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

Smudging Mon 31-Dec-12 10:16:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RubyrooUK Mon 31-Dec-12 10:17:03

I need a regular physical run out or I go mad. Last time I checked I was female. In fact I am currently in a huff in my bedroom as DH and DS are happy to sit around cuddling, reading and playing imaginative games with dolls and dinosaurs. I am desperate to go out and run around....and they are jus embarking on a nice but of drawing.

smile

So I think personality has more to do with it than anything else.

StellaNova Mon 31-Dec-12 10:19:59

Before I had children I firmly thought that any gender differences (apart from the obvious!) were solely down to the way boys and girls are treated differently, in very subtle ways as well as big ways, from birth.

But having had two boys I have revised my opinion! I don't think one can make sweeping statements like "all boys are X", but I do think, in general, more boys are innately - not destructive little brutes but, how can I say, more active, more competitive/ fighty/ physical - and in my experience. less inclined to sleep. My mum had three girls and she says she definitely notices a difference (my sister hasd two boys also).

I know girls can be like that too, and boys can be quieter, I'm just saying in general this is how I am seeing it with my boys, boys I know and girls I know.

Tincletoes Mon 31-Dec-12 10:21:41

I have 2 boys and 1 girl. They are all very different and I put nearly everything down to personality rather than gender. DD does like dolls more than the boys did, but she is also much more keen on climbing things and ball games.

The only thing I put down to gender is that I've noticed her fine motor skills are better and I think generally that it has been shown girls develop those earlier. But that's the only thing I'm not putting down to personality.

Iggly Mon 31-Dec-12 10:21:42

Boys on average develop physically ahead of girls. There will always be exceptions - its just an average. So yes, boys need more physical outlets on average. They also need physical play with their dads.

My boy is typical in that respect - walking at 10 months and very physically developed by 3. He's ahead of his peers in that respect but about average for other stuff and a little behind socially.

DD is only 13 months but she walked two months later than him and likes "reading". Who knows if she'll be a typical boy.

Just take your boy as he comes. Make sure he gets plenty of positive attention from male role models (this is why male teachers are important. DS adores his male preschool teachers!) and lots of outdoor play - again on average boys learn in a practical way with their hands and doing stuff. Suits them more.

Iggly Mon 31-Dec-12 10:22:22

*typical girl blush <sorry DD>

LurcioLovesFrankie Mon 31-Dec-12 10:22:42

My DS needs enormous amounts of exercise - but is also affectionate, has cars' tea-parties in the dolls house, plays with his toy kitchen, loves drawing, is beginning to get into writing (in reception) and shows signs of having much neater handwriting than me. And we have sword fights and play goodies and baddies lots too (but so does his little female friend up the road too).

Had a big party on Saturday - 12 children in the house at one point, 10 of them boys under 7. My Dad commented afterwards how affectionate and gentle the little boys were with the two babies (one at the walking stage, other at the cruising and wobbling stage). This led us onto a discussion of how gender stereotypes really short-change boys as well as girls: little boys are naturally nurturing and socially aware, and as a parent you can either encourage this and produced rounded, happy human beings, or inflict the stiff-upper-lip, boys don't cry, "little monster" t-shirt stereotypes on them and condemn them to an adulthood of being emotionally stunted and messed up.

Enjoy your little boy! I'm having a fantastic time with my DS.

Tolly81 Mon 31-Dec-12 10:24:51

I agree with pp who said about individual differences just as important. I have three very young nieces who I'd say are average in terms of energy levels. My nephew (now 6) was/is fairly similar to them in terms of energy and physicality. My DD is completely different. When she is awake she's like a tornado. If held or sitting on someone's knee she bounces and climbs all over. She is pulling to stand and attempting to walk at 7.5months which of course she can't yet do properly but just wants to throw herself into everything. She's hilarious but very energetic. My mum (who had 5 children, 3 boys 2 girls) just shakes her head and laughs. Apparently she is just like my youngest brother but the rest of us weren't like that. I also think that burning off a bit of excess energy helps all children sleep better, eat better and concentrate better.

BedHog Mon 31-Dec-12 10:26:44

I haven't noticed a huge amount of difference between DS and DD. DS is a bit more energetic and into bike riding etc., whereas DD prefers music and drawing, but that probably has as much to do with personality as gender.

I think the problem lies with other people's children. So many people bring their children up in a gender stereotyped way, often without realising it, and as children naturally seem to gravitate towards those of their own sex, the 'boyness' or 'girlness' seems to multiply the more children are playing together. Eg. if DS is playing with a group of boys, there will always be at least one who is loud and rough and aggressive and somehow all the boys end up playing in a boisterous way. But I know when he plays with his female friends they will play in a more traditionally female way (usually involving him dressing up in a leotard or fairy dress!) Peer influence has a strong effect.

Pantomimedam Mon 31-Dec-12 10:27:05

I think each individual is just that, an individual. My ds is not the same as every other little boy I know and nor is my niece the same as every other little girl.

However, society certainly treats boys and girls differently from the moment they are born. People constantly give them messages about what boys and girls are and what their gender roles are. There have been experiments where a baby is put in a pink babygrow - everyone treats them gently and talks about how pretty they are. And the same baby in a blue babygrow and everyone talks about how strong they are. With toddlers, people will assume boys are pointing at a car and make 'vroom vroom' noises, even if it could be any of dozens of different objects.

You can't make generalisations about the innate preferences and talents of boys and girls without stripping out social conditioning, and it's impossible to strip out the social conditioning that starts the moment they are born. (Even I caught myself saying 'Mummy's little soldier' to baby ds, which is bizarre given we don't have any soldiers in the family and I'm fully aware of all this conditioning - it just tripped off my tongue!)

orangeandlemons Mon 31-Dec-12 10:28:05

We have 3 boys and dd. all the boys were laid back, easy going, never ever caused any problems. They have all left home now, the worse thing they ever did, was one of them purloined a small council recycling box and was bought home by the police!

Dd is demanding, awkward and contrary. Still lovely but more difficult than all the other 3 combined

pictish Mon 31-Dec-12 10:29:36

I have two boys and a girl.
My eldest boy is 11. He has never been destructive or anything like a brute.

My middle child is a boy - he just turned 5. He's not destructive or a brute either.
My daughter will be 4 in Feb. No destruction or brutishness.

In my book, being destructive or a brute is intolerable behaviour. I wouldn't write it off as boys being boys. It's children being naughty.

Pantomimedam Mon 31-Dec-12 10:30:33

iggly, boys on average develop gross motor skills at a younger age than girls, but girls on average develop fine motor skills at a younger age than boys. Who knows whether this is innate or to do with conditioning that means boys are given more opportunities/encouragement to develop gross skills and girls more opportunities to develop fine skills... and it's only averages anyway, plenty of individuals will not be average.

ds didn't walk until 17 months, btw. So your girl who is walking at 13 months is way ahead of my boy!

SoupDragon Mon 31-Dec-12 10:31:37

IME (2 boys, one girl) boys are basically simpler. My DD is way more complicated then her brothers. Obviously each child is different in personality etc but I do think there is a difference between the genders.

DS1 is calm and laid back, DS2 hugely challenging and hyper but both are basically straightforward. DD is between the two personality wise but more complicated to handle.

orangeandlemons Mon 31-Dec-12 10:33:20

Exactly Soupdragon. Boys are less complex and more straightforward

I have a little boy, he's the most loveable little thing in the world. Yes, he's more physical than other children but well that's just the way he is. He isn't destructive, nor is he a brute. I feel very sad that boys as a gender are made out to be horrid little creatures, over supposedly perfect little girls. sad

My little boy loves pretend cooking, playing dress up and gravitates towards babies so he can help look after them. He also adores sticker books and paints. He also loves being outside and has ruined so many trousers getting stuck into the great outdoors that I'm thinking of taking out shares in cotton. He is who he is, he shouldn't be defined by his gender alone.

LurcioLovesFrankie Mon 31-Dec-12 10:34:58

Bedhog and Pantomime are spot-on about gender stereotyping kicking in early. Lise Elliot (neurologist, author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain) recounts a fascinating experiment. Babies round about 9 months were dressed in white babygrows and left with adults who didn't know them in a room with inclined ramps, and allowed to explore. The boys and girls both tackled ramps of the same steepness. Then the babies were put in the room with their mothers. Mothers of boys correctly estimated the maximum steepness their babies could manage. Mothers of girls consistently underestimated what their babies were capable of. (There's another experiment, can't remember where I read about it, where even younger babies were dressed at random in blue or pink - adults picked up the blue-clad babies facing outwards, and took them round the room to explore, while the pink babies were dandled on knees facing in and told they were beautiful).

I was reminded of the ramp experiment one day in the park when DS was about 3. He was hurtling down a hill, and I was wondering whether I had plasters in my bag (normal risk-assessment on my part - are we looking at serious injury or just splat-ouch?). His two girl friends of the same age followed him, and their parents immediately started telling them to slow down and be careful - clearly "just splat-ouch" wasn't an acceptable level of risk as far as they were concerned.

ubik Mon 31-Dec-12 10:36:11

oh chist are we still going on with the girls=complex/devious stuff

sedgieloo Mon 31-Dec-12 10:38:29

Thanks for all the replies! I only mumsnet on my phone when bf and just checked back. I only just found the parenting board. I have referenced the behaviour and development one a lot so this may explain my exposure to many 'problem' threads.

I need to read the replies properly, but would add that whereas i have not thought about this before, my assumption has been that it is a question of individuals/personality over gender. I was a little on the hyper side as a child and put my mum through her paces. Of my two brothers one was very shy and content and thoughtful. The other more like myself and am incredibly early talker. My dd is herself very exuberant but she does ask to go in her high chair to do drawing or plasticine, and will play alone for ages. She is a very very early talker.

It was my midwives comment that first got me thinking. As she discharged me she said, my advice regarding boys is treat them like puppies feed them up and exercise them well if you skip one of those there will be hell to pay.

I began to mention this to friends with boys and they seemed to heartily agree. So I got to wondering. Ill have a good read of your comments now. Thank you.

I do not think you can generalise on the grounds of a child's sex as to behaviour. Every child has their issues - personality, age difference between siblings, order of birth .... It is just too simple to nail it down to a single factor.

I think you have to take advice dor what it is - just a suggestion that may or not work for you. I have a very active, immature 6yo boy and it soes him and me a disservice by putting it all down to 'just being a boy'

LurcioLovesFrankie Mon 31-Dec-12 10:40:32

I think the "more complex" thing depends on the child. DS has a good friend from back at nursery who is naughty (not in a malicious way, more in an experimental, "what will happen if" sort of way - the results are actually very funny in a Just William sort of way). Now they're at school, DS is getting mature enough to realise he doesn't actually want to be drawn into his friend's madcap schemes; simultaneously the friend is attracting a new gang of followers who are more biddable. DS quite often comes home from school a bit upset saying "X wouldn't play with me at lunchtime", or "X doesn't like me as much as he used to", but will also say things like "I don't want to play with X 'cos he makes me be naughty". The complications seem just as intense and fraught as those I've heard mothers of girls ascribe to "typical girl friendships".

ReturnToPlanetVenus Mon 31-Dec-12 10:40:35

I have 2 boys: DS1 (4) who spoke very early and walked quite late, and now spends his days quietly playing lego and trains, colouring in and drawing, helping me in the kitchen etc, is extremely (overly) conscientious at school, gentle, sensitive, hesitant in large groups (e.g. parties) and seems quite complex to me. DS2 (almost 2) doesn't speak much and doesn't sit still either - likes to jump off things, climb the furniture and generally behave in a slightly feral manner. So IMO although there may be a slight gender bias towards personality types, all children are different and gender isn't that much of a predictor as to how your child will turn out.

SoupDragon Mon 31-Dec-12 10:42:49

oh chist are we still going on with the girls=complex/devious stuff

You're the only one who appears to have mentioned devious hmm

Care to elaborate?

amck5700 Mon 31-Dec-12 10:49:43

Oh my god, the fecking sticks!!!! or sometimes even logs.....

Since toddlerhood - amazingly every stick is different and this one has a lovely pattern and that one looks like a gun/catapult/cat hmm

Tantrums when we refused to load yet another oddly shaped lump of wood into the boot of the car to take home.

The obsession continues - then it was collecting in volume with a wheelbarrow in order to have a fire.......now (age 11 and 12) it is whittling them into stuff - bows and arrows mainly and my driveway is contantly covered in wood shavings.

Please tell me it will stop!!

As for the girl/boy thing, I agree a lot of it is personality and assumptions - the girls in our extended family were always wilder than the boys.

My own boys were energetic and liked a good wrestle, but were equally happily doing play-doh/lego/crafts.

All children [and adults] need a good bit of fresh air and exercise every day.

Feelingdetached Mon 31-Dec-12 10:52:08

Dd is 11 months she is high spirited

She is into everything more than her older brother

Shouts and mews until she gets what she wants (not always )

0 to 60 screaming if you do something she doesn't like.

The differences are quite remarkable, we are trying not to expect her to be a complete little rip of a tomboy.

Tolly81 Mon 31-Dec-12 10:52:27

Gender stereotypes are harmful. They are labels and labels are not helpful to children. Having three older brothers I would play with toy cars, Lego and same outdoor games as older DBs (unsurprisingly) but I was labelled a tomboy. Little girls aren't more complex by nature, we make them that way by reading more into their personalities. Completely unsurprised by the gender experiments above - my dh is one of 4 boys so paternal GPs have little experience of baby girls and all they do with my very energetic dd is coo at her while she tries to escape to play or looks bored!

sweetkitty Mon 31-Dec-12 10:53:02

We have 3DDs then a DS, DS is now 2.7yo and yes I have noticed a difference.

DD2 is a complete tomboy by the time she was 18 months she hated dolls and anything girly. So we have had a collection of boys and girls toys. DS goes for anything with wheels, he's obsessed with cars and trains, he will play with a pram but will put a train in it and use it to ram things!

He's a whirlwind, very physical, destructive and just mad at times. He's also the most outwardly affectionate, had the closest bond with me but lives the rough and tumble with his Dad. He also loves getting his hair done and clips put in it.

But then again all 3 girls are completely different. DD1 & 2 are so different from each other too.

I think half if it is nature half nurture.

TheSecondComing Mon 31-Dec-12 10:56:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CheeseStrawWars Mon 31-Dec-12 11:06:40

There are so many factors at play. Birth order, personality, role models, loads of things have an influence. I'm sure gender has some impact, but how you separate that from everything else going on I don't know.

DS is a second-born child - he's louder than DD, but is that because he's a boy, or because he's not got the same monopoly on parental attention as a PFB and has learned to "compete"? Or is it because I'm loud and it's a genetically inherited trait?

What is seen in girls as "feisty" or "spirited", is labelled in boys as "boisterous". It annoys me that girls are "supposed" to be one way and boys are "supposed" to be another. Let them be! I think you have to beware self-fulfilling prophesies and midwives who make sweeping stereotypes.

ubik Mon 31-Dec-12 11:07:00

Throughout history the prrceived 'complexity' of women has given tide to many rather unpalatable stereotypes; devious, scheming woman to be one, or emotional, volatile hysteric to be another.

I have one DD who wears her heart on her sleeve, cannot lie and another who is more complex. Yet I have also been fortunate to know some complex men too.

People are people.

But when children get to school you see how boys become more prone to outward displays of emotion and girls tend to internalise emotion:this is to do with our societal norms:what is behaviour us expected according to sex rather than and innate predisposition towards complexity.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Mon 31-Dec-12 11:07:22

It's down to parents and social influences (with the exception of children with SN or illness where there are other influences obvioulsy)

I am 3 months away from having a boy and have broached the subject of 'will he be a hell-raising, destructive, ball of energy' or 'will he be overly sensitive and easily picked on'. Not because I want to stereotype, but because I have no idea what he's going to be like and the toddler boys that I know (limited numbers admittedly) seem to fall into these categories.

Interesting to read other's experiences though and to realise that it isn't that simple and restricted. The same way that my daughter is more complex than just being obsessed with pink. She loved pink, but now blue is her favourite colour (over simplifying on my part but you catch my drift grin). She spoke early, walked early, is top of her class, has a talent for singing and dancing and her favourite past time is giving me a heart attack as she leaps over obstacles and climbs the highest tree. She is also a grade A whinger but is sensitive and considerate and empathetic. All recognised and commented on by school (not the whinging - she saves that for home).

My point, she fits into some stereotyping but not all. Just like my limited number of toddler boys fit into some stereotypes (that I focused on initially) but upon closer inspection/me being more open minded about boys vs girls, they are equally as complex as DD or, less complex dependent on the child and their upbringing, parental influences and social influences.

So, in my less-than-knowledgeable experience, it is down to how we perceive boys and girls should act. We do it without realising, without conscious effort.

On a slight tangent - baby clothes. Pink, blue or white. It is driving me effing mad. I want to buy clothes for Boy but don't want him head to bloody toe in blue, exactly the same as I didn't want DD head to toe in pink. I don't mind some colour, but it would seem the main supermarkets/stores where I can afford to shop are Pink section - for all your baby girl could ever need. Blue section (with 1/4 of the choice!) for all your little "tyke/monster" could ever need.

Rarr. Browns, greens, orange.....purple (anything that doesn't show stains I suppose) where do you get non-blue boy clothes from? <irrational rage>

<whispers> boden

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Mon 31-Dec-12 11:43:55

I have 4 kids (DS, DD, DD, DS). I've found they all go through a hyper stage and age out of it (still aging out of it at times), but the reaction to it is very different between DS1 and his sisters. Some people have acted very harshly when I've tried to calm him down and show him how to control his energy, whereas I've not gotten that at all with my DDs. It seems it's thought of as normal that a girl needs to learn how to calm herself down whereas for boys, it's unmasculine (yes, I've had this, or that I'm not realiing he's a boy/trying to take the boy out of him.) and that boys should only be calmed down by outside forces like being active/wearing out.

Out of all my children, DS1 is the calmest, though I'm not sure if that is an age thing yet or not but he was a very relaxed and chilled little one as well (from the womb, his first scan showed him with his feet propped up and his hands behind his head. Gets it from his father).

SoupDragon - I've had the 'girls are more manipulative/wrapping people around her finger to get she want/boys you can tell what they are thinking on the surface but not with girls' bollocks which sounds like what ubik is talking about.

Ephiny Mon 31-Dec-12 11:46:56

I second the recommendation to read Delusions of Gender. It's very readable, but it's also a good, systematic look at the evidence, which will hopefully be more useful to you than a bunch of anecdotes smile

Pantomimedam Mon 31-Dec-12 11:48:45

BALD, never has your MN name been more appropriate to a thread... grin

Some of my friends who are mothers have talked about girls having more emotional intelligence, that girls are more manipulative with their friends and it's worse when girls fall out because they can really twist the knife. But ds has some male friends who are just as skilled in that sense. They can get really nasty when they choose. I think the stereotype is just a stereotype, people comment on the stuff they choose to see as gender-related - if boys were so simple and the claim that they just fall out and then make up with no hidden agenda were true, politics would be dominated by women instead of men...

ReturnToPlanetVenus Mon 31-Dec-12 11:49:35

BrianCox - John Lewis do really nice boys' clothes in an assortment of non-blue colours, and they seem to have loads of boys' clothes in their sales. Mini Club (think that's what it's called now?) at Boots also has some nice bits. It's taken me years to work out where to buy nice clothes for my boys that do not have "I am a cheeky monkey/ scary dinosaur / pirate, please order me a pint" or similar printed across them.

amck5700 Mon 31-Dec-12 12:09:19

BrianCox - next have a range they are calling bright and beautiful that is very bright - they do do a lot fo pastel blue too, but also have some lovely grey and red as well as brighter stuff.

www.next.co.uk/boys/newborn-boys/bright-beautiful/1

www.next.co.uk/boys/newborn-boys/sweet-dreams/1

jammietart Mon 31-Dec-12 13:21:43

All children are different! I have a DD who needs to exercised twice a day and a DS who will sit at his desk and do art/ lego etc for hours. Individuals. Like the rest us.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Mon 31-Dec-12 14:13:20

Thanks for the recommendations - I think sales shopping in the higher end shops is the way forward then. Love the Next range - it is so bright and just a bit different to the standard blue on blue with an extra bit of blue and a 'cheeky' motif.

I got a lot of DD's clothes in Boots (again, in the sales) as they seemed to have a better choice and were really good quality - this is 9 years ago though, so good to know they still have some good bits.

amck5700 Mon 31-Dec-12 14:22:59

I've always found the next stuff good value and well made - 15 quid for 3 quality sleepsuits is pretty good going.

yousmell Tue 01-Jan-13 09:22:07

My friends families with two or more boys tend to be more livelier. It's all subject to parental influence though.

Onezerozero Tue 01-Jan-13 10:06:09

I must say, DD still always wants to bring home sticks too! They are usually swords to fight imaginary monsters on our walks, or lions. Or she pesters me to help make them into a bow and arrow in the woods. I don't know how to make sticks into a bloody bow and arrow! I thought this was something only she did!

SilveryMoon Tue 01-Jan-13 10:16:28

I have 2 boys. They are not destructive crazed beasts but do seem to cope better if we get out of the house.
I'm sure I read somewhere that the brain is wired differently in boys than in girls, that messages don't travel to the other side of the brain in the same way as a female brain and that's one of the reasons boys are more likely to have conditions such as asd.
So it's a scientific thing. Boys and Girls are programmed differently and that's just how it is.
Am sure I read that in a number of places and am not making it up

Pantomimedam Tue 01-Jan-13 11:37:48

ds does have a thing about sticks. I'd thought he might be growing out of it by now (he's 9) but no sign...

GrumpySod Tue 01-Jan-13 11:56:47

There's no doubt in my mind that boys & girls are hardwired differently, although personality sometimes trumps the hardwiring. And parents can influence how personality develops, although often not in ways they intended.

I have mature careful but emotional boy, emotional brutish immature unpopular boy and thoughtful very self-controlled careful boy. I didn't raise them all that different. Plus sporty confident clever girl right in the middle.

I reckon bigger difference is introvert vs. extrovert, but you can't tell that from baby physique.

moonstorm Tue 01-Jan-13 14:43:03

I think parents' attitude subtly influence and mold children from a very early age.

moonstorm Tue 01-Jan-13 14:44:16

And I think it's hard to say whether boys' brains develop differently or have been caused to develop differently...

Pantomimedam Tue 01-Jan-13 14:47:53

Grumpy, how does your description of your different children with their different characters support your assertion that boys and girls are 'hardwired differently'? They sound like individuals to me.

Moon, indeed, but it's not just parents, it's everyone else as well. And books, films, TV, music, advertising...

moonstorm Tue 01-Jan-13 14:50:30

Yes, exactly. Pantomimedan.

Pantomimedam Tue 01-Jan-13 14:51:35

Even the wheels on the sodding bus if you get to the verse that says 'the Mummies on the bus' - doesn't it go 'chatter chatter chatter'?

ChildoftheMonkeyBasket Tue 01-Jan-13 14:52:58

I have a 5YO DD and a 16mth old DS.

My DS is way more advanced than my DD was at the same age with regard to talking, he is forever babbling from the minute he gets up right up to the second he falls asleep. He is gentle, cuddly, happy, a delight, just like my DD.

They both need to be out and about running off energy, but they can both happily sit down and play with crayons. He also loves dancing, loves dollies, but LOVES cars and balls, which I was never so acutely aware with my DD but I believe that is because he is given the cars and balls to broom around everywhere, and had my DD had the same toys she would have been similar.

The only difference between the two is that my DS is very, very quick, open a door and he is out, up stairs, climbing things, pulling books off shelves, turning DVD on/off/on/off etc.....DD was not like that. Oh, he loves to sit on my head too, I don't remember DD doing that! I

moonstorm Tue 01-Jan-13 14:56:09

Yes, but you are saying that is down to gender. My dses did things differently and there are things that ds1 does/ did that ds2 doesn't.

moonstorm Tue 01-Jan-13 15:01:09

I've so often observed boy parented in a way that encourages 'roughness'/ boisterousness, whereas girls are rewarded for other behaviours... The children respond accordingly.

GrumpySod Tue 01-Jan-13 15:33:27

That's funny, so often I see people being very very harsh on their boys; much firmer than they seem to need to ever be with their girls; it reeks of unrealistic expectations. "Don't get dirty!" "Don't Push!" "Don't shout!" "Don't climb that!" "Don't run off!" Very very firm. Much much harder than they are on girls who give sly pinches to each other or make hurtful remarks. Just look at MN attitudes: "Violence is never excusable!" rather prevalent; but child saying very mean cutting things to each other, deliberate goading, meh, complete gray area.

Aggression will out, whichever the gender.

bruffin Tue 01-Jan-13 16:25:37

Its not just parents Grumpy, in year 6 the boys could do no right, girls wind them up, then when the react the girls shout miss,and boys got in trouble. Dinner ladues were the worst for taking girls side over boys.

Pantomimedam Tue 01-Jan-13 18:15:29

bruffin, that sounds uncomfortably like blaming girls for boys' bad behaviour. 'Oh those poor boys being naughty, it was the girls that made them do it...' hmm The boys need to take responsibility for themselves and their own actions and reactions.

WidowWadman Tue 01-Jan-13 19:23:31

silvery "Am sure I read that in a number of places and am not making it up "

I'm sure too that you've read it in a number of places, but that doesn't mean that it's good science or not nonsense.

bruffin Tue 01-Jan-13 19:38:19

They can only take so much winding up. They were boys on the edge of puberty not saints. Girls knew they could get away wjth anything so they would push in queues, boys protest girls shouts miss, girls get away with it y

Pantomimedam Tue 01-Jan-13 20:12:45

Buffin, presumably the girls are on the cusp of puberty as well, what on earth does that have to do with anything?

Your argument is the start of the slippery slope to 'she was asking for it'. hmm Boys, and girls, are responsible for their own actions. Good grief, surely they've heard the old one about 'would you put your hand in the fire if X told you to?'

Kids who do something wrong then whine about somebody else making them do it are pathetic. People who make excuses for them are not doing them any favours.

If one group of kids are doing something wrong and getting away with it, then that's tough but doesn't justify another group of kids doing something wrong. If you are bothered by it, take it up with the lunch-time supervisors.

matana Tue 01-Jan-13 20:30:42

Boys are like dogs, feed them well and exercise them twice a day and they're really very easy and so much fun. I was secretly a little concerned when I gave birth to a boy, but wouldnt have it any other way now. He is 2. Yes, he's loud, bolshy, a little fire cracker and tiring, but he's doted on by my whole family (the first boy in our family) for being a real clown and a little cutie who loves his cuddles. He drives me insane without any exercise, but give him a run and some fresh air and he's as good as gold. Enjoy!

bruffin Tue 01-Jan-13 20:45:22

The point i am making is that the girls were treated differently to the boys by mainly the dinner ladies. This was in reply to Grumpies observation that parentsxare much tougher on boys than girls. It was a problem. This is about girls getting away with behaviour and boys not. So girls played on it and boys got dispondant and felt they could do no right. I am not blaming the girls, i am blaming tbe culture that it was always the boys fault however much they were provoked.

Lots of parents did complain because boys who were well behaved and never in trouble before were coming home upset by it.
My own ds was scared to go out in the playground at lunchtime because as a boy in year 6 was not a good place to be. I knew the dl well as had sometimes helped out and saw them
Thankfully 2 years later when dd was in yr 6 and a new hm that culture had changed and they did not have the problems there were in ds year.

MsElleTow Tue 01-Jan-13 20:49:45

I've got 2 boys who are now 16&18.

I didn't treat them as boys, I treated them as children. They were given toys to play with, books to read, crafts to do, activities to attend, we gave them time, we occupied them, we gave them rules and boundaries.

They didn't always get out to play every day. They learnt to play with each other, and other children, they both were early talkers, were potty trained by 2, could sit still and engage in activity and we not loud destructive brutes.

I think it is far more important to that your children as individuals rather than anything else.

Zimbah Tue 01-Jan-13 22:32:26

My DD1 loves sticks and has done from a young age, she'll find a stick and go digging in the mud given any opportunity. She also likes pink, crafts, dolls etc. DD2 loves cars and balls. I once received the bizarre comment about how nice it was that DD1 could wear a skirt because if she was a boy her legs would be covered in bruises. DD1's legs were, as usual, covered in bruises but this was covered up by her ridiculously impractical for the park but I didn't want an argument long party dress and she was busy playing on the climbing frame at the time. But people see what they want to see.

skratta Wed 02-Jan-13 17:09:00

My DDS were very physical and high energy. DS was too, but nowhere near to the extent of DD3. Currently, he is still high energy and likes playing football and running around, and when he was a toddler we went to the playground or on a long walk or to somewhere like a soft play centre- anywhere to get rid of energy- for a long time once a day and he'd have to go outside and be active a lot otherwise he was very grumpy and dreadful and hyper etc;

DD3 walked and talked a lot earlier, read a tiny bit later, but appears, so far, to be a bit more advanced academically. However, apart from that, she is very active, more so than her brother (who is younger by a little bit, she's eight) and does a lot of high energy sports (she currently does basketball, football, hockey, ice hockey in winter, athletics, and swimming too) as well as being energetic and physical (and she's a lot more impulsive, loud etc; than most boys I knew or know who were the same age) although she also reads a lot, is gentle sometimes, and loves drawing and writing too, but mainly she is more high energy than her brother!

DD1 and 2 are a lot calmer than her, and less high energy, although being older, and maybe because they prefer doing quiet things together, they're twins if it makes a difference,s and so although not older by much, it probably makes a big difference I'm guessing, but even at that age, they were a lot calmer, quieter and more relaxing.

Individual personalities in both genders.

hostelgirl74 Wed 02-Jan-13 21:31:41

My 13 month old boy loves teddies and his favourite thing of all is books. He is so affectionate - strokes the cat kindly,always kissing his teddy loves cuddles and sitting on my knee and has a really good concentration span. There is probably some generalisations in what boys usually do etc but certainly each child is an individual. Enjoy your boy.

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