Why do we have such low expectations of boys

(82 Posts)
AbbyR1973 Fri 28-Jun-13 10:56:44

Often I read threads on here about reading/writing/maths and inevitably sooner or later someone pops up with a comment like "well he is a boy" or "boys aren't developmentally ready until they are 6" etc etc...
I find this very depressing and clearly is a message that is getting through to the boys themselves.
DS1 who does extremely well at school in year r and is by far and away ahead of his peers actually said to me last week "Mummy boys have weaker brains than girls." I was horrified that he should say something like that as a matter of fact. Heaven only knows where he heard it!!
We need to give our boys positive messages.

eviekingston Sat 29-Jun-13 17:51:21

Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine makes very interesting reading on this subject. As both a primary school teacher and the mother of a boy I feel that the differences in behaviour between the sexes are hugely attributable to socialisation, and this book debunks a lot of the theories of physiological differences. I certainly get very fed up with the stereotypes of boys that I see everyday, which I certainly discourage in the classroom but which are often reinforced by parents. My son is not rough, or overly boisterous, he doesn't fight, is very articulate and is achieving at the top of his class despite being a summer born boy (apparently doomed to failure). In fact in my class (Reception) I have a lot of boys like him, and a fair few girls who are very physical and certainly don't sit quietly! They are all individuals, and I try to teach and respond to them as such.

78bunion Sat 29-Jun-13 17:55:24

It will be interesting to see if men end up with fewer positions of power. When I graduated 50% of graduates were female and at work and over 20 years on we see only 20% of women in positions of power. We are still therefore doing nothing like enough for women and boys are coping just fine. We need to ensure girls are directed into good careers not pick low paid options and they are not brought up to think their wedding day is all they are on the planet to achieve whilst thinking about the colour of their nail varnish and shoes.

It is not that hard to bring up children in a more gender neutral way and annoying that so many parents seem wedded to proving their prejudices about boys and girls are true.

When teaching the top ability was a mix of boys and girls. However it was noticeable that my bottom ability group was mainly summer born boys. I do think they are forced in too early and tend to give up and become despondent when they feel behind. Then they never really catch up and dislike writing in particular.

My ds is a summer born boy due to start school this year and I do worry. He's very very competitive so I think he will become very put off if he finds he's behind most of the others. He certainly isn't reading very well (CVC words only) and can only write his name. This is because he has no interest in doing so. My friend's daughter will be in the same year group and is only 6 months older. She has beautiful handwriting. Is she any brighter than my ds? Hard to say, the difference is she wants to do it and willingly practices every day. My ds doesn't even want to draw.

I do think the early years value skills that girls tend to have ( generalising here, of course there are exceptions) and that some boys get fed up!

maizieD Sat 29-Jun-13 18:30:29

It is not that hard to bring up children in a more gender neutral way and annoying that so many parents seem wedded to proving their prejudices about boys and girls are true.

Wandering away from the original post somewhat but, as a mother who brought up her children in the 80s and early 90s, when we tried to be as gender neutral as possible, I find the developments of the last decade, with the pinkification of girls and shops labelling shelves with 'boys' toys' and 'girls' toys', very rather depresssing.

I don't think that I am viewing the past through rose tinted spectacles.

ipadquietly Sat 29-Jun-13 19:04:55

Hear, hear maizie I think I mentioned pinkification and fairy books earlier!

And - on another tack as well - I never cease to be amazed by how many mothers sit opposite me in parents' evening and profess to leaving the maths to their 'other halves'. Ummm... this is Y2 maths we're talking about, not A level.

This really has to stop - women are being brought up as bimbos.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Sat 29-Jun-13 20:26:42

stillhoping this time a year ago my dts were preparing for reception, he had no interest in writing but with bribery could manage his name while she would write cards, regularly draw etc etc.
He was no less bright and was enthusiastic and articulate about how everything in the world worked. Similarly was only just reading cvc words.
A year later and he has beautiful cursive writing (if a little large) and has whizzed through 5 levels of reading - late spring born and top end of class. Ability wise there's nothing in them - he's super competitive and has had excellent teachers who very early on spotted his interests.
I remember ds being frustrated a year ago because dd could draw stick men and he couldn't and dd said: don't worry, everybody is special and we're all good at different things.
I couldn't have put it better.

78bunion Sun 30-Jun-13 08:55:09

maizie, I agree. In the 70s (before I had children) and 80s there was a huge movement amongst women not to have gender specific toys and colours. Today it is harder to achieve. We bought feminist books showing women as doctors and the like. I had and loved my own pen knife as did my daughters who spent their teens outdoors on horses, in woods etc. I hope new baby girls born today have mothers who ensure they can climb trees. Even the Nat West advert I just saw on my on line bank's page a minute ago shows a boy with Indian head dress on holding a snail. Why not a girl? Girls play with snails. Girls play cowboys and indians.

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