Boys. Are they really that different?

(90 Posts)
sedgieloo Mon 31-Dec-12 09:04:41

I have a two year old girl. I just had a baby boy a few weeks ago. We did not find out the gender and we are thrilled.

I've been on the advice boards quite a bit, as one does with a newborn and a challenging toddler.

I'm noticing quite a few threads suggesting boys are high energy destructive little brutes who take ages to learn to talk and difficult to tame. That is to say, far fewer such threads relating to girls.

Is there something I should know? Ought I be reading that raising boys book?

If I find a thread I will link, but they go like this; 'why is my toddler destructive and does he have ADHD?', and tons of replies like this; 'normal. All my boys are like this. My dd would sit doing crafts for hours, you need to take them for 3 mile walks x2 a day'

Just wondering hmm

Bonsoir Mon 31-Dec-12 09:08:32

There is definitely something in it! Keep an eye on the amount of time your DS needs to spend outdoors burning off energy and don't discipline him just because he hasn't been taken outside enough!

3littlefrogs Mon 31-Dec-12 09:16:33

Destructive little brutes?? No - I would never use those words.

I had 2 boys, then a little girl.

My little boys were very high energy, very loud, full of mischief, yes - one was a smasher, the other was a dissector - I did have to put everything out of reach and take them out for long walks regularly. But boys are very loving, and fun.

My dd was much calmer, less destructive, less physical.

That is only my experience. There is evidence that boys' brains develop differently, and that their needs are slightly different as they grow. That doesn't mean that you should stereotype, but that a bit of knowledge and insight is helpful.

I did find the Steve Biddulph book "Raising boys" very helpful.

Every child is different.

At 14, dd is still gentle, calm, independent, resourceful and wise beyond her years.

Ds1 is still very much an "individual" (eccentric, but clever). Ds 2 still likes to explode things, but is very kindhearted.

Don't know if that helps....grin

WidowWadman Mon 31-Dec-12 09:17:30

I'm convinced that if my second child had been a boy, everybody would say she is the way she is, because she's a boy. As it is, she is just herself (and would have been as a boy too.)

I can only recommend letting both your children be themselves without worrying about gendered traits or pressing them into roles.

Also, read Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine which explains very well why "boys are like this and girls are like that" is simply tosh.

I find my DS charges about the house by 3pm if he hasn't been outside so rainy days are hard. He is 2.6.
Developmentally versus his big sister
He spoke his first word earlier, crawled and walked earlier, has a larger and further reaching vocab than she did at same age.
He counts and is learning phonics at preschool which I am told is his favourite activity.

Yes he pretends he is superman and is much more physical than his sister. I have very strict rules about climbing on me, the sofa, bouncing on bed etc. he needs a long walk everyday!

As he has a big sis though, he likes to do as she does so is happy to sit with pens and paper (albeit for a fraction of the time).

He hugs kisses and loves me far more openly than his sister. He makes me laugh more and probably gets away with more low level stuff, but he doesn't negotiate everything like his sister!

Tee2072Thing Mon 31-Dec-12 09:20:38

My boy isn't a 'destructive little brute'. He's a bit loud, yes. And needs at least
one good walk/run around a day (small boys are like dogs, after all).

But he's also the snuggliest snugglier in the world. Loves to curl up on me and be read to or just watch TV.

He's not much for creative stuff, but that he gets from his dad (I'm a graphic artist!) and prefers trains to anything else.

Boys are awesome!

Devora Mon 31-Dec-12 09:21:11

I've only got girls, so I don't really know. But I'm fairly convinced that individual variation is at least as important as gender difference. I know plenty of quiet, sensitive boys, and equal numbers of boisterous girls.

Not in my experience so far. I have a DS who is just 3. He has spent a happy two hours this morning sticking and crafting, has always been very easy going, chilled out and his pre-school say his emotional intelligence is above expected for his age. He currently loves his doll and doll's buggy, and doesn't have a great need to run around like a whirlwind. DD is 16 mo. She is so noisy, is a climber, has massive tantrums and loves cars and dinosaurs.
Of the kids we know, the boys and girls are split fairly equally between calm/noisy boys and calm/noisy girls.
I think their personality and age has more influence than gender at pre-school age. I think it's so easy to be influenced by how we have been taught boys and girls should behave that when they do something stereotypical for their gender, we use it as confirmation of our beliefs being correct and when they do something which doesn't fit in with the stereotype, we dismiss it as an oddity.

Devora Mon 31-Dec-12 09:22:10

Oh, and my girls definitely need to get out for a run in the fresh air every day, or there's hell to pay.

BooCanary Mon 31-Dec-12 09:24:56

I've got a dd and a Ds, but they are their own little people iyswim, and it is difficult to know what 'traits' are gender related and what are personality related. And of course what is peer-related (ie Ds pretends his hand is a gun - and that is behaviour picked up in school from peers!).

Saying that, ds has always been more physical - was earlier walking and later talking. Dd was earlier talking and is more studious. But a lot of this could be put down pfb vs PSB behaviour ( dd likes company of adults and ds likes big cuddles with mummy!!).

Wanted to add about the outside time stuff. DD is in school, it's a 6 min walk. Since Sept when he was 2.3 he has walked her there and back everyday. I rush him there and we doodle back looking at whatever he wants.

This is sufficient walking for him! Outside time is just a ball or golf club (he is very coordinated!) in back garden. Fresh air perhaps is the key.

Dd was in a buggy still at that age. He has refused his buggy since about 18m. I do not ever go to the shops with him but I could with her.

TrazzleMISTLEtoes Mon 31-Dec-12 09:29:22

DS is kind, gentle, loving and calm. He does not need to be exercised like a dog.

DD is still a baby but she is already a little terror grin.

Children will have the personalities they are born with. You can't generalise 100% on sex.

N0tinmylife Mon 31-Dec-12 09:30:45

Yes, boys really are that different, each one is an individual, just like girls! I have a DS who fits some of the stereotypes, lots of energy noise etc, although he was quick to talk, and is not badly behaved, and at times he can be incredibly sweet and gentle. I also have a nephew who is a gentle quiet soul, loves anything arty, drawing, music, dancing, and cuddles with his Mum.

fortyplus Mon 31-Dec-12 09:31:46

I've got 2 boys aged 17 and 19. They both spoke early (ds1 could speak in sentences at 18 months). They've always taken great care of their possessions, been kind caring people and far less noisy than some of the squealing girls they've had round to play! They still have both male and female friends. Ds2's gf is down to Earth, both academic and sporty. Just as happy piling on the glamour for a party or grovelling in the mud outside.

I'm sure it's nurture not nature. The only thing mine ever did that I wondered was 'instinctively make' was pick up sticks out on walks in the woods. They seemed to take more of an interest in sticks than my friends' DDs. Not too difficult to cope with! grin

fortyplus Mon 31-Dec-12 09:32:32

oops - 'instinctively male '

lola88 Mon 31-Dec-12 09:33:00

DS is deff high energy and very rough and tumble was laughing his head off yesterday while DP pushed him playfully away from the laptop if he done the same to DNiece at that age she would have cried her eyes out. He is constantly on the go getting dirty and climbing over/up everything but then again he might have been like that as a girl i've no way to tell.

I have noticed a difference from DNiece where she would want to sit on my knee listening to me talk and be involved in everything i do DS is happy to go play alone as long as i'm near and not doing anything intersting (like eating)

BonkeyMollocks Mon 31-Dec-12 09:33:55

My ds is and always has been.high energy but.in a good way.

Yes everyday a effort needs.to be.made.for.him.to.burn off come team.outside (but then i.would.do.this anyway) . He does.not shut up but he is.lovely!

Very polite. Well behaved mostly , always in other peoples company. Very caring. Very independent .

If i could choose I would have another boy if we have another.

I remember what i was like as a teenage girl! hmm

lola88 Mon 31-Dec-12 09:35:38

I should point out that DS has crawled and started to talk quicker than DNiece did he's 11mo and can say 7 words she could only say hiya and mama then won't shut up now through

Meglet Mon 31-Dec-12 09:37:22

How spooky, I was just coming on to say the same as fortyplus. The only difference between my 6yo DS and 4yo DD is that DS will always find sticks to wave about, or he'll make his Duplo / mecanno into a sword.

Other than that they are just as energetic and shouty as each other. No difference in the rates they reached developmental milestones, speaking, potty training etc and he is doing very well at school, certainly not a 'lazy boy' stereotype.

ExasperatedSigh Mon 31-Dec-12 09:38:57

My kids sound like Trazzle's. DS (4) is laidback, sweet, silly, loud, bouncy and kind. DD (17mo) is fierce, direct, hilarious, noisy, tantrummy and very quick (in every sense!) Both are as physical as any other young child I've known, which is to say that all kids seem to love running, climbing, bouncing, jumping etc. if given the chance. I see lots of parents discouraging their small girls from exploring physical boundaries e.g. in the playground which makes me really sad.

WidowWadman speaks sense imo. They are just small people, first and foremost, worth appreciating for who rather than what they are.

I've got 2 of each. The 2 boys are more different from each other than either of the girls.

One of my boys, the eldest, is and always has been an easy, laid back, chatty, sensitive, cuddly boy. He is now 12.

The youngest is almost 3 and is like a tornado. He jumps and leaps and throws and play fights and can be quite aggressive at times. He is much more fiery. I always said boys were easier than girls, but little ds has disproved my theory!

I encourage ds 1 to do more outside things, like football and climbing trees and I encourage ds2 to sit quietly sometimes and do something that he needs to focus on. I believe in encouraging balance, in both sexes, regardless of what seems to come naturally.

needsadviceplease Mon 31-Dec-12 09:58:39

Is there anything else where an average sample size of 2.6 (ie one family's subjective experience of gender) is taken to have any meaning?

All bollocks imho. That Biddulph book sent me into a rage. Reductive bollocks.

bruffin Mon 31-Dec-12 10:00:40

My ds and dd developed very differently.
Ds couldnt do something one day, then was an expert the next.
Speach appeared a lot slower but 2 days before 2nd birthday he swallowed a dictionery over night and was spouting new words all day. He walked at 10months and missed crawling.
Dd did everything gradually going through every stage.

ubik Mon 31-Dec-12 10:07:07

needsadvice - I agree

my eldest DD is like a labrador, she is very physical, high energy and needs plenty of exercise.

equally i know a few little boys happy to read books, build lego and colour in

it's all about personality differences rather than sex but as children develop they are also 'moulded' into behaving in a gender characteristic way according to societal norms.

I find families with a boy and a girl will often see more marked gender differences but i think this is more to do with siblings trying to differentiate themselves from each other.

well I can only give you anecdote

If my chaps didn't get a decent run, sometimes two, a day they were DREADFUL. Now they are older (young teens/pre teens) they are calmer but still excitable and do heaps of sport to channel that energy

And of course access to fresh air and exercise, room to run and run and run, opportunities to challenge self physically are not solely male pursuits smile

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