborn child) to meet her narcissistic needs.

  4. Great analysis and breakdown of a very misleading meme.

  5. Just another self-objectified woman perpetuating the objectification of women.

  6. Good analysis. Respect for that Darius.


Post a Comment


Character Assassination—and How to Handle It

Empathy And Laughing At Others’ Misery

8 Reasons Why People Deny Childhood Trauma and Its Results