To pray that smug mothers of little girls are ...

(301 Posts)
ReallyTired Sun 28-Jul-13 23:22:34

....sent a beautiful bouncing baby boy torando as their second child.

Those of us with two children realise that nature has a huge affect on a child's personality and ablity to behave.

I have two children and both of them are lovely now. However my son was permamently on the move as a two year old and we used to call him captain chaos. He was the sort of kid who would be into every cupboard, had the wooden spoon in the baby olympics or baby ivory league. (ie he had no desire to read Pride and Prejudice at the age of 2)

My daughter has a very different temperment. She is far more compliant, loves drawing jigsaws and isn't a muck magnet. I am sure that if she had been my first I would have been unbearably smug.

Boys take longer to grow up and my son at the age of eleven is lovely most of the time. He is still a muck magnet, but he has plenty of friends and doing well at school.

NotYoMomma Sun 28-Jul-13 23:25:23


thebody Sun 28-Jul-13 23:25:25

not sure what you mean to be honest. I have 2 girls and 2 boys and all are individuals.

ChippingInHopHopHop Sun 28-Jul-13 23:25:34

Perhaphs going to bed would help.

Aspiemum2 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:26:18

Yabu! That is your experience of your own children.
I have 2 of each, the youngest being b/g twins and I can honestly say they're all little shits they all have their moments!

My boy's are mummy's boys though and infinitely easier than hormonal preteen girls!

Wuldric Sun 28-Jul-13 23:28:05

What is this thread about? It makes no sense.

NotYoMomma Sun 28-Jul-13 23:28:38

I have dd2 due atm and she will be who she will be. Its a bit off to wish people to have a harder time of it - and odd, as if boys are all the same

Aspiemum2 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:28:40

Oh and it's my older dd who collects slugs and snails in old takeaway pots and my younger dd who rugby tackles her twin to the ground - he's a total softie smile

ImNotBloody14 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:29:04

My ds1 was a doddle until he hit 4. Ds2 was a nightmare til he hit 4. Both boys- thats where the similarity ends

By your definition then dd1 is a boy and ds is a girl. Ds is my reward for all the disruption of the girls. They are all fab now.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 28-Jul-13 23:29:39

Boys and girls are so different I have 2 DDs and one older DS they like completely different things! I don't like it when people are shocked when boys are more lively and want to climb on sheds my DS would live on a shed roof my DD have no desire too and he is the funniest person in the world while his sister can't understand a joke at all.

McNewPants2013 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:30:34

My ds is my first and has autism and he is hard work, but I went on to have DD ( no SN)

After her I wouldn't have any more, she is hard work. She cries all the time and is so demanding. She is 4 btw.

What a silly thread. I have three girls. They are all a delight and a challenge - like all children. You don't sound like you enjoyed your son's babyhood very much. i hope that's a mistaken impression.

Monty27 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:31:29

OP Why?

sweetiepie1979 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:31:32

I'm not getting your point OP.....

LieweHeksie Sun 28-Jul-13 23:31:37

OMG! Mine were exactly like this. I now exactly what you mean...

... except that both my children are boys.

mynameisslimshady Sun 28-Jul-13 23:31:55

Yab ridiculous.

Your experiences with your own children are just that.

Tweasels Sun 28-Jul-13 23:32:05

My DD is the whirlwind, DS is quiet and calm.

It's not a gender difference is just being different people.

And - who are these smug mothers of girls? Is this another thing that only happens in mumsnet world and not in real life?

5madthings Sun 28-Jul-13 23:32:18

Yabu children are individuals regardless of gender.

My ds1 was very easy going and laid back. My gran always said he was a very 'biddable child'... I didn't know what she meant......then I had ds2!

Ds3 and ds4 are somewhere in between and dd is quite like ds2. They are all different and loveable and all have their difficult moments!

Capitola Sun 28-Jul-13 23:32:51

I have 2 boys - both placid and easy going. I don't think gender dictates temperament.

BlackeyedSusan Sun 28-Jul-13 23:33:04

ahhh really tired has a friend with one girl, who is well behaved (like dd, <preens>) yet she, RT, has two children, one of whom is a boy and ermm a little active... (like ds, grin )

mother of girl is smug and looks down nose at small tornado boy and thinks she is superior because she has a calm girl. however, you earrn you parenting stripes parenting the more difficult phases. ignores room that looks like a tornado has blown though

oh well op, wait til teenage hood and all those hormones. she might be eating her words...

the body, that is exactly it. except really tired has come across another parent who thinks it is all smug parents doing that her child is calm. she had a role in it, but so does personality of the child in question.

LilacPeony Sun 28-Jul-13 23:33:26

You seem to be making huge generalisations about what boys and girls are like.

HopHopHopSkip Sun 28-Jul-13 23:33:55

YAB a bit U, though I'm saying that as the mum of a very "demanding" DD.

I have to admit in general the boys I know seem to be harder work in the mess/bouncing off the walls/rudeness as toddlers than the girls, though I can think of some that are the other way around.
So I would say I can see why you'd say of girls, but I would change it to the smug mums of easy children to have harder children next time (only the smug ones!! grin )

CeliaLytton Sun 28-Jul-13 23:34:07


LuisSuarezTeeth Sun 28-Jul-13 23:34:08

Are you religious then OP?

Who has lit your wick today in particular?

squoosh Sun 28-Jul-13 23:34:09

Another baby boy v baby girl thread.

BreasticlesNTesticles Sun 28-Jul-13 23:34:11

I have 2 girls who are neither placid or easy going. Can we swap Capitola?

HopHopHopSkip Sun 28-Jul-13 23:35:17

(by rudeness, I mean cheekiness/tantrums, rudeness was a strange way to word it - think I need some sleep!)

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sun 28-Jul-13 23:35:21

I have both and I don't know what you're talking about. Of course nature has an effect but 'those of us with 4 2 children' realise that gender doesn't. I bet ds1 read for six hours today. (not P&P, he's in a Noel Streatfeild phase). dd2 lost a shoe in a tree. It got stuck so she took it off and left it.

I lovelovelove "ivory league".

CtR, mother of 3 gungho girls and a rusk averse boy.

Has someone insulted your dc? I'm not sure what your op means.

Risk, ffs.

He lives rusks.


thebody Sun 28-Jul-13 23:36:55

op if you have a smug parenting friend that is inspiring this thread just ignore the daft mare.

Risk, ffs.

He loves rusks.


Tweasels Sun 28-Jul-13 23:38:20

Chaos grin

May I be the first to say YANBU? Dd has always been harder work than Ds but as a toddler she definitely had that serene thing going on and friends who had boys used to say, 'You wait! You just wait!' Then we had Ds, who is remarkably self-controlled and not your 'text book fractional' boy, but he is more physical, more outdoorsy and, no, he could never exude serenity the way dd did.

All of the above is purely my experience and the op's comments chimed with that. Quite happy, though, to accept that other families have different experiences, so perhaps I should modify my reply to, 'Yanbu in my experience, but who's to say?'

DumSpiroSpero Sun 28-Jul-13 23:40:33

I'm sure all the smug mothers of girls on MN who didn't have the option of a second child - be it a boy or girl - will be thrilled with your assessment OP.

angry hmm biscuit

Salmotrutta Sun 28-Jul-13 23:41:37

That's nice OP.

I didnt realise any of that until you pointed it out.

Salmotrutta Sun 28-Jul-13 23:42:32

I love rusks too.

And risks.

It's all good.

Rusks are nice to smoosh and nibble. Like a macaroon bar. Yum.

intheshed Sun 28-Jul-13 23:46:41

OH FGS What's with all the mother-of-girls bashing on here lately???? I have girls, I am not smug.

<considers starting a thread about paranoid and defensive mothers of boys...>

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Sun 28-Jul-13 23:47:55

I guess you are ReallyTired ReallyPissed op? hmm

Secretswitch Sun 28-Jul-13 23:48:21

YABU. I have a 5 year old dd. she could make a nun curse. She has an unfortunate predilection for puddles and often rubs mud in her hair. She ran by me earlier this evening shrieking "BOOYAKAHJAH!" and whacked me with kitchen roll her sword..
I am having kittens in my next life..

MCos Sun 28-Jul-13 23:49:38

My DD1 was oh so calm and easy until she hit 10. That's ancient history this past year! and will continue for next 5 or so years...

DD2 is just 22 months behind her. I wouldn't change her for a boy for anything! But I think teenage years with 2 DDs will balance out all the 'easy' baby/toddler years I had!

5madthings Sun 28-Jul-13 23:50:16

intheshed I think everyone on the thread has disagreed with the op smile

Kids are who they are, unfortunately the socialization of gender roles still plays a large part in influencing them as they get older, but they are who they are with their own personalities. My dd is just as lively as my four boys, in fact more lively than some if them.

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

thebody Sun 28-Jul-13 23:51:20

secret, love the sound of your kick ass dd.

jacks365 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:53:00

Dd4 at 21 months is a muck magnet, full of energy and believes sitting and playing nicely is pointless when she can run around instead or try to dismantle everything. No interest in dolls she'd rather play with cars.

Children are children and all different

Wbdn28 Sun 28-Jul-13 23:53:32


Baby IVORY league grin

What I think you meant, OP, is smug mothers of placid, acquiescent children. Dd was never one of those hmm

What boring horseshit.

MammaTJ Sun 28-Jul-13 23:56:27

DD1 was a perfect child. Then she hit her teens and was hard work.

DD2 is the whirlwind in my family.

DS is my reward for not having killed his sisters. Calm, placid and cute. grin

Secretswitch Sun 28-Jul-13 23:58:35

thebody, she IS a badass.

MyThumbsHaveGoneWeird Mon 29-Jul-13 00:05:01

DS is calm and quiet, likes staying home, doing puzzles and being read to. Very tidy and clean and not particularly physical. Threads like these make me go hmm. Are there still people out there who really believe that gender is so important? Is this 2013 or 1953?

There are smug mothers with children of both genders. Mothers of boys who are glad thay don't have highly strung temperamental girls and mother of girls who who think boys are just noisy dirt machines.

All are silly for making such sweeping generalisations.

I have 2 boys who are as different as chalk and cheese and neither fits the stereotype of what boys are supposed to be like all the time or even 50% of the time. They are individuals like all children and goodness for that too! Who would want them to be all the same?

sashh Mon 29-Jul-13 00:10:10

Good grief, stereotyping at its worst.

louisianablue2000 Mon 29-Jul-13 00:10:16

And OPs like this are the reason I quite fancied a boy for DC3, so no-one could tell me I was a 'smug mother of girls'. So far DS has been no more trouble than his big sisters, although admittedly cleaning poo off a scrotum is a delight I'd not experienced up to now.

MamaChubbyLegs Mon 29-Jul-13 00:10:20

Are you reallyreallyreallytired ReallyTired? (Or am I?) because none of this made sense to me blush

princessnumber2 Mon 29-Jul-13 00:11:01

Are there still people out there who extrapolate from a sample of two? Or even three?

My youngest daughter is a thrill-seeking, outdoorsy type, obsessed with balls, cars and danger. She climbs everything and is embarrassingly loud and aggressive.

Eldest had her moments but mostly calm and risk-averse. I was never smug though and I didn't claim to have created her temperament with my wonderful parenting.

I'll be sure to tell DS that he's letting his gender down. hmm

sweetiepie1979 Mon 29-Jul-13 00:16:09

Really tired I just read your post again it's the dreariest most smug post ever written......"those of us with 2 children bla blah blah. Get over yourself

PramelaAndherson Mon 29-Jul-13 00:26:39

grin MalteseFalcon

RubyThePirate Mon 29-Jul-13 00:29:46

Is this the Sunday night wind up?

Pramela, yours is the best username I've ever seen on MN grin

Ha! I have 5DCs <looks suitably smug> hmm with my one and only DD in the middle of four brothers and I can honestly say that she is "more work" than all four boys have ever been. She is inquiring and imaginative and talkative and currently seems to be 11 going on 40 confused and I wouldn't change her for the world, neither would I ever put her personality and who she is down to Being A Girl confused Likewise I would never put anything her brothers say/do down to them Being A Boy - they are who they are, regardless of their X and Y chromosomes...

Angelfootprints Mon 29-Jul-13 00:35:24


Baby ivory league?

2 years olds reading Pride and Prejudice?


McNewPants2013 Mon 29-Jul-13 00:50:26

My son is hard work, but I know how to calm him down all I need to do is let him go into his own little world.

Dd likes to challenge me. She is a pink loving diva.

I love both as them as individuals they are.

I come from a large family and I can say my 2 nieces out of 6 are a dream to have the other 3 are whirlwinds the other one isn't born yet. My nephews are the same each different ( I also have 6 nephews)

Mimishimi Mon 29-Jul-13 00:56:57

I had a little girl first. She was (and still is) quite demanding and messy although lovely in other ways. My son has serious speech problems but is able to amuse himself and is as neat as a pin (like seriously orderly - doesn't get it from me but from his dad).

peteypiranha Mon 29-Jul-13 06:18:21

You win the award for post of someone who has the least experience with children if this is what you think.

Quetzalcoatlus Mon 29-Jul-13 06:21:40

I'm going to say what my 8 year old says when he's lost for words...


Chopstheduck Mon 29-Jul-13 06:25:05

HA! Wait til your daughter hits puberty!

Agree with everyone else though, children are all different regardless of gender.

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 29-Jul-13 06:25:33

Compliant? Little girls? Compliant? Someone forgot to tell dd1 this....

her favourite phrases include "I am not wearing that", "Well, if I have to wear trainers, I just won't go" "I am dressed suitably for the weather, I have tights on" <- whilst dressed in a strappy party dress in deep winter.

Dd2 is a boy by OP's description.

Chopstheduck Mon 29-Jul-13 06:26:43

I was smug like you once. My dd was quite demanding of my time and attention and an evening screamer. Then I had ds1 who was calm and quiet and happy to sit in his bouncy chair for hours. He even did as he was told when he reached toddler age. I thought I had got parenting all sussed out.

Then I had twins!

wigglesrock Mon 29-Jul-13 06:38:54

I have 3 daughters, I live in a constant bubble of smugness, I'm the smuggest in all the land of smuggington - happy now?hmm

LookMaw Mon 29-Jul-13 06:44:05

OP are you my mum?

My brother was a nightmare child <preens>

BeaWheesht Mon 29-Jul-13 06:44:38

My dd is much harder work than ds, much grubbier, much naughtier, has climbed anything since 10 months and was a regular at a&e for a while.

So, from my statistical sample of 3 I can conclude girls are 'worse' that boys.

or gender is almost irrelevant and they're just their own little people

BeaWheesht Mon 29-Jul-13 06:45:02


changeforthebetter Mon 29-Jul-13 06:49:58

oh ffs grin there is nothing calm and demure about my girls. fart and willy jokes abound, food gets spilt constantly, their default volume setting is loud......... really, where are these calm girls of which you speak?hmm

MrsWolowitz Mon 29-Jul-13 06:56:47


How smug are you?

I have three DDs two of which are twins. At one stage I had 3 DC under 2 yo.

But yes of course, you know best about my children than I do hmm

Get a life OP.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Mon 29-Jul-13 07:21:08

I have a dd. I'm too exhausted to be smug. She creates chaos within minutes. Gets bored of toys within seconds, is most happy playing in a pool of mud, talks all the time and constantly challenges everything.

I've been praying boys are easier but I'm not sure they are.

Tee2072 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:28:43

Nothing like a cunty provocative post and then a disappearing OP.

Anecdote does not equal data. What your children are like does not determine how all the children in the world are. What a stupid idea.

Eh? Dd1 started walking at ten months and was running away from me from that point.

I would love to have a son.

Wtaf are you on about?

kungfupannda Mon 29-Jul-13 07:33:03


I'm willing to accept that there might be some very basic gender differences evident at an early age, if you looked at a big enough sample of boys and girls, ie some sort of tendency for small boys to be more physical, and small girls to have better attention spans, for example.

But that doesn't translate into "all boys are more physical and all girls are better at sitting down playing games." Every child is an individual and they may or may not show personal traits that override or fall in with any general differences that might exist.

However, I think there is a huge amount of reinforcing that goes on - eg you see a small boy running around yelling and you assume that he always behaves like that. You see a little girl sitting down watching TV quietly and you assume that is how she always is. I suspect some behaviours are also excused on the basis of "boys will be boys" and similar sentiments.

If I am out with my 2 DSs I often get "ooh you've got your hands full" type remarks. My friends with 2 girls never get these comments. I get them even if both boys are sitting quietly eating their lunch, so it's clearly just a general assumption.

But my main problem with your post, OP, is that you sound so negative about these differences, if they exist.

I also don't like the word "compliant" when attached to little girls. We've historically expected girls and women to be compliant. I think there are other, less loaded words that could be used to describe a calm personality.

DukeSilver Mon 29-Jul-13 07:33:14

Well as you say, they are all individuals. But then you have tarred all girls and boys with the same brush so you're not really making sense there.

FWIW I have one daughter...she is a bloody hurricane and has been since day one grin Maybe I am smug though, because she is amazing and I love her loud, messy, fast, frustrating behavior. Just as I would be smug if I were the mum of a quite girl/loud boy/quiet boy.

OP you're stereotyping girls and boys.

I have two, boy and girl. My girl is a climber, loves messy play, loves her tea set, dolly, pushchair, likes playing football. My boy loves running about, screaming, wrestling and sitting down to read books and do puzzles.

They are people - I don't put them in boy/girl boxes - I just treat them as people with individual personalities.

ThePowerof3 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:44:42

My DD1 is intense and extremely hard work, worth it though. DD2 is boisterous and DS v laid back You are generalising wildly

xylem8 Mon 29-Jul-13 07:54:58

all I can say is wait till your DD hits puberty.

Guess I lucked out then. DD1 can be temperamental, is highly strung, will get more upset at the injustice of being pushed over than because she's scraped her knee. (Unless she got rugby tackled, in which case she will jump up and charge down whoever did it to return the favour, laughing wildly) When she's excited she shrieks at a pitch that's just within my hearing range and makes my teeth vibrate! She likes princesses, trains and pirates. She wears almost as much food as she eats and always returns from the garden with a selection of grass/mud stains, and a stick.

She's my little boistrous dirt-magnet diva, and I AM smug, because I think she's amazing, and I get to be her mum. grin

MiaowTheCat Mon 29-Jul-13 08:02:55

So how come it continues to be OK to post shit like this slagging women off for having girls, but hell would break loose if anyone posted similar slagging women off for having boys?

I have two girls - why would I be expected to apologise for the fact the girl sperm happened to be the ones on the ball that particular shag? It's just the way life turned out.

As it turns out - DD1 is fiercely stubborn and hilariously determined to get what she wants, definitely a tornado and the world placid is nowhere near her vocabulary. I don't view her stubborn side as being particularly bad - makes my life more difficult - but it's that kind of personality trait that's going to be what gets her through life. DD2 is much more placid, but seems to be the child who feels things much more deeply. You get the personality you get - the contents of the pants are not that relevant until you choose to make it so.

Can I have a thread slagging off mums of boys with chips on their shoulders?

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Mon 29-Jul-13 08:05:15

You are stereotyping, and you are assuming that, because you wish it was so, all differences you see between your children are nature and not nurture.

Even if your observation was universally true (which plenty of posters have told you it isn't), it doesn't prove that it is nature and not nurture because of the incredibly gendered world we live in. It doesn't prove causation, just correlation. The most you can say is that we don't know if there are natural differences.

If you are genuinely interested in this, read Cordelia Fine.

Miaow I don't think I've seen anyone agreeing with or defending the OP. Think she's been unanimously laughed at.

Roobot Mon 29-Jul-13 08:08:55

Jesus. If boys are more work than girls, then I clearly have a mutant DD. 16mo, she is literally happy only when on the move or asleep. Maybe I will just hand my ovaries back and give up on the idea of any more... can't bear the thought of one that is even harder work, much as I love her!

I have one of each, they are both pains in my arse. I just want to be smug! sad <wails>

My DS sounds like your DD.

...Am I a smug mum of a boy?

I have a girl on the way though, maybe I can be a smug mum of both. hmm

Summerblaze Mon 29-Jul-13 08:33:58

What a ridiculous thing to say. I have a DD who was an angel til she started school. Now she's a bloody nightmare at age 9.

DS1 who has developmental delay was hard work when he was a toddler but not in a whirlwind tornado kind of way. He was not a tearing around the room boy but just couldn't get across what he wanted to and had meltdowns due to lack of understanding and speech problems. Now he is catching up and is at times a lot easier than DD.

DS2 is different again and although he is only 1, he is a little more rough and tumble than DS1. He will get on great with DD as she is a little tomboy at times.

I have at least 3 friends who have had boys first and then a girl and say that if they had had the girl first, they wouldn't have had anymore.

They are all individuals. Generalising is just stupid.

Pagwatch Mon 29-Jul-13 08:37:25


But it isn't ok as just about every post on here proves.

And if you think the post is shite (which it is) why would you respond by wanting to start an equally stupid gender related pile of crap?
Why would that be any less pathetic?

SuffolkNWhat Mon 29-Jul-13 08:37:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tee2072 Mon 29-Jul-13 08:40:09

I'm beginning to wonder what publication the OP writes for.

maja00 Mon 29-Jul-13 08:44:04

I have a lovely, gentle, compliant little boy. Maybe it's just down to parenting wink

TarkaTheOtter Mon 29-Jul-13 08:47:50

I only have one child so probably not allowed an opinion, but I certainly wouldn't say SHE was compliant. My friends boys seem much more placid, but that's probably because they aren't my children.

DD likes thomas the tank engine, think she's ready for Austen yet?

ubik Mon 29-Jul-13 08:48:40

I hate all this ''smug mothers of girls' business

What a crock of shit

MiaowTheCat Mon 29-Jul-13 08:50:18

I tend to work on the assumption you're going to get one tornado if you have more than one kid.

Just seems to have been a barrage of shit on here recently expecting women to apologise for having girls. And woe betide you dare say anything innocuous that might be deemed to be showing any kind of girl-preference... for that will be deemed to be a Diss Against Boys and worth 30 pages of telling you what a shitbag you are. Yet starting this crap calling women with girls smug is OK. Ridiculous.

maja00 Mon 29-Jul-13 08:51:16

I've never come across smug mothers of girls in real life confused

cannotfuckingbelievethis Mon 29-Jul-13 08:51:45

Of course they're different - they're different people irrespective of their gender ! DS (5) is quite placid and gentle, a caring wee soul. DD (3) is wild, plays with slugs, worms and anything else she can get her hands on (she literally tried to strangle a snake at The Animal Man show we attended one day). She spits, eats snot like it's going out of fashion and has even been known to lick her fingers if she accidentally gets a bit of poo on them when she's wipe her bum.

Christmasberry Mon 29-Jul-13 08:53:36

Wish my two girls were as easy as my boy!

mrsjay Mon 29-Jul-13 08:53:54

eh what ? do you really honestly think that all little girls are fluffy and quiet and all sweetness and light. seriously mine were were into everything when they were little I am not sure what you are on about tbh just needed to get my 2 pennys worth in . girls are children just the same as boys

TheFallenNinja Mon 29-Jul-13 08:54:54

Another dazzling insight of children's behaviour confused

Well, if my DD2 had been my only girl then I might have been a "smaug mum of a girl", she is an absolute angel, very very easy, sleeps well blah, blah, but after 3 DSs and a DD that definitely weren't I bloody well deserved her! grin Seriously OP, read your post through and then admit that it makes no sense whatever. All children are individuals and their personality has very little, if anything, to do with their gender. In fact I don't think it has anything to do with their upbringing either. Their behaviour might, but not their personality.

mrsjay Mon 29-Jul-13 08:57:56

and id you are on about muck magnet my 15 yr old girl cant wear clothes for more than 5 minutes without something being down her front and here was me thinking most folks attitudes had changed about girls and boys oh well hmm

Gigondas Mon 29-Jul-13 08:58:54

You Can borrow my 2 for a nice peaceful time op - be my guest.

Seriously tho yabu - but if you are inclined to be as misguided as your post implies, the issue is with you not your kids or anyone elses.

ArtexMonkey Mon 29-Jul-13 08:59:31

"I hate all this ''smug mothers of girls' business

What a crock of shit"


Utter rubbish, really. If anything, mums of girls on mn are more bothered about going on about what badass ruffneck tomboys they are.

Btw there is such a thing as being smug about having one of each, you might want to watch out for that op, in case you accidentally give that impression.

MiaowTheCat Mon 29-Jul-13 09:01:32

Aaah yeah - the one of each thing... like football stickers, you have to have a full collection. Whole new can of worms there.

Are you sure you haven't inadvertently created the placid biddable girl and tornado little boy via your gender stereotyping OP? (That one will put the cat among the pigeons) I mean you've got such a strong view that all little girls are like that...

SuffolkNWhat Mon 29-Jul-13 09:02:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrsjay Mon 29-Jul-13 09:03:20

maybe if you had treated your children the same and not expected your son to be a tornado things would have been different then you couldve been smug about both

chattychattyboomba Mon 29-Jul-13 09:05:13

OP, sounds like you are a bit paranoid. Why would a mum with a girl look down her nose at you purely based on the gender of her child? If she truly does look down her nose it's probably more likely due to the the silly generalisations you make.

DoctorRobert Mon 29-Jul-13 09:05:31

Smug mothers of girls? What?

OP, how nice for you that your girl is so compliant. Perhaps you would like to spend some time with my DD, who is about as far from compliant as you could imagine.

not planning anymore so won't find out whether boys are easier or not, which is what my mother always told me

hackmum Mon 29-Jul-13 09:06:20

My DD was an absolute tornado as a toddler, and so I do agree about the smug parents bit, just not the smug parents of little girls. Smug parents of docile, well-behaved children who imagine the docility is all down to their good parenting are very annoying! So I know what you mean about hoping their second child is demanding, though I suppose one feels a little bit guilty about it.

MiaowTheCat Mon 29-Jul-13 09:09:23

There's also the fact kids can be "easier" and more "difficult" at different points in their lives... the climber who never gets worn out might become a really compliant teenager (my brother was this - spotless bedroom, self-imposed 9pm bedtime, would do his homework for the week without being asked on a Sunday morning), and the nice quiet little toddler might become the teenager from hell.

DD1's going to be Chancellor. She's currently trying to negotiate a swap - my mobile phone for her red building brick - with economic sense like this - the country's saved!

EeTraceyluv Mon 29-Jul-13 09:09:50

Haha! My second child was a boy and he was a complete nightmare as a small boy - he simply did not sleep for five years and when we had dd when he was 6, our GP said 'I shouldn't say this, but I expect you are relieved you have a little girl'. Well, she has been more difficult than he ever was!! It is so awful to gender stereotype - girls sweet and compliant, boys muddy and noisy. he is now 13 and the most gentle loving lad and she is 7 and a tornado of shouting, temper and 'look at meeeeee'!!

EeTraceyluv Mon 29-Jul-13 09:10:36

If dd1 (now an adult) had been my only child, I would have probably been a 'smug mother of a girl'

mrsjay Mon 29-Jul-13 09:10:53

it seems girls like women can't do right for doing wrong on here it baffles me

MalcolmTuckersMum Mon 29-Jul-13 09:10:58

From the OP -

Those of us with two children realise that nature has a huge affect on a child's personality and ablity to behave

I bloody KNEW there was a reason I should have had another! Dammit! Now I will never understand whether or not nature blah blah blah vomit puke blah..........

larrygrylls Mon 29-Jul-13 09:12:43

There are, IMO, HUGELY different behavioural distributions between the genders and they manifest themselves very strongly during the toddler years. That is not to say that some girls are not boisterous and tomboyish and some boys are not pliable and easy going. That is how statistical distributions work; they tell you nothing about how a particular individual is going to be. You have to treat every child as an individual and deal with how they actually are and not a stereotype. It is also true, I suspect, that society reinforces gender stereotypes and magnifies the differences.

However, having watched my own two boys and the entire sample of children at my children's pre school, it is blindingly obvious that, as a population, the boys are more boisterous and random than the girls. The teachers also seem to believe that there are innate differences and they have obviously seen many boys and girls over the years.

So, it is wrong to pretend that there are no innate differences. Equally it is wrong to extrapolate from a population down to individuals.

"HUGELY different behavioural distributions between the genders and they manifest themselves very strongly during the toddler years"

So once they start to become aware of the world around them? Before they are aware of what is going on around them there are few differences? That's interesting..

larrygrylls Mon 29-Jul-13 09:17:43

It is very hard to tell before they really interact with the world. The testosterone surges that boys experience clearly alter their behaviour.

mrsjay Mon 29-Jul-13 09:18:53

of course there is difference in genders but to say little girls are just all lovely and fluffy and quiet and compliant is a huge generalisation imo

SuffolkNWhat Mon 29-Jul-13 09:20:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LittleBearPad Mon 29-Jul-13 09:21:19

What a very odd OP and some massive generalisations.

Goldendandelion Mon 29-Jul-13 09:22:54

I have both boys and girls and whilst all my kids have been fairly well behaved, the boys have been far easier than the girls.

larrygrylls Mon 29-Jul-13 09:22:55

A lot are buy I know some girls who would give our slightly hyper son a run for his I said, it is a very bad idea to go from populations to individuals. Even sillier the other way though (from individual to population): "my girl is a tomboy and my son is easy so no gender differences...".

WidowWadman Mon 29-Jul-13 09:26:03

My second daughter is exactly like the 'captain chaos' the OP describes. It's nothing to do with gender but all with personality

I have two DDs.

Elder DD is a stereotypical girly girl. She gets out her dolls' house. And her dolls. Then she gets random objects out so they can have furniture. Then she gets other things out to have a tea party. Then she gets bored and changes into her leotard and does some ballet. Then she reads a book. Then another book.. and then another until someone says she needs to put things away before anything else comes out. Cue two hours of moaning, grizzling, complaining, procrastinating and so on on her part, and threats of cruel and unusual punishment on mine.

Younger DD is a tomboy. She runs around outside and gets muddy, perhaps looks at insects. When asked to put things away she just says "OK" and does it.

I know which of the two I find the more manageable and it's not elder DD, although she can be very charming.

melika Mon 29-Jul-13 09:39:02

OP you have me onside. There are a couple of relatives who have just had girls and one in particular would have had the biggest shock if she had had a boy (she dresses them in pink all the time).

They just don't know do they?

VivaLeBeaver Mon 29-Jul-13 09:44:51

I'm smug. My dd is very well behaved and always has been. I put it down completely to my parenting skills.

I decided not to have another in case this caused my illusion to be shattered. grin

Featherbag Mon 29-Jul-13 09:45:20

Well I'm a smug mother of a little boy, so there! He's gorgeous, all blue eyes, olive skin and blond hair, he mostly sleeps right through (and has done since he was 9mo) and he has the temperament of an angel, always waking with a smile on his face. I can't go out without strangers commenting on how beautiful/friendly/happy he is.

I'm due DS2 in a few months however, and know that the rules dictate that he will be a little monster to pay me back for the easy first!

mrsjay Mon 29-Jul-13 09:59:08

MY dds are well behaved but also a lot of their boy friends are well behaved <shrug> perhaps the boys havn't been brought up to believe oh boys wil be boys

Bowlersarm Mon 29-Jul-13 09:59:45

I know what you're saying OP.

My eldest DS was a human tornado. I didn't know what had hit me. After he was born I didn't have time to sit down until he started school.

I had several friends with their pfb, little girls, and they were smug, they really were. Whilst my boy was causing chaos, and i was seriously questioning the fact that i was incapable of parenting at all their girls were behaving (generally) in a much calmer manner.

I did go on to have two more DSes though, so couldn't have been all bad.

And DS 1 is now a gorgeous teen

Myliferocks Mon 29-Jul-13 10:03:09

I have 3 girls and 2 boys.
They all are completely different. My girls could and can cause just as much chaos, if not more, than my boys.
It comes down to a child's personality not gender.

MummytoMog Mon 29-Jul-13 10:42:15

Say wha? My PFB is a girl, and although she was a very easy baby, she's been a demanding, opinionated, energetic, meddling, forceful little madam since she was eighteen months old. My second born son was a needy baby and is the most laid back chillaxed two year old the world has ever seen. I mean I am a smug mother of a little girl, because my kids are obviously beautiful and brilliant and perfect etc etc etc but I don't really think wishing a 'torando' on me is all that fair. What is a torando anyway? Is it something they have in the Baby Ivory League? Does it involve poaching bull elephants?

Guerrillacrochet Mon 29-Jul-13 11:08:35

I think a 'Torando' is a type of SUV isn't it? With bullbars on the front.
Seriously though, are you Steven Moxton OP? Because this reminds me of that 'evolutionary psychology' shite that he spouts. Absolute piffle.
<goes off in search of a french fancy to eat whilst sipping tea from a dainty cup>

Madmum24 Mon 29-Jul-13 11:19:33

Anyone who is smug with their PFB is unreasonable, regardless of the babies sex.

I remember a friend was extremely smug about her very calm, content PFB (who happened to be a girl). Friend would openly declare this was down to her passing on very relaxed hormones through her breastmilk etc. As proof of this she would relate the story of her PFB weeing on the duvet when she was several months old, and her husband being astonished that she hadn't shouted/smacked the baby (!) That is how unbelieveably calm she was.

Fast forward a year and another baby, (happened to be a boy) and all the calm hormones in the world could not have contented this little one. Thankfully friend stopped spouting off with her "I'm a wonderfully calm parent talks.

hamab Mon 29-Jul-13 11:33:07

No, I don't think gender comes into it. It's personality. Just because your dd is like that, doesn't mean they all are.

cushtie335 Mon 29-Jul-13 11:40:21

I have a DS and a DD, you're sweeping generalisations are utter nonsense. But here's another one seeing as you like them so much, wait until your dd is a teenager, you might wish for an uncomplicated, straightforward lad to take her place.

Snuffleupicus Mon 29-Jul-13 11:46:27

I think yanbu. Apart from the gender bit.
One of my co mothers group attendees has a 3yr old who sleeps 13 hours a night ( I shit you not), has four hour naps at the weekend, never argues, never gets out if bed at night and eats every scrap of food that is put in front of her. As time has gone by she has decided this is not luck but good parenting.

She takes it upon herself to advise the rest of us how we do everything wrong, including toilet training which she has conveniently forgotten that her mother did while she was away for three weeks.

The rest of us gleefully look forward to her second child.
Cannot. Freakin. Wait.

SoupDragon Mon 29-Jul-13 11:49:21

I read the OP, thought "What a load of (metaphorical) bollocks" and gave up.

cory Mon 29-Jul-13 11:54:04

I would have been a very smug parent indeed if I had only had ds: easygoing, compliant, stayed where you put him with a sunny smile on his face. But it was too late by then- my confidence had already been shattered by his big sister.

If dd generally refrained was restrained from causing mayhem in public, it was because I bloody watched her like a hawk. So I suppose I could be a little smug about that. But then I'd have done the same with a boy.
(neighbours, please not: I am sorry about your pretty flowers but I was in hospital and her grandma just wasn't quick enough off the mark)

My friend had it the other way round: her easy child was her eldest so she did have time to enjoy the smug stage. They were both boys though so not sure where that leaves the OP. And the eldest boy was also very advanced in reading and all academic/sit-nicely-and-listen skills.

Caster8 Mon 29-Jul-13 11:54:53

If you had 5 of each, you could then perhaps make some accurate generalisations?

cory Mon 29-Jul-13 11:55:37

I have to admit I was never terribly impressed by friends who let their lo's batter everything in sight because "he is a boy and what can you do?"; I always used to think "well, I took my dd straight home at the first sign of trouble and I don't see why you can't do the same".

cushtie335 Mon 29-Jul-13 11:57:01

^^ A good friend of mine used to refer to people with 1 perfect dc as "fucking amateurs".

Fakebook Mon 29-Jul-13 11:58:23

I was a smug mother of a little girl. Then I had my son. I'm still a smug mother, but of a little girl and a little toddler boy. They're both as bad as each other tbh and have very similar traits when it comes to running around and screaming, except DS breaks household furniture that dd wouldn't have touched at his age (blinds, cupboard handles). They both sit down and play together or both go outside and play together and both sleep amazingly well. Oh and they are both little social butterflies.

Haha I love 'fucking amateurs'

kilmuir Mon 29-Jul-13 12:19:35

surely your cohort is too small to draw any conclusions? i have a mixture of genders and they all have good and bad days

stopgap Mon 29-Jul-13 12:39:42

Though my two-year-old DS is prone to the 5pm crazies, when he runs about with an egg whisk or brush shouting "raaaargh", he's far more likely to be cuddled on my knee, wanting me to read him a book. Or he loves to hold my hand as we walk down the street. He doesn't push, kick etc. other kids, and is naturally quite wary of rough play. I don't feel I scored a booby prize in any way, and YADBU.

maja00 Mon 29-Jul-13 12:47:34

I work with 2 and 3 year olds and have to say the gender differences = not that significant.

Naughty, difficult, unpleasant behaviour is pretty evenly distributed.

Boys are often encouraged to be more boisterous/violent, girls negative impulses are often challenged into sneakier less overt behaviour. This isn't a natural distinction though as far as I can see - parents quite obviously encourage these different behaviours.

zatyaballerina Mon 29-Jul-13 12:59:25

It's really irritating when parents assume that their child engages in a particular behaviour because of their sex and therefore all children of that sex are the same as their child. My friends little boy is a sweet, gentle little bookworm, my own daughter can't sit still for a second, climbs on everything and everyone, loves playfighting and needs to be watched like a hawk.

Children are individuals, raise them as such and stop assuming they are their genitals, they're not.

Wuxiapian Mon 29-Jul-13 13:04:55

YABU. And a slight ridiculous.

SoupDragon Mon 29-Jul-13 13:05:38

Right at this very second, DD is beating up her older brothers.

ReginaPhilangie Mon 29-Jul-13 13:12:09

Oh FGS! I have 3 girls all of them are more "boisterous" than any boy I've ever met! YABU, and you know it. Kids have different personalities just like adults, talk about stereotypical! hmm

Xihha Mon 29-Jul-13 13:19:34

Sorry OP but that's just because of their personalities, not their sex, I have a son who has always been calm, happy to sit with a book or jigsaw for hours and hates getting dirty and I have a daughter who never stops running round, breaking things, getting stuck up trees and bringing slugs into the house!

They are both lovely children and have good days and bad days but in general I actually find my son is far easier to look after.

ScrambledSmegs Mon 29-Jul-13 13:26:30

Bull. Look after my DD1 for 5 minutes that will be enough to break you and then make that generalisation.

She's completely NT. Just a bloody destructive whirlwind since she could roll - at 11 weeks.


Thank god for DD2, she's adorably lazy.

NonnaMai Mon 29-Jul-13 13:28:25

So all girls are made of sugar and spice, all boys are slugs and puppy dog tails as the rhyme goes. confused

I have three DC. My DS is 13 he is and always has been calm, studious and a joy to be with. DD1 now 25 only stopped being the cause of my exploding stress levels when she became a mother herself 9 months ago.
and I pray her dd gives her at least a little of the worry her mother inflicted on me.
DD2 is 6 and the master of the most spectacular tantrums ever seen. Her ability to argue even the most obscure point will be a massive benefit should she ever decide on law as a career. Even at her young age she has been known to reduce me to tears.

They are all very different but I wouldn't be without any of them and love them all equally.

lljkk Mon 29-Jul-13 13:29:50

Doesn't happen often but I agree with RT. yanbu.

FridaKarlov Mon 29-Jul-13 13:40:50

Cool story.

CunningAtBothEnds Mon 29-Jul-13 13:58:48

Not my experience of my sons... Maybe you are doing it wrong OP?! grin

Seriously though gender stereotyping to such an extreme... Snooore.

Love my boys because they are mine, they have completely different traits. If i have a girl I'll love her too and she will also have different traits because humans are funny like that

Rufus43 Mon 29-Jul-13 13:58:49

I have two boys and a girl, my first boy is/was quiet, well behaved generally a joy. My daughter is a whirling tornado, no patience, can't amuse herself for long, attention seeking, bouncy, loud! I could go on. My other boy is a much closer in temperament to his big brother.

I love and adore my dd but she could destroy the planet if she felt the urge, my boys are much easier.

And yes I was smug when I had number 1 and I am still very smug even after 2 and 3

Tillyandjamie Mon 29-Jul-13 14:11:15

Opposite for me! My DD 3.5 is a tomboy! She loves making mud pies and getting dirty and she does not sit down for 5 minutes! My DS on the other hand is very sensitive, alot calmer and will play quietly for hours! I think it depends on the child to be honest!

xylem8 Mon 29-Jul-13 16:40:59

Most of you are comparing toddler/pre school boys and girls.The difference becomes more pronounced as they get a bit older

SuffolkNWhat Mon 29-Jul-13 16:42:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

larrygrylls Mon 29-Jul-13 16:45:10

I am sorry but I cannot but be amused re the last few posts. Women are so desperate to prove that gender is irrelevant that, if you were to sum up the anecdotes in this thread, a clear picture of gender differences WOULD emerge. All little girls are tomboys and all little boys are thoughtful and compliant.

I had two DS and then a DD.

DS1 was a dream - slept really well as a baby, hit every milestone right on cue... He is now almost 11 and although he has his moments he is very well behaved and responsible most of the time.

Then I had DS2, who took the wind right out of my smug sails grin

Then I had DD, who is very similar to DS1.

I don't think it is a boy/girl thing, I think it is a personality thing.

Rufus43 Mon 29-Jul-13 17:51:39

Sorry didn't at any time say my girl was a tomboy ( and I do realise you are talking about the majority of the replies and not individual ones), she is deffo a girl just one that could take down a tiger at 50 paces.

My children are 14, 11 and 10

Dackyduddles Mon 29-Jul-13 17:58:00






MrButtercat Mon 29-Jul-13 18:00:32

I know I laugh at the competitive tomboy girl and sensitive boy posts on these threads.grin

mrsjay Mon 29-Jul-13 18:12:55

I dont think i said mine were tomboys infact one thinks unicorns shit glitter grin but I am sick to the back teeth of people saying girls are easier and sweet and love to just sit and read or boys are so naughty because they are just boys, I have been hearing it for 20 odd years and still hearing it nothing has changed

MiaowTheCat Mon 29-Jul-13 18:39:40

I'm just sick of the endless sentiment here where people seem to be expected to feel ashamed at being happy when they're told they're having a girl (even when they'd be equally happy to be told they're having a boy), or to feel ashamed of looking at their kids on an evening and thinking they're fab if they're of one gender, and all that crap.

As for the ridiculous comment someone made about how someone's girl must be easy "because they're always dressed in pretty pink dresses"... nope - that can just mean they're being a fucking pain in the arse in a pink dress rather than blue trousers ffs. It's got bloody ridiculous.

Newsflash - some kids of both sexes are more physically demanding to parent, some kids are more emotionally demanding to parent, some kids are just pieces of cake to parent - luck of the draw what you get, and you're a pretty nasty fucking cow if you wish misery on someone for getting dealt something different to you... and you don't know what they're dealing with behind closed doors. DD2 is the semi stereotypical sunshiney placid little thing... but we've been through hell with reflux, food allergies, colic, I get covered in vomit after every feed... but I guess I "deserve" that for having a girl. I have PTSD from what went on with DD1's birth - did I "deserve" that for having a girl too?

Oh and the OP actually sounds like they've got a pretty big case of playing favourites going off within the family - the picture painted of the girl being biddable and insipid, and the boy being all this absolute shopping list of awesome now.

ARealDame Mon 29-Jul-13 18:43:21

Yeah, I have a boy. I found your original post funny, OP. What else can I say? Sighs and smile and sad and grin and angry.

SamuelAndOscarsMummy Mon 29-Jul-13 18:47:59

I've never met a smug mother because she has a girl although I HAVE met smug mothers in general who have children who behave better than mine (not difficult lol) and yes it has made me want their second child to be a bit more of a challenge so they shut up and stop this what you were asking OP?

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Mon 29-Jul-13 18:50:47

Stupid thread.

hothereinnit Mon 29-Jul-13 18:54:35

I have 3 dc.

My first was a fabulously easy and placid baby, and then a nightmare as a toddler.

My second was a very difficult clingy baby, and even more of a nightmare as a toddler.

My third has been mixed as a baby (sunny, happy, by far the most cheerful of my babies, but did not sleep for a looooong while), and is looking to be just as much trouble as a toddler (put up to all sorts of mischief by elder siblings)

Gender has nothing to do with it. Each one is an individual, and each has had their easy points and their, ahem, challenging issues.

<girl girl, boy, fwiw>

ARealDame Mon 29-Jul-13 18:58:56

yeah, yeah, gender has nothing to do with it.

how I laughed!

What planet are people on here? Planet liberal-lets-pretend-gender-means-nothing? Now that's stupid.

hothereinnit Mon 29-Jul-13 19:05:09

my third dc is not currently squealig loudly while racing up and down the hallway because he is a boy (both my girls have done it too).

my girls don't sit quietly and read books/do jigsaws because they are girls (ds will also happily settle down for a story - to the extent that any baby does at 12 months old)

they do the things that interest them.

my most active and excitable is a girl. absolute non-stop, needs regular exercise and sport or will be climbing the walls. if she was a boy, everyone would say 'typical boy, always on the move/can't sit still' etc. but she isn't.

nothing to do with planet liberal hmm

everything to do with not expecting certain behaviours and interests based on what type of genitals a child has.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 29-Jul-13 19:09:29

I have four boys, and I am considerably smugger than yow.

(Would I be that smug if I had four girls? You bet your ass I would.)

ubik Mon 29-Jul-13 19:14:02

I think it's interesting how desperate some parents are to cling on the gender difference as an explanation fir challenging behaviour.

Rufus43 Mon 29-Jul-13 19:18:50

Most people are talking about their personal life. I have not mentioned any other children just my own. I have also not said that my girl is a Tom boy or that my sensitive older boy is girly.

The vast majority of my friends would laugh themselves silly if anyone accused me of having any liberal views!

gingermop Mon 29-Jul-13 19:24:29

I hav 4 dc's , a 14 yo dd and 3 ds's 10, 8, & 4. the first 3 a dream as babies so was very lucky, then ds3 came along and oh my lord hes hard work.
I can quite honestly say if id had him first id wouldnt hav had any more.

2 b honest though I think id take any child, boy/girl, an easy baby or a pain in the arse over my 14 y/o hormonal teenage girl grin grin

Huh my son was as placid as can be and my daughter was the wild one, you can generalise due to sex surely.

Grittzio Mon 29-Jul-13 19:25:00

First child - born to please, second child - born to rebel, says it all as I had DS first and DD second.

SchnitzelVonKrumm Mon 29-Jul-13 19:25:04

Has the daft OP been back?

sparklekitty Mon 29-Jul-13 19:44:38

Um, my pfb is a girl and a hell of a lot manic/non stop/dirt attractor then any of the little boys we know.

Gender is nothing to do with it. I hope I'm blessed with a little boy next time too, he might be a bit calmer taking after his Dad hopefully

Asheth Mon 29-Jul-13 21:25:23

As the smug mother of three wonderul, tornado, muck magnet, chaos loving boys can i say that all I wish mothers of girls is (if they want another child) a healthy baby! And I wish the same to their fathers, parents of boys, parents of both and people who aren't yet parents at all but want to be.

LilacPeony Mon 29-Jul-13 21:31:44

First child - born to please, second child - born to rebel Is that an actual expression? It does describe my dcs, both girls.

SuedeEffectPochette Mon 29-Jul-13 21:38:42

Boys mess up your house. Girls mess up your head.

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Mon 29-Jul-13 21:42:16

Hmm, goadyfucker provocative post and disappearing OP. I call hairy handed shenanigans.

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Mon 29-Jul-13 21:42:32

And yes, yes I know there are rules about that. <ttthhpt!>

KateCroydon Mon 29-Jul-13 21:45:12

I spent my childhood with bruised knees and calloused hands from climbing everywhere, lost and/or broke things all the time and couldn't see the point in 'playing nicely'. Prett sure I didn't have a penis.

feelingood Mon 29-Jul-13 21:47:23

YABU it is the other way round for me this pm my DD (18months)

crayoned on every floor tile

while cleaning tiles she emptied a pot of 2ps

while picking these up she emptied the washing bag onto kitchen floor

then screamed for 30 mins as I said 'no' to her pulling lead out of laptop

screamed again to nuclear level as I wouldn't let her drink bath water.

She had my life...we have just got back from weekend trip so she took advantage of stuff about the place but this is normal, she ignores her toys .

ReallyTired Mon 29-Jul-13 21:54:48

I disappeared because I have been looking after my children.

Little boys do get a hard time because people expect them to manage the same standards are little boys. More boys get excluded from school than girls and more boys have special needs.

Boys development is often slower than little girls. Prehaps some of the differences between the typical boy and typical girl are nuture. (ie. liking pink) However there are brain differences.

Steve Biddulph's book on raising boys is interesting and Steve suggests that boys should start school a year later.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Mon 29-Jul-13 21:57:32

Biddulph knows naff all science. Honestly, have you thought about reading Cordelia Fine?

feelingood Mon 29-Jul-13 22:00:37

Boys externalise whilst girls internalise so this is why boys are observed and acted upon more, but yes there are differences between the brains and hormones but then again this is all part of a continuum and never clear cut. Biological sex is fluid and generder roles that socially constructed are definitely variable and changeable.

feelingood Mon 29-Jul-13 22:00:47


mynameismskane Mon 29-Jul-13 22:07:55

What a load of rubbish

Try harder next time

ubik Mon 29-Jul-13 22:17:13

There are brain differences - have you heard of brain plasticity? How your brain changes due to your environment, like a certain muscle becoming larger after being used fir a certain task?

That is one way environmental factors cause differences in boys and girls.

I think many, many children would benefit from starting school later, I don't think it's a gender issue until later on when boys start to pick up on environmental cues about school and what it means to be male.

CheshirePanda Mon 29-Jul-13 22:19:51

My DD likes nothing better than scuffing around on the patio and garden, eating mud. Stones appear to be her favourite thing ever. And my partner and I are delighted. I don't think girls as a group are naturally more docile or neat and tidy than boys as a group but I do think we all have to be wary of societal expectations.

LynetteScavo Mon 29-Jul-13 22:24:46

I've never met these smug girl mothers.

My friends who have two or more DD's always seem to be telling me about their DD's tantrums (I'm not talking about toddlers here).

stealthsquiggle Mon 29-Jul-13 22:26:56

You could swap DS and DD in the OP for my two confused

Does that make me a smug mother of boy hmm?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 29-Jul-13 22:28:53


However, your ds sounds exactly like my dd was. She has been far more into things than her brothers were.
She's the size of a bloody rugby player, has gone from petite to bruiser almost over night. grin

Kelziz Mon 29-Jul-13 23:07:11

I don't think it can be extrapolated either way, but the lively girls talked about on this thread has brought back a lovely memory of me desperately re-shelving a load of books my girl, then about 18 months, had cleared onto the floor with her arm at the library story time before commando crawling away under the shelves. I was just fishing her out by her feet when a mum nearby with two angelic-looking boys sitting crossed legged either side of her listening intently to the story, made an amused comment about my 'busy' little girl. I doubt she found me smug!

Ah, yes, Steve Biddulph.

He went down a storm on a live webchat.


everlong Tue 30-Jul-13 02:16:47

Why did poor mothers of girls cop for it? confused

SoupDragon Tue 30-Jul-13 07:53:43

Those of us with two children realise that nature has a huge affect on a child's personality and ablity to behave.

Those of us with more than 2 realise that "nature" in this respect has very little to do with gender.

I had a fairly typical girl
A very typical boy
One who exhibits the typical behaviours of both

However, my typical girl was DS1. He changed into more typical boy behaviour once he started at single sex secondary school which implies that it's not all nature after all. He is still far calmer and more biddable than the whirlwinds that are DS2 and DD, even though he is a hormonal teen.

MiaowTheCat Tue 30-Jul-13 08:30:08

Aaah I see the OP has been back and, having lost the argument spectacularly and been called out for being bloody nasty wishing difficulties on others based on the sex their child happened to be, they're now resorting to the "I haven't been back because I was busy looking after my children" (translation: all you nasty lot giving me a hard time are neglectful parents and I'm perfect) card.

MiaowTheCat Tue 30-Jul-13 08:31:54

Oh and I think I've felt smug ONCE having little girls... and it was when I got out of the house with a 1 year old and a 2 week old, to somewhere that was an hour walk away, on foot and I arrived absolutely spot on time to looks of awe that I'd managed to pull it off solo with such a young baby.

It's the only time I've ever felt smug and I bloody well earnt that one!

QuintessentiallyOhDear Tue 30-Jul-13 08:37:32

Wow, a bit of a bunfight, but I get you op.

You have been attacked by the political correctness "brigade" wink

How very dare you say boys are tornados and girls are princesses, when the whole of mumsnet will argue that the opposite is true and that there are no gender stereotypes only personalities.

Well, it just so happens that in most cases, whether we want it or not, the stereotypes have developed for a reason, by years and years of empirical opining, despite what some people here say boys are more like boys than most girls are, and that means tornados...

I dare say that any mother of a girl who claim her girl is collecting snails so we know nothing of what we speak, have a girl that collect snails in a nice and sedate manner, much like you would do a jigsaw puzzle, not like play drums.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Tue 30-Jul-13 08:43:21

Well, people are just sharing their personal experiences. And certainly mine doesn't collect snails in a 'nice and sedate manner'.

People are giving their counter experiences because of the massive generalisations in the OPs post. And her completely unsupported assertion that differences mean 'nature'. When they could just as easily mean nurture- by the whole community.

ubik Tue 30-Jul-13 09:15:20

Loved reading the Biddulph webchat. Op should take a look.

larrygrylls Tue 30-Jul-13 09:26:47

Do all the feminists with biddable sons and "whirlwind" daughters wonder at the effect of their parenting. It seems, judging from the above posts (someone else with a lot of time can tot them up if they like but, according to this thread there are at least 2 "boy-like" girls for every one "boy-like" boy) that girls are the ones more likely to behave like traditional boys and boys are more likely to behave like traditional girls.

There are two possible conclusions. Society is not merely wrong by 90 degrees but by 180 degrees. Girls are actually the more aggressive, energetic and random sex and boys the more relaxed and biddable sex. The alternative is that many MN parents are engaged in an unprecedented experiment: bringing their daughters up to be more "masculine" and their sons to be more "feminine". Personally I favour the latter explanation. I also suspect that this will cause problems of a cognitive dissonance nature, especially around puberty.

ubik Tue 30-Jul-13 09:45:14

Well Larry thanks for spectacularly missing the point your input

TarkaTheOtter Tue 30-Jul-13 09:47:59

Or larry have you considered the much more straightforward explanation that this thread is not a random sample and people are more likely to comment if their situation contradicts the OP?

SoupDragon Tue 30-Jul-13 09:53:02

You have been attacked by the political correctness "brigade" wink

No, she's been "attacked" because she's talking bollocks based on a sample size of one-of-each.

I dare say that any mother of a girl who claim her girl is collecting snails so we know nothing of what we speak, have a girl that collect snails in a nice and sedate manner, much like you would do a jigsaw puzzle, not like play drums.

I'll lend you DD and see what you think then.

larrygrylls Tue 30-Jul-13 09:53:03


That explanation does not really hold water, to be honest. If you look at other threads, you see the majority of posters citing evidence to agree with the OP. There is no statistical bias on MN (as far as I can see) towards people citing contradictory rather than confirmatory evidence.

There is of course yet another explanation that people are not neutral observers of their own children. They seek confirmation of what they want to see when they observe their children.

hothereinnit Tue 30-Jul-13 10:00:34

Is it a 'feminist' trait (in the disparaging way meant by larry) to not Instantly see any example of boisterous behaviour as a natural consequence of havi g a penis, and any calmer, dare I say it, gentler behaviour as a natural consequence of not having a penis?

What an extraordinary viewpoint.

Iwaswatchingthat Tue 30-Jul-13 10:02:19

My 'friend' used to 'jokingly' say I was a smug mother of girls. She had two boys and I think assumed I had gender selected my girls as that is all I could cope with!!!

I think in some ways she was jealous as she conveniently forgot that all through her second pregnancy she wished for her dc to be a girl. He came out a gorgeous boy - and is just lovely. Both her boys are delightful. But she assumes because they are boys they are harder work than my girls, who apparently spend their days colouring in and making necklaces in a quiet and sedate manner.

Sometimes they do behave like this, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they whine for England, sometimes they don't.

They are children - children by their nature are quite hard work. They have lots of needs - being a boy or a girl does not come into it for me.

SoupDragon Tue 30-Jul-13 10:02:22

They seek confirmation of what they want to see when they observe their children

Trust me. I'd like to see a calm sedate sit-down-and-embroider girl when I look at DD. What I often see is a banshee child from hell beating up her brothers.

The "boys are this, girls are that" theory is flawed. Yes, you get examples at the stereotypical ends of the spectrum but there is a huge overlap in the middle.

I would say that the main difference between the boys and girl in my family is that the boys, whilst very different personality wise, are basically simple whereas DD, whose personalty is similar to DS2, is far more complicated.

SoupDragon Tue 30-Jul-13 10:03:20

When I say "simple" I mean "straightforward" - not thick grin

larrygrylls Tue 30-Jul-13 10:04:50


It is a "feminist" trait (in the sense of the blind feminism seen often on this site) of not having any interest in seeing whether being born male confers any different characteristics than being born female. There is more to being male than having a penis. There are differences in many areas of physiology and the endocrine system. To wilfully overlook these and refer sarcastically to the only difference as "having a penis" is, IMO, a somewhat luddite attitude.

larrygrylls Tue 30-Jul-13 10:06:41

"The "boys are this, girls are that" theory is flawed. Yes, you get examples at the stereotypical ends of the spectrum but there is a huge overlap in the middle."

Totally agree with the above. There is a big overlap in the middle. That is how statistical distributions work. I know many "boyish" girls and "girlish" boys. However, when I see toddler parties en masse (and, unfortunately, I do!) I can observe a clear average difference between the sexes.

Rufus43 Tue 30-Jul-13 10:07:50

larry my girl is as far away from masculine as you can get, and I have lived with these children for years...I know their personalities a lot better than you do

Most people have only expressed their own experiences not generalised

Fully agree with tarka I am much more likely to respond to this sort of thread in a contrary manner...partly because it adds to the debate and partly because I am very contrary!

Rufus43 Tue 30-Jul-13 10:09:29

Why am I so fucking slow at typing? How do you all do it!

SoupDragon Tue 30-Jul-13 10:10:33

They seek confirmation of what they want to see when they observe their children

I suspect that may be more to do with pack mentality. Far more interesting to put a couple of boys in a roomful of girls (and vice versa) and see what happens.

DD (and me actually) could be more boylike because her primary influence at home is two older brothers. It is certainly not all down to gender.

I have never met a smug mother of girls and only heard about them on MN.
What I notice about mine is despite my best attempts to avoid gender stereotyping DS loves cars and guns and DD loves pink and babies. They are both physical and outdoorsy sometimes and both telly addicts sometimes. They both love stories about all different things.
DS was 'harder' as a baby, didn't sleep, very hungry, very clingy. He is more emotionally sensitive. DD slept more, was easier to BF, less clingy.
Nowadays DS is much more biddable than DD, much more eager to please, much more upset when told off, whereas DD is frankly a disobedient horror.

mrsjay Tue 30-Jul-13 10:14:28

I was forced to be a girly girl when i was younger i was bloody miserable i was bought teasets and dolls which i wrote on with pen told i couldnt play with my boy cousins car because that was for boys granted that was decades ago
, but I think we are allowing our girls and boys to develop their own personalities nowadays well i know I did my dd is 20 and if she wanted a car she got one same with dd2 she liked barbies so she played with those saying girls are this and boys are that is still putting them into boxes of course male and female biology is different, but personality is a different thing imo, and I do think this boys will be boys thing is a load of bollocks ,

SoupDragon Tue 30-Jul-13 10:17:51

Wrong quote in my previous post - not sure what happened. Was meant to be the bit about toddler parties.

googlyeyes Tue 30-Jul-13 14:38:06

Just wondering though, if it's all down to social and familial conditioning, why was I about as far from a girly girl as you could get? My sister was the typical pink princess (still is, but that's another story) so how could that be?

And why does my ds2 display very strong 'feminine' traits? Have we treated him so differently to his siblings that he's not on message? Just like all the tomboyish girls described above

How can conditioning only apply to some children and not others if it's so powerful?

I know Cordelia Fine is always trotted out at this point (not sure if she's a lone voice as you only ever hear about her) but it seems pretty strange that the sexes are so different physically and yet in every other way we are supposed to start off pretty much neutral. We have very different hormones coursing around our bodies for a start...

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Tue 30-Jul-13 14:59:07

Cordelia Fine is not a lone voice. She gets recommended a lot because her book is written for a popular (not academic) audience, is easy to read and a good introduction.

Social and familial conditioning is one aspect of personality. It's not the only aspect. Of course you can still have a 'tomboy' (hate that word, but can't think of a better shorthand) and a 'girly girl' (ditto) in the same family.

And certainly personally, I don't believe that we start off neutral (though the hormone differences pre-puberty are far less than people make out). I believe that we can't know whether there is a biological basis because the masses of social conditioning make a fair test impossible. So how about we work a bit on the gendered nature of society and see what happens?

I think there is potentially a significant statistical bias going on here that I don't think anybody has mentioned - we are, by a very large majority, women. I suspect that if you had a group of fathers having this conversation, the discussion might well turn out different. I do think that my view of my boys is going to be different from DH's view of them. For example, I get the cuddles and the chats about shoes (with DS2) He gets to go to footie matches and talk sport. For me he is shows his feminine side and isn't a typical boy but for his father he is most definitely masculine. It makes a bit of a mockery of stereotypes really. People are rarely that simple.

Just as an aside, I haven't read the Cordelia Fine book but have read a lot of reviews and on-going correspondence between her and Simon Baron Cohen in The Psychologists a year or two ago. She got criticised for apparently considering biology and nature to have little or no effect. Baron Cohen got criticised for not considering all the variables in testing gender differences in newborns. Dodgy variables aside, I have to say that the discussion put me off reading her book - I think that anybody who considers gender differences to be completely a social construct and nothing to do with our nature is a bit potty - just because it is difficult to pick out the effect of nature from all the other influences on personality, doesn't mean that nature is irrelevant, just that people are complex and objective analysis difficult. As I say though, I haven't read her book so maybe the view I have taken of what she seemed to be saying, both in the book and in the discussion is wrong.

Loa Tue 30-Jul-13 16:20:39

Ha Ha- a lot of the behaviour labelled as 'boyish' in DS are visible and actually more pronounced in DD2.

DD2 is also up for pretty party dresses and playing with dolls.

everlong Tue 30-Jul-13 16:20:51

As the mother of all boys the only comments that does grate on me from mothers of girls is

' oh I don't do boys ' or ' I was so relieved when it was another girl ' those sting a bit. It's just chance nothing else.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Tue 30-Jul-13 16:30:07

That wasn't the view I got from her book Bertha - although admittedly I last read it about 18 months ago. The view from her book is more that all those studies that claim to 'prove' nature are deeply flawed and don't prove what they claim to prove. It's more a deconstruction of the claimed science around brain difference than an endorsement that it must therefore all be nurture.

hothereinnit Tue 30-Jul-13 16:35:10

I am genuinely mystified as to why it is always mums of girls that get labelled 'smug' if they (apparently) have quieter, calmer children.

has the OP really never come across a quiet boy? one who is into reading, lego, computers etc? (or, dare I say it, fashion, music, etc?)

I come from a family of 'quiet' boys. My grandfather, uncles and brothers are all quiet, studious types. My dh is too. My stepson is another quiet boy.

And yet, when I had ds, loads of people were at great pains to point out that I would have my work cut out now (erm, what about dd1? the most hyper, constantly moving, loud child who ever breathed). Despite knwing most of the above family members.

Quite why they were sure ds would be such a loud, boisterous child, considering his genetics, I have no idea. So far he is 'just' being a baby. Loud sometimes (usually int he middle of the night hmm), cuddly sometimes, inquisitive always.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Tue 30-Jul-13 16:37:35

I just had a quick google for the correspondence. What Cordelia Fine says fits with what I thought she did in the book: The thesis of my book (no veils required) is that while social effects on sex differences are well-established, spurious results, poor methodologies and untested assumptions mean we don’t yet know whether, on average, males and females are born differently predisposed to systemizing versus empathising."

<disclaimer, I have copied and pasted this wording from Wikipedia as the actual letter is a pdf and I can't copy and paste. If the odd word is wrong, forgive me as I haven't word by word proofed it. The general sentence reflects that in the pdf though.>

ubik Tue 30-Jul-13 18:31:34

People arecomplex. We are born with different temperaments - but our environment impacts on our development inside the womb so it is impossible to seiedste nature/nurture.

What the many women on thus thread are keen to emphasise is that the individual differences between their children go far, far deeper than any perceived cookie-cutter gender traits.

intheshed Tue 30-Jul-13 18:35:19

everlong, the only reason mums of girls say things like that is to counteract the people who say things like 'ooh, I bet you want a boy this time'.

So when DD2 was born people asked the inane question 'are you glad it's another girl?' to which, of course, my response was yes! If it had been the other way round my response would have been the same.

I have heard plenty of mums of boys say things like 'I could never have girls, I couldn't be doing with brushing all that hair every morning' or 'the thing with boys is they really love their mums' .

butterflyexperience Tue 30-Jul-13 18:45:09

You what op???

I have 2 dd's and bet they'll run your boy ragged!!

What a pathetic stereotype to have of children

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Tue 30-Jul-13 18:46:05

Everlong - I heard a mum of boy/girl twins (under a year) congratulate a mum who'd just had a boy by saying "oh, that's wonderful. Boys are so much more cuddly". Also mums of boys who've said things to me (have two girls) like "boys are so much more straightforward. Girls are really devious". It's very sad, but the idiocy comes from both sides.

Bowlersarm Tue 30-Jul-13 18:53:06

Ah hem.

Can I just direct you all to a concurrent thread about whether to have a second child.

Post number four-ish something like 'if my first child had been a boy I might have had a second. As it was I got my girl'

Is that not the perfect 'smug mum of a girl' comment? To all of you who say smug mums of girls don't exist?

(Sorry if bad form to quote thread on a thread, but couldn't let it go)

everlong Tue 30-Jul-13 18:53:24

Hmm I'm not convinced. The mum that said she ' doesn't do boys ' has said she won't have anymore because she doesn't want to chance a boy.
Some women just don't favour boys. I've seen and heard enough comments to believe it.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Tue 30-Jul-13 19:00:07

Everlong - I'm not denying that some women favour girls. I'm saying that there's a fair number out there that favour boys too. I've heard a woman say she'd had two and they were both boys so she wasn't having any more because she didn't want all that 'girly bitchiness' in the teenage years. I was pretty [shocked].

intheshed Tue 30-Jul-13 19:02:47

Sounds like she is just a twat then. Don't tar us all with the same brush. Some of my best friends are mothers of boys, honest!

JerseySpud Tue 30-Jul-13 19:04:36

You need to meet my 2 year old DD.

Whirlwind? Thats nothing on her.

everlong Tue 30-Jul-13 19:06:26

See I have all boys, of course I love boys because of this but I always wanted girls!

My friends with the girls who craft by themselves, bake without turning the kitchen into a war zone, bring the washing in, fold it then out it away - I don't seethe with bitterness oh no! envy grin

leonardofquirm Tue 30-Jul-13 20:36:58

I have 2 DSs, the oldest it's fairly quiet and chilled and the youngest is a climbing running maniac and he's only 1. He also likes to cuddle dolls grin

Plomino Tue 30-Jul-13 21:47:00

I have 4 boys and one girl . Guess which one of all of them has been the most demanding , argumentative , destructive force of nature of the lot ? Yes , you guessed it . The one with hair down to her bum , wearing the Cinderella dress with the Return of the Jedi cloak , Darth Vader mask and spangly Wellies , running amok with the Nerf gun . In between baking and colouring nicely of course .

I am hoping that the qualities that sometimes make her a royal PITA now, ( persistence, constant energy and a need to know about EVERYTHING) are those that are going to stand her in good stead later on .

charlottehere Tue 30-Jul-13 22:02:21

Oh dear. That's not nice. I have 3 girls and a boy. hmm

stopprocrastinating Tue 30-Jul-13 22:25:46

DD is a muck magnet.

larrygrylls Wed 31-Jul-13 09:03:30

Imagine the human race wiped out and, in several million years, a new dominant intelligent life form emerges. They find, deep in a peat bog, a perfectly preserved human boy and girl. They look at the physiology and even manage some blood tests and find a slightly different hormonal make up. Then they look at the closest mammal species who survived the extinction event, maybe some monkeys. Then they try to extrapolate how the human boy and girl might have behaved.

Of course their null hypothesis would have been that sex had no impact on behaviour.....not smile.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 09:23:10

The 'compare us to animals' argument is really weak. Yes, we are like animals in lots of ways. But your hypothetical life form would also assume that we had no developed language/speech.

We are different from our nearest relatives in ways which are massively important to who we are as a species. The similarities are not a reason to assume that, if we don't have an answer, we can fill in the blanks that way.

larrygrylls Wed 31-Jul-13 09:54:49


All I am saying is that it is a sensible place to start. I am not assuming the answers. What I see, however, on this thread (and many others) is the assumption that nature makes no difference to behaviour and no willingness to even question this hypothesis.

Of course we have evolved a long way from our closest relatives but I suspect that still have a fair amount in common with them. We are not apes but we certainly have ape-like qualities.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 10:02:24

We do, but my point is that seeing it as automatically a sensible place to start would cause you to reach some pretty ridiculous conclusions - like missing our use of language.

As I've said lots of times on these threads. I don't believe that nature has no impact. I've said that we cannot possibly know if nature has an impact because I've never seen an experiment that adequately controls for nurture, or doesn't have other major flaws in the methodology. Nature could have no impact, some degree of impact or massive impact But unless we stop assuming that there is an underlying core of nature and therefore things are inevitable, we'll never change society enough to find out.

I think that, far too often, the 'its' nature' argument is used as an excuse for our own flaws in gender equality. And (aside from the fact that what could possibly be bad about letting people discover their true selves) based on all those people out there who don't fit the gender template, we could make a lot of people more comfortable being themselves if we continued to try.

larrygrylls Wed 31-Jul-13 10:10:08


I don't think our positions are poles apart.

From a scientific perspective, it is impossible to entirely eliminate nurture or nature. We will always have studies which cannot make conclusions with 100% certainty. Also, how the sexes behave are statistical distributions with a large overlap. So some girls can (obviously) behave like traditional boys and some boys can (equally obviously) behave like traditional girls.

I don't think that pretending boys and girls are identical, though, does any favours to either sex. Clearly, all children should be treated as individuals. The assumption that a girl who wants to be "girly" has been societally conditioned and their parents should try to persuade her otherwise could be equally as damaging to the individual as the parents who try to dress their "boyish" girl in a long dress. And, in a school setting, if certain tactics are more successful with either sex, and the school is not well staffed enough (as most aren't in the state sector) to see every child as an individual, tailoring appropriate teaching to each sex is probably the most beneficial method. Ideally, of course, every child should be treated as an individual and class sizes should be MUCH smaller.

needaholidaynow Wed 31-Jul-13 10:17:02

People asked me if I was disappointed when I found out at the scan that DS2 is a boy.

I was like, "No why would I be?"

I'll tell you know that I have no desire to have a 3rd to "try and get a girl" as people have suggested. It wouldn't complete my life to have a girl because I have 2 boys and that is enough for me. smile

ubik Wed 31-Jul-13 10:18:21

the assumption that nature makes no difference to behaviour and no willingness to even question this hypothesis

Of course nature makes a difference - we are born with different temperaments, hormones and reproduction make a difference - but all this is so intricately entwined with environmental factors that the nature/nurture debate is redundant.

What researchers are questioning is the quality of evidence which supports the idea that certain behavioural characteristics are innate according to gender ie: that girls are calmer, more empathic, nurturing, while boys are 'mini tornadoes '

Because after all we are all born temperament - and that may have been influenced by environmental factors in the womb - it's s process that is so complex, suggesting we are born as a 'blank slate' is wrong in the same way as suggesting girls are born with a liking fr pink.

I have 3 girls but have always wanted a gay son who enjoys clubbing and would enjoy taking his mother shopping.

needaholidaynow Wed 31-Jul-13 10:18:36


larrygrylls Wed 31-Jul-13 10:23:40

"Of course nature makes a difference - we are born with different temperaments, hormones and reproduction make a difference - but all this is so intricately entwined with environmental factors that the nature/nurture debate is redundant."

Umm, not really.

This is about intelligence rather than sex differences but seems like a scary amount is actually genetic. Disappointing because I, I suspect like most parents, like to think my stimulating questioning and conversation is going to make my children intelligent and interesting...

Wbdn28 Wed 31-Jul-13 10:30:54

Why not focus on the fact that all children are unique individuals, rather than whether they're boys or girls? If you expect certain characteristics then you're likely to stereotype.

hothereinnit Wed 31-Jul-13 10:39:16

"The assumption that a girl who wants to be "girly" has been societally conditioned and their parents should try to persuade her otherwise could be equally as damaging to the individual as the parents who try to dress their "boyish" girl in a long dress."

I honestly don't think htere have been any posters on this thread trying to do either of those things.

Certainly from my pov, it is almost the opposite. Trying to keep showing my children (both male and female) that they don't have to conform to the stereotypes thrust upon them by their teachers and peers.

eg my dd2. really quite a loud child, when comfortable, although can be prone to shyness. loves rough and tumble, and wants to get stuck into everything. had no concept that eg meccano was for boys and princesses for girls before getting to school. only wears dresses (sensory issues), and loves glitter and sparkles. all well and good.

from the moment she set foot in pre-school, she has been trained up (and yes, I really do mean that) in the 'art' or girlyness. she has been told she can't play out in a nice dress, and when she refused to change into a tracksuit, had to stay indoors. she has been told I would be cross if she got her 'pretty' clothes dirty/messy/covered in paint (blatantly not true, and I had told the school that several times).

she started learning that she should play 'like a girl' not play 'like a boy' (her words). she was steered towards the more sedentary activities, rather than integrated into eg the rough and tumble on the pirate ship in the playgorund ('yes, the boys are quite noisy, come and play here instead' when she showed signs of being a bit timid. her initial shyness in new situations has been extrapolated to 'she's quite a quiet child', and then teachers are shocked when she starts showing her 'true' self.

she encountered girls who wouldn't play with her because her favourite colour is not pink or purple (and, in fact, she changed her favourite colour to fit in - at the age of 4!), and boys who said she couldn't play with them because she is a girl.

none of that is nature. it is all nurture, and it has now been part of dd2's nurture. it has changed who she is, already. she is confused, already, by what she can/can't do (message from home: try your best always, have a go at everything, no such thing as 'toys for boys and toys for girls' etc). I do not accept that this problem has arisen because of my so-called liberal stance. All I am trying to avoid is having a daughter who thinks that she shouldn't be interested in science because it is 'for boys', and equally woodwork, football, rough and tumble, computers, the list goes on.

I can assure you that I will be working equally hard to ensure that my ds doens't think he has to be interested in football, science, rough and tumble etc, unless he actually wants to be.

I aam far from a girly girl myself. I am happy to indulge my dd2 in glitter and sparkles, as long as it is what she wants, and not so that she can fit in with how she thinks others think she should be. There is no reason why she can't play football in a glittery dress, or climb a tree, or do any of the hundreds of things she manages at home in said attire, yet at school the very people who should be ensuring equality of opportunity are the ones coaching her in how to stay looking 'pretty' and not mess up her dress. It is bloody insidious. Because by definition the things which will not mess up how she looks are the less active, less involved stuff. like reading, and stringing beads, and puzzles. oh look, all the stuff that girls are apparently 'naturally' better at hmm - nothing to do with the fact that she has spent more time practising those skills due to outside influence...

larrygrylls Wed 31-Jul-13 10:49:22


I see what you are saying but I slightly struggle with the dress issue. No one is forcing her into a dress but you say she has to wear one due to "sensory" issues. What if she were a boy? He would somehow have to find some outdoor clothes which worked around his sensory issues. A dress would not be an option.

I see nothing unreasonable about dictating certain clothes for certain activities. A boy would not be able to play football in his school uniform, he would have to change into sports gear.

The rest of your post all seems fair enough, although your daughter's school sounds unusual. Most schools (and pre schools) these days seem to allow and encourage all children to play with whom and where they want. I too would not want my children (boys) to be only guided to boy-like play. I really wish my older one would calm down a little and be more considered and considerate in how he plays...another story though.

I have never seen (thankfully) girls being guided away from science by teachers (and, en route to being a science teacher, I have observed quite a few science classes). What happens outside the school, though, is another matter. When I suggested to one girl (discussing an experiment) that she might one day discover something original as a scientist, she replied that she could not think of anything worse! However, that definitely did not come from the school

ubik Wed 31-Jul-13 10:55:32

We all develop in an environment from the moment the sperm meets the egg - genes develop in an environment.

you can't just swap the psychology of sex differences for something completely different like the 'intelligence'scales which is also subject to much criticism.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 10:58:18

I totally agree Hothere. Children are trained to be their gender. From birth.

The 'training' in gendered behaviour is horrible, and so, so prevalent. It starts earlier than pre-school too. The number of times at toddler groups DD2 has been hit by a boy only for the parent to either say "Don't hit her, little girls don't like it" in the course of their telling off (ah, so your message is that boys hit, but they don't hit girls. I've not come across many toddler boys who are fond of being whacked with a truck either). Or who have rolled their eyes and made some comment along the lines of "boys, what can you do. Don't do that Freddie". All of which are teaching those boys that their violence is somehow part of who they are as boys. DD2 gets told "don't hit. It's not nice." and removed from her game.

Also, the number of people who see confirmation of their beliefs about gender where none exist. For example, group of parents waiting at the edge of some bushes for a coach. Parent A says "ah, typical boys, any chance and they are wielding a big stick", totally ignoring the fact that teh group of 5 comprises two girls and three boys, and they've all got sticks. I said something like "hmmm, I think it's a kid thing not a boy thing" pointing at DD1, only to be met with an impassioned explanation of how her son loves sticks far more than my DD possibly could.

Actually, thinking about it, it starts even earlier than toddlerhood. My DD's were both often mistaken for boys (because they might be wearing you know, red, or blue, or green sometimes hmm). The comments people came out with altered radically once they were known to be girls. No more comments about strong, all comments about pretty and eyelashes and appearance.

I personally think gendered teaching total rubbish. Assuming that they can't tailor to individuals, schools should be employing a range of teaching methods to allow each child a good chance of something that suits them. Not lumping all the boys together to do running around learning because 'that's what boys need'. I've seen some shocking examples of that a few years ago, but thankfully it seems to be fading now.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 11:01:42

Larry - I wasn't guided away from science by my school per se. But I was definitely guided away from physics by the way it was taught. It was all cars and vehicles and gears and cogs. Things that, as a girl, I had spent a lifetime being conditioned away from. I wish they'd spent more time teaching about space and the wonders of the universe. I might not have dropped it like a hot coal then. It makes me sad sometimes to think of the careers I might have had.

Many pre-schools aren't as overt as Hot, but I've seen girls guided away from a particularly rough and tumble game when they become upset, whereas boys are dusted down and sent back in.

hothereinnit Wed 31-Jul-13 12:05:32

larry, the funny hting is, she was used to trousers (rememebr, I told you I'm not a girly girl grin). She wore trousers/dungarees/leggings almost exclusively until she was about 3, when some dresses turned up in a hand-me-down bag. and that was it. She hates anything around her waist. So dresses it is.

She is older now, and of course has to comply with school uniform for sports etc. she tolerates it, and is happier once she is back in her uniform dress. the issues I spoke about are not so blatant anymore, now she is in year 2. but it set a pattern from her earliest days at the school (pre-school first, where there was no uniform, and so of course I sent her in 'comfortable clothes for play'. Yet someone else's interpretation of her clothes lead to her beinf restricted in what she did. young children are impressionable, and dd2 had been told to listen to her teachers (actually for stuff like lining up nicely, being quiet at storytime etc, but how was she to know she should listen selectively?) and the damage was done, quite quickly, as she is a quick learner and eager to please.)

so she reserved her rough and tumble, and boisterous play for at home, where she could indulge whaetever she was was wearing (all clothes wash equally easily, imo). and of course, as she has got older and moved into fulltime school, that means her time for these activities is naturally more restricted, and she is still following the same pattern, along with most of the other girls. it takes a very strong willed 3 year old to go against so much training and suggestion from teachers.

I am keeping up the fight at home, and hopefully by the time she is having 'proper' science lessons, she won't be totally gender-trained against them. All the comments about her clothes, and pink etc, are then backed up by walking into a toyshop and all the meccano/science/building toys being in blue boxes, and in the owrst cases in the 'boy' section. it is subliminal, almost, and dd 'naturally' turns towards the colours and sections she has been trained and guided into. and so chooses from a restricted set of toys, and so by the time 'proper' science choices are to be made, she may well be completely and utterly turned off the subject, through a combination of off-the-cuf comments, and social conditioning.

absolutely shocking that our society can be doing this so blatantly.

Amanda, I too have had the comments change as the actual sex of my (various) babies has been made known.

Just yesterday, I was told my 3 'girls' were all the spit of each other (true) and beautiful (also true grin). A comment was made about 3 sisters all growing up and sharing clothes etc. So I (quite neutrally) said, 'oh yes, the 2 older ones will, but ds might have other ideas!', and instantly, the checkout lady modified her comments to 'aha! I thought the baby was too loud, and had too much to say, to be a girl!' (wtf? ds was wearing a pink and white striped top, and blue shorts. and babbling away as most 1 year olds do). It was extraordinary - a moment ago he had been one of 3 beautiful and well behaved sisters. Now it was known he is a boy, he had morphed into a loud boisterous boy. Now that is weird (although sadly not uncommon)

cory Wed 31-Jul-13 12:06:04

You do not infrequently see posts on MN where a poster is worried about the agressive/destructive behaviour of her son but prefaces her remarks with "of course I do realise that boys will be boys" or something similar.

I have never seen a poster starting a thread on aggressiveness in a girl who has felt the need to start with the proviso "of course I do realise girls are like this".

That difference in attitude almost certainly makes a difference in how behaviour is tackled: when a little girl pushes her friend over, the mums are more likely to be shocked and outraged than when a little boy does the same thing.

As the mother of a gentle little boy who did not relish being pushed over by his mates and nobody intervening, I have often regretted this tolerant "oh well boys will be boys, what can you expect" attitude.

grimbletart Wed 31-Jul-13 12:08:38

I've posted this point on other threads in the past so apologies for repeating myself. My first memory of gender conditioning was in kindergarten, so I was 4 and a few months. When we had PE the teachers always told the boys to move the benches, never the girls. In my childish way I piped up asking why it was always the boys (I was one of apparently "unnatural" females who tore around being very active) and never the girls and "it wasn't fair". The teacher said something about boys being strong and of course I got really cross and objected because I was strong too. All that happened was that I was told off and made to stand in the corner!

It was my lightbulb moment as they say. That's when, although I didn't know it as such at the time, I became a feminist. That was 66 years ago and I have never forgotten that first hard lesson in gender conditioning. I've fought it ever since.

hothereinnit Wed 31-Jul-13 12:10:21

cory, exactly

ds may well turn out to be an agressive toddler (and by that I mean 'normal' pushing and shoving that some toddlers do), but there is no way he should be excused and 'allowed' to do it because he is a boy.

absolutely agree that people find it more shock if it is a girl, and it is blindingly obvious that attitude has a bearing on how behaviours are tackled, or how much of a behaviour is tolerated/excused.

'boys will be boys' has alot to answer for in aggression/boisterous/rowdy behaviour stakes, but then so does 'girls will be girls' in bitchiness/mean behaviours.

hothereinnit Wed 31-Jul-13 12:14:55

grimble -another perfect, insidious, example of how early and how easily these things can creep in.

I can remember being told when I went to Brownies (this was back in the 70s, abroad, ina society that very much separates and segregates the sexes) that 'girls don't like running and sports' and thinking the 6 year old equivalent of 'wtf?!'

I had 2 older brothers, and my mother was a scout leader. I had spent most of my infancy and childhood joining in with cubs and scouts, and was really excited to be able to join 'my' pack. and then all we did was sewing and cleaning and cooking. I lasted about a month, and went back to being an unofficial cub (this was before girls could be cubs!). much more fun, and they still learned sewing and knitting and cooking etc - I remeber thinking why on earth would anyone want to be a Brownie, when cubs did all the same things, and more

mrsshackleton Wed 31-Jul-13 12:58:31

Cory, and as a mother of two aggressive lively horrors girls, I resent the "of course you must have it so easy with girls" line.
Neuroscience shows there is actually no difference between female and male brains.

ICBINEG Wed 31-Jul-13 13:14:50

I love this makes me proud to be an MNetter. we have like 98% of respondents easily and vocally pointing out what a pile of wank the gender stereotyping in the OP really is.

Not all such threads go so well...but today I love you guys!

inde Wed 31-Jul-13 13:27:16

Neuroscience shows there is actually no difference between female and male brains

Actually I think there is plenty of evidence that there are differences. This link for instance
Also there are peer reviewed studies by for instance Simon Baron Cohen that has shown not only differences between male and female brains but also behavioral differences attributed to the levels of testosterone at birth.

Totally agree Inde.

You can question the methodologies but that doesn't mean that there are no biological differences like Cordelia Fine would have us believe. It is easy to pick holes in objective scientific research for failing to control variable but such criticism doesn't really work if you are using purely qualitative methodologies yourself and can't hold your own work up to the same level of scrutiny.

20wkbaby Wed 31-Jul-13 13:59:41

I have two girls but by your standards my DD2 is actually a boy!

My DD1 is no angel either...

ConstantCraving Wed 31-Jul-13 14:09:57

YABU. DD is without a doubt TWICE as demanding and exhausting as my easy going happy-go-lucky DS. BUT that has nothing to do with their gender - its to do with their personalities.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 14:37:32

Simon Baron Cohen has built a career and a publishing catalogue on arguing that there are sex differences. He was a co-author (iirc) of the very badly designed 'newborn gaze' study which is trotted out so often. He is very much someone with a political agenda on one side of the argument. Yes, Cordelia Fine also comes from a political viewpoint, but Baron-Cohen is very entrenched. I've now read his exchanges with Cordelia Fine in the Psychologist (assuming I found the full lot with my online search) and I still feel Fine is the more balanced approach.

I don't agree that neuroscience has shown no differences between male and female brain - in fact, differences have been shown. Where I disagree is that we are at any point to show that those differences are innate, especially given what we now know about brain plasticity. And we tend to over-assume that differences on scans show certain things, when in fact those pretty lights could mean one of half a dozen things about how the brain is working.

Inde - What are the behaviour differences attributed to testosterone at birth? Are you talking about a study on newborn behaviour, or later behaviour with newborn testosterone levels? I am interested in having a read.

muddymarvellousdarling Wed 31-Jul-13 14:51:25

My boys were / are a lot easier than DD has ever been. She is bloody hard work at times.
DD is more "boy" like I hate that saying, sorry than my two DS.

inde Wed 31-Jul-13 15:04:56

What are the behaviour differences attributed to testosterone at birth? Are you talking about a study on newborn behaviour, or later behaviour with newborn testosterone levels? I am interested in having a read

That was actually taken from an interview with Baron Cohen. He said his studies had shown that males with lower testosterone levels at birth had greater empathy when tested at around eight.

What you seem to be saying Amanda is that we can thoroughly discount both Fine and baron Cohen as being biased. I'm not sure that is actually true. Baron Cohen has authored over 250 peer reviewed papers and is a world renowned expert on autism.
Also why do you say his study was badly designed? I know that Fine says it was but he disputed that in his review of her book in the Psychologist. In fact from memory I think he said that he had put checks and controls in place that negated Fine's criticism.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 16:15:27

No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that Baron-Cohen has a hypothesis and has built a career on that hypothesis. So he's bound to be dismissive of anything which argues against it.

I don't have my copy of Cordelia Fine with me (slightly concerned I've lent it to someone and forgotten actually as I can't find it anywere!). However, the biggest one was that the experimenter was one of the author's studies - ie. she knew the hypothesis. Also, she was also almost certainly aware of the gender of the babies she was testing. The tests were carried out on post natal wards. When he was tackled on this Baron-Cohen has stated that they were gender blinded in 95% of situations, but it's not clear where he got that figure from and has offered no evidence of how that was the case when the babies were just tested on the ward around all their belonging and without control clothing. It's really odd not to make greater efforts to blind such a study if you are going to then rely on it so heavily in the future (fine as an initial study with a lot of caveats, but that's not how he has used it since).

Bearing in mind we are talking about dangling two items in front of a baby, it is massively easy to influence (including sub-consciously) the baby's response by being a bit more 'bouncy' and lively with one item rather than the other. And the face was the actual human face of the experimenter, so there's masses of room for differences. There is no suggestion of intentional fixing of the result, but equally why did they not 'blind' the study as to the gender of the participants and have an experimenter who didn't necessarily know what was being tested. Baron Cohen's response was that it was hard enough to get a newborns attention in any event so they didn't use computer faces, but didn't really respond to the rest as far as I'm aware. Baron-Cohen's response was also that they knew about this so an independent panel coded the baby's gaze. That is no help if the baby has already been influenced by the behaviour of the experimenter.

There were also issues to do with how the items were presented. And that much cited 'mechanical mobile' was, IIRC, actually a ball with an abstract face on it. So all the much hyped preference a mechanical mobile wasn't what most of us would think of as 'mechanical' in the first place. It could show that the boys were more confused by the ball as much as showing preference for it. The mere fact of a newborn looking doesn't tell us why they were looking.

I simply don't accept that Baron-Cohen's controls were good enough for the reliance he has since placed on, and the prominence he has given, that study. His responses don't negate the criticisms in a lot of important areas.

I'll look for the testosterone/age 8 stuff. Thanks.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 16:16:19

Sorry, words missing 'built a popular publishing career'. Although I know nothing about his status as an autism expert, I'm not intending to negate that aspect of his work.

inde Wed 31-Jul-13 16:47:26

As I said earlier though Amanda, Baron Cohen said in his review of her book that Fine's criticism was inaccurate. I was saying that from memory but i have now had a fresh look. This is a quote from the review.

Secondly, she argues that the experimenter may not have been totally blind to the baby’s sex because there might have been ‘congratulations’ cards around the bed* (‘Congratulations! It’s a boy!’).
However, she overlooks that it was precisely for this reason that we included a panel of independent judges coding the videotapes of just the eye-region of the baby’s face, from which it is virtually impossible to judge the sex of the baby. Fine is right that our newborn baby study needs to be independently replicated, given its importance establishing a human sex difference in the mind at a point in development before culture has had a chance to have any influence. But it is an example of where Fine’s scholarship shows some shortcomings, where details are overlooked in order to fit her biology-free theory of human sex differences.

end of quote

So if Baron Cohen is telling the truth, and it's impossible for me to imagine that he would lie about such an important and easily corroborated detail, then that criticism is dead in the water. If true it also brings into question how much fact checking Fine does before criticising gender research in her book.
Link to review is here.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 16:53:04

No, the coding of the video wasn't her criticism.

Baron-Cohen is saying that it was an independent panel who coded where the baby was looking. They did this from video tapes. That is a panel who are not involved in the experiment recording where the baby looked.

Fine is saying that the experimenter was not blind to gender. I.e. the person making the faces and waggling the 'mobile' often knew whether she was doing so to a boy or a girl. She's saying that the influence potentially came at where the baby was looking, not how it was later coded.

Put bluntly, it doesn't matter if the person coding the videos doesn't know the gender if the person making the faces has already influenced where they looked.

The two are talking about two totally different time points in the experiment and Baron-Cohen's answer doesn't leave Fine's criticism 'dead in the water' at all. In fact, it purports to answer it, but much like politicians purport to answer things on Question Time- he answers a totally different issue to the one she raised.

inde Wed 31-Jul-13 17:23:51

Having read your reply I admit I went to far with my "dead in the water " comment but I still find it easier to believe someone at the cutting edge of peer reviewed research.
You say he has a hypothesis and built a career on it. I think I'm correct in saying that his career is based mostly on research into autism.
My belief is that we might think, and every right thinking individual might think that girls and boys are equal and should be given equal opportunities. Nature doesn't see it that way though. It's only concern is the continuation of the species. Nature through evolution prepares males and females for different roles in life. It makes males taller, more muscular. It even gives females softer voices. It would be amazing if it didn't also create gender differences in our brains. Of course in a modern society that doesn't give us any right to dictate to females (or males) what their role in life should be.

The last paragraph of Baron Cohen's book is right I think.

Ultimately, for me, the biggest weakness of Fine’s neurosexism allegation is the mistaken blurring of science with politics. Her book reads as a polemic about the implicit political bias underlying the science of sex differences. However, this ignores that you can be a scientist interested in the nature of sex differences while being a clear supporter of and a firm opponent of all forms of discrimination in society. One endeavour need have nothing to do with the other. Fusing science with politics is, in my view, unfounded.
End of quote

Believing that males and females are different (other than the obvious physical differences) doesn't mean you should be treated with less respect or to have less opportunities.

hothereinnit Wed 31-Jul-13 17:27:59

There is a lot of mumbling and grumbling about Simon Baron-Cohen within the autistic community (and I mean both amongst people with autism, and also amongst people who research into autism).

I think Amanda's summation is not too far off, tbh - that he has a hypothesis, and he has built his career since on that hypothesis (a hypothesis which ignores a very large part of the subject he is hypothesising about, but hey <shrug>).

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 17:31:58

I did correct the typo regarding his career in my next post - I meant to say his popular publishing career.

For many people Baron-Cohen is not considered cutting edge of peer reviewed research in this area.

I am afraid I don't agree with his conclusion. I agree far more with Fine's. You might have to flick through the pages to get to her letter

The idea of saying 'well we're different but equal' is very problematic for me. It gives a massive get out to not making enough attempts at eradicating gender discrimination and bias. Because you can always fall back on what's left being nature. I would rather that we worked to establish gender equality and then, if and when we succeed, what's left might be nature. Nature is a get out clause - not enough women in engineering, oh well, you tried, they were programmed from birth not to like mechanical items.

larrygrylls Wed 31-Jul-13 17:42:28

"Larry - I wasn't guided away from science by my school per se. But I was definitely guided away from physics by the way it was taught. It was all cars and vehicles and gears and cogs. Things that, as a girl, I had spent a lifetime being conditioned away from. I wish they'd spent more time teaching about space and the wonders of the universe. I might not have dropped it like a hot coal then. It makes me sad sometimes to think of the careers I might have had."

I find this really interesting.

Unfortunately, you just cannot study the wonders of the universe without studying basic mechanics first. It is just too difficult.( You can now do an astronomy GCSE but it is really qualitative, and even the A level is quite simplistic quantitatively). If you do, it will be more like geography than science. There are ways (and some amazing new tools, as I recently found out) to make basic mechanics more interesting. However, as someone who studied physics, I am curious as to why some basic questions just don't seem as interesting to some as they do to me.

I do wonder how many parents (who may have been put off physics in their turn) discuss really basic questions with their young children, such as asking them why they think a ball comes down if they throw it up, whether if they threw it hard enough it would still come down (theoretically it would not, although you could not throw that hard), why the sky is blue, why cars cannot keep going faster and faster but have a top speed etc. I have discussed all the above with my 2 and 4 year old boys and had some interesting (and some bizarre) answers. However, hopefully I have at least made them feel that the way the world works (which is intrinsically what physics is) is a fascinating subject. I hope that, as they grow older, and develop the mathematical tools to understand the above better, they will have various "aha" moments and find the subject exciting. I do not have daughters but cannot imagine not having exactly the same conversations with them. Of course, I really like physics! However, I do think that far more girls would also like it if they realised what it consisted of in essence and had their parents set an example of finding it interesting and exciting.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 17:46:42

No, I agree that you have to have a basic founding. But that doesn't have to be bloody cars every single time. As you illustrate, balls, sky, etc can all be used in their place. But it was cars. And cars on ramps. Every. Bloody. Time. I'm glad you are thinking more broadly smile

And we could spend a bit less time investing cars with a gendered preference.

It really wasn't, in my case, a dislike of the theory. I loved pure mathematics and statistics. I am sure I could have loved mechanics had it been taught better.

inde Wed 31-Jul-13 18:35:29

The idea of saying 'well we're different but equal' is very problematic for me. It gives a massive get out to not making enough attempts at eradicating gender discrimination and bias. Because you can always fall back on what's left being nature. I would rather that we worked to establish gender equality and then, if and when we succeed, what's left might be nature. Nature is a get out clause - not enough women in engineering, oh well, you tried, they were programmed from birth not to like mechanical items..

The problem is though Amanda that in Scandinavian countries, which are supposed to be way ahead of us in promoting gender equality, they have apparently found that encouraging girls into engineering doesn't work. If they actively try and push them into "male" professions they found that any small increase in those taking up those jobs fell off as soon as the encouragement stopped. There is a theory that girls are more hard wired to take up jobs in caring professions like nursing etc.. I know this is anathema to most feminists but lets assume for a minute it is true. What that means is that fighting to get equal numbers of males and females in different jobs is doomed to failure. It also means that by fighting to get more females into "male" professions, feminists are making it seem that jobs males do are more important than those women do. I know the answer will be that female" jobs are already undervalued and that is certainly true. Suggesting that jobs in the building trade or engineering etc. are of greater importance doesn't help women though if most of then are unwilling to take up those jobs.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 18:43:36

I'm not talking about encouraging women into engineering. I am talking about, at a wider societal level, trying to wipe out gender stereotyping and bias.

I agree that intervention at such a late stage is very unlikely to be particularly effective for any but a small number of people. But the idea that we can think that women are 'hard wired' for nursing and caring when they've been trained for it since the day they were born makes no sense to me. It seems that, if there is such hard wiring, we will find it difficult to know against that background. And also that that background explains, at least in part, why intervention at A-level, etc is so weak.

We need to focus on the stereotyping in early childhood that many people have described here, alongside a lot of other things.

I think that the way we treat boys and girls currently is rather Brave New World TBH.

inde Wed 31-Jul-13 19:11:23

I'm not talking about encouraging women into engineering. I am talking about, at a wider societal level, trying to wipe out gender stereotyping and bias.

Yes I know but the Scandinavian countries are (apparently) far ahead of us in their efforts to wipe out gender stereotyping. You would have thought that this plus encouraging girls to take up jobs in engineering would have started to bear fruit. Even the minister for equality had to admit it wasn't working. In fact they closed down the Nordic gender institute which was funded by millions of euros a year after a backlash due to lack of progress. So if we assume for a moment that gender differences are real from birth. And that they are probably exaggerated as we reach our teens by hormone levels then that would mean that trying to achieve a society free from gender differences is doomed to failure.

larrygrylls Wed 31-Jul-13 19:12:55

I think there are two discussions going on here. Firstly, how differently are girls and boys hardwired. Personally I suspect more than most on this thread would believe.

However, and it is a big "however", I think a parent and teacher's job is to engage all children with a whole spectrum of different ideas and allow the child to be the guide as to where they want to go. There is no reason to change these ideas due to the sex of the child. It would be great to see more female physicists and we have to put girls in place where they see this as both possible and desirable. And this does need to take place from an early age.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 19:27:12

As I've said quite a few times, I'm willing to believe that we're hard wired in some ways. I just don't think any of the supposed 'proof' out there actually proves it.

But my bigger issue is that parents and teachers can't do this on their own. Society has to do the things you say. Society has to stop boxing our children in with assumptions and stereotypes.

larrygrylls Wed 31-Jul-13 19:42:48

Society is parents and teachers. And it is frequently intelligent women who are the worst offenders. Plenty of my Cambridge educated female friends are quite happy to claim that science is boring and similar. They are the ones setting an example to their daughters.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 19:48:18

No, it isn't. Society is parents and teachers and everyone else. Though I agree that other parents (sadly, most commonly mothers) are often the worst offenders. I seem to spend a lot of my time shock at the things other mothers come out with.

Parmarella Wed 31-Jul-13 19:54:37

Mums are always to blame for everything, even accrding to other women.

So fucking depressing.

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Wed 31-Jul-13 20:00:37

If you meant that to me Parma, that wasn't what I said. And I do spend much more time with mums than with dads. But I do notice a lot of stereotyping coming from other parents.

ZingWidge Wed 31-Jul-13 20:17:30

OP a friend of mine has 5 girls who are not at all easier than our 5 boys, so she is far from smug!

and our 15 months old DD is no different from the boys at this age - you know, braking stuff, climbing on stuff, eating her own poo...

OP if you think boys are worse/harder work than girls than why would you wish more struggling for anyone? that's not nice

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