Bringing up boys

(75 Posts)
MmeLindor Thu 25-Oct-12 11:22:06

I have been asked about bringing up boys, and wondered if anyone had experiences or ideas they would like to share.

A blogger asked if she should be doing more than just teaching by example to instil feminist ideas into her young son.

My 8yo already knows about feminism, we chat with his elder sister about women being equal to men, and girls being just as capable as boys etc.

Does anyone know of blogs/articles etc on this topic?

I'd like to write about it, and not sure where to start.

OneMoreChap Thu 25-Oct-12 11:59:06

DS and DD were brought up the same way.
Expected to treat people properly, listen to them and express their views openly.
No gender based division in tasks
No "boys are better at this"/"girls are better at this"

What specific feminist ideas would your friend seek to "instil"?

I'm watching with interest as I have a 3yo DD and a 10mo DS. I intend to bring them up the same way as OneMoreChap describes. How could I do more than bringing them up equally, with the same toys and opportunities, to treat everyone as equal regardless of gender, race, religion etc?

I just have DS's, and we just bring them up to treat people with respect. I counter sexist marketing and images as and when I see fit, and we talk about issues when they arise (The Olympics was great for this, especially as women were represented so well. We talked about why men and women competed in different races, and how one wasn't 'better' than the other, just different). They both have chores around the house and help prepare meals etc. It was important to me to raise children who could be independent, regardless of their gender.

kim147 Thu 25-Oct-12 12:13:03

I think that you have to challenge some of their ideas about gender. DS is defnitely a "boys are better" kind of child. He does need reminding and talking about what girls can do equally as well. He's also very much into his idea that blue is a boy's colour.

I think that it will be important for him to know how to treat all people properly as he grows up.

MmeLindor Thu 25-Oct-12 12:14:12

Well, that is the question, OMC.

She said that her son was complaining about girls getting the best parts in movies, getting the best superpowers etc, and it made her wonder if her teaching by doing was enough, or should she be speaking to him about feminism, explaining more about the idea and aims of the movement.

I don't just teach by example, I talk to my DC about feminism, and I wondered if others do the same, and if they have any tips about doing this with boys.

MmeLindor Thu 25-Oct-12 12:18:54

Yes, and I think that challenging the ideas that they bring home from school is important.

Our DC were brought up in Germany, and there is (or was at that time) much less gendered toys etc. When DS was 4yo he met a UK boy who ranted about not wanting to use his sister's 'girly' car seat. DS was most bemused by this. It was the first time that he had been told that a product was for girls cause it was pink.

OneMoreChap Thu 25-Oct-12 12:23:25

Film roles? Suppose point to salaries?
Superpowers? Bit hard to say.

By all means talk about kids to feminism; I certainly spoke to DS/DD about all sorts of issues in the news - bit hard to limit it just to feminism per se, without stranding in politics, history and so on I would have thought.

How do you frame your discussions?
[Remember, I don't identify as a feminist, more as a fellow traveller, though certainly more of one than XW was...]

QuenHelle Thu 25-Oct-12 12:26:35

I think it's important to challenge them too. DS is only 3.4 but this week I've had to keep saying to him 'Girls can play with them too' or 'Boys can do that too' each time he's seen something advertised on the TV and said 'They're only for boys/girls aren't they?'

And I'm very aware that my relationship with DH will inform DS too. DH is very protective of me and DS, it's learned behaviour from his own dad. It's all very honourable and chivalrous and whatever but I find it disempowering and I don't want DS to pick up the same attitude. I never let DH take over disciplining DS if I was there first. I have vowed never to do that 'Wait until your father gets home' thing. DH has a tendency to take over if I let him so I'm working very hard at not letting him right now. Hopefully it will sink in with enough reinforcement.

WearingGreen Thu 25-Oct-12 12:26:57

My eldest ds has to be constantly reminded that its not OK to talk over his sister. He understands intellectually that boys aren't better than girls but I don't think he really feels it. Personally I find it near impossible to bring them up the same in an unequal society. I find myself working twice as hard to tell my dd that she can do x, y and z as its not just a 'boy thing'. We can hardly watch a movie together without them getting the message that girls are the supporters, not the important people. DD's latest from school is she can no longer play football at school because all the boys in her class have lost their playtime this week (not sure why) so they can't get the football out hmm. They are skipping instead, which she enjoys but it hasn't occurred to her to mind that she can't play football because they boys were naughty. The boys are playing cards and chess indoors. I asked if she would rather play chess than skip but "chess is just for the boys". I don't think she has been told this, just concluded it from her observations.

OneMoreChap Thu 25-Oct-12 12:41:09

Didn't think about that QuenHelle.

DS got "We don't hit girls...".
DD got "We shouldn't hit people".

That's a vaguely chivalrous throwback to my father, I suppose. Different times, perhaps.

As a boy/young man I occasionally struck back against physical bullies; I know my son did likewise. I found it hard to be too upset about that... They were actually taught to walk away from trouble or namecalling, but sometimes... that doesn't work too well.

MmeLindor Thu 25-Oct-12 12:55:55

Good point. We can have discussions all day, but our DC model their behaviour on how we communicate with each other.

Our school gives a prize to the best footballer in school, and this year it was won by a girl.

MmeLindor Thu 25-Oct-12 12:56:54

Here is the original blog post that started me thinking about this.

I'm watching this thread with interest.

I've said it before on here, but most of our work right now is about bodily autonomy and consent.

DS is 2 and very big for his age. Most of his friends are girls (i.e. most of my 'new mum' friends had daughters) and all are significantly smaller than him. Lots of them like rough-and-tumble play.... up to a point. DS gets over excited easily and flails around. My job at the moment is to teach "If everyone's not having fun, everyone stops." DS is actually very empathetic (will rush to hug a crying child - though sometimes this scares them more! smile ) and always stops tumbling about if someone is upset, but I am trying to get him to notice/stop at the point BEFORE someone's actually crying or bruised. I am trying to teach him to seek enthusiastic consent.
Some of that work regards his own body, too. If we're tickling/wrestling and he says 'stop!' or 'no!' - even while giggling, we stop at once. We talk a lot about what we're doing to his body (brush your teeth, shoes on, etc) and why. He gets to own his own body and make choices about what happens to it.

Right now I'm not sure he really 'gets' that there are boys and girls are that different. From what parents of older children tell me, that's going to hit hard in the next year and a half.

WearingGreen Thu 25-Oct-12 13:15:34

Our school actually has a really good girls football team, better than the boys team in terms of what they win but this hasn't translated through to dd thinking she has the right to ask for the football if the boys aren't there. She sees it as something very definitely for boys that she can participate in if the boys initiate it. I don't really know why that is.

blackcurrants my DD is nearly 3.4 and though she knows that boys and girls are physically different (she has a baby brother, DH and I are deliberately very casual about nudity while dressing or in the bath etc) she doesn't seem to have noticed any gender stereotypes yet. I was expecting her to when she started preschool but we're halfway through the first term now and so far she hasn't said anything.

MmeLindor Thu 25-Oct-12 13:52:45

oooh, Blackcurrants - that is a good one. I never thought about teaching enthusiastic consent at such a young age.

It leads on to them then being able to recognise the concept later, when they are teens and starting first sexual relationships (sorry if that is too big a leap for you when you are looking at your cute wee toddler!)

MmeLindor Thu 25-Oct-12 13:55:23

Btw - I mentioned it in my OP but want to make this clear.

I am going to be writing about this for my blog, or perhaps for the pre-teen blog. The idea behind this thread was to straighten out my thinking - and to hear what others think about it.

I won't use quotes from this thread or anything. It is just a bit of brainstorming on how we can help parents of boys (myself included) speak to them about feminism.

Not too big a leap at all - it's definitely where we're going with it! grin

And it seems straightforward to me, sex is in many ways an extension of these other ways that we express ourselves emotionally and physically, and I want him to feel great about his body, and know how to use it - and also be aware that, as he's probably going to be bigger than 90% of the people he interacts with, 'if everyone's not having fun then everyone stops' has to be his rule for all physical-contact activities, all the time. So it's to protect him and the other people he cares about, really. I'm raising a great big lad, but not a thug smile

I wasn't taught clear boundaries about who I could say "no" to as a child - I was 'made' to 'give Granny a kiss' or Uncle whoever, even when I didn't want to, because my Mum didn't want it to see that she had a bolshy child (I was a bit bolshy!). I was sexually abused as a child and didn't know how/when I could say 'no' to a 'grown up'. I'm going to have the talk with the doll about where someone can/can't touch him, when he's a bit older, but right now I am teaching him that if he says 'no' about his body we - the adults who are most important to him - will listen.

It does sometimes make teeth cleaning a pain, as I have to get him to agree to it, but happily hasn't been a real problem so far!

MmeLindor Thu 25-Oct-12 15:11:29

sorry to hear that, but it is great that you are channelling your knowledge of what went wrong into doing things differently with you son. That is very positive.

I like the 'if everyone's not having fun then everyone stops' idea. Great for all ages.

Aww thanks, it was a long time ago and I've had lots of good help dealing with it. And yes, I hope it's making us thoughtful parents.

RubyrooUK Thu 25-Oct-12 16:50:54

My DS is only two so at the moment, I'm just trying to bring him up to be an all-round decent human being, which is where it all starts, I suppose.

I think my DH is a good male role model. He does 50% (maybe more) of domestic tasks and as we both work full time, he sees us both doing the same things in life. So I'm trying at a base level to just make equality between sexes normal for him.

I haven't really said "don't hit girls", just "we don't hit" so I hope it will sink in over time.

I haven't yet taught him really about his body being his or respecting other people's bodies, as others in the thread have done. He is two and currently has no problem telling adults "no" about everything. We don't force him to kiss or hug if he doesn't want to, anyway. He doesn't hit other kids at the moment (well, not yet). I'll put more work in when that changes.

I think our household is pretty equal all round and if I had boys or girls, I'd like them to see this as a template for their future.

PosieParker Thu 25-Oct-12 17:01:58

My oldest Sons (10 and 9) both comment about how there aren't any girls in the Lego catalogue, we talk about why they don't watch certain channels (music not porn!!) and why I censor songs. I talk to them about religion and how it further inhibits women and stops equality and progression for women, the whole frozen in time ideals.

We talk a lot about Feminism, we talk a lot about everything. After watching a movie we do two things, we talk about it on the way home...what the girl was like, were there enough girls in it, whether all boys have to be strong, whether all girls have to be pretty, I then look at Stewie's review!!

We talk about politics and how there aren't enough women, literature, EVERYTHING.

From a young age we have ignored and NEVER reinforced gender stereotypes with toys, although through time they have become more pressured by their peers to conform.

We do tell the boys that they have an extra responsibility to girls as they're more likely to be bigger and stronger and so they never lay a finger on them, but this is because I have my own history of this. But all of my dcs are told not to hit anyone, and my dd is told not to take advantage that the boys cannot hit her back.

The bodies thing has always been around for us, but that's because as far as I can I want to make sure that my kids aren't groomed and abused, rather than a sexual bullying thing.

Ooh, I'm getting some good tips here! Talking about female invisibilty seems like a good idea.

I change the pronouns in books, at the moment, so they're a mix of male and female, rather than all male (eg in "Dear Zoo" - a current bedtime favourite). But talking about it is going to matter a lot when it comes to films.

RubyrooUK Thu 25-Oct-12 18:27:33

I agree that talking about everything is important. I genuinely believe that my mum didn't need to ram home calculated feminism messages as my brother and I had endless talks about racism, gender, equality, women's rights and so on as part of everyday life. It was just normality.

I hope I'll do the same for my sons.

Oh and I've been reading a lot on Mumsnet about boys and an unrealistic porn culture. With a mum and sister around, my brother heard everything about periods, whether we could be arsed to shave our legs and so on. I think a training in the reality of women (and luckily my brother thinks my mum and I are ace) was a good grounding for him in what to expect from women.

So although he may well have watched porn in his time - I don't want to know this! - he certainly doesn't expect his girlfriend to be perfect sexually. (I am pretty sure about this because they were having a very big giggle when drunk last Xmas about them both farting accidentally during sex and how hilariously funny it was.)

I would love my sons to see me just being me and my husband telling me I'm clever, funny, beautiful and super attractive (as he does). I think that is good training for them in what real women look like/do and how to treat them.

inapineappleunderthesea Thu 01-Nov-12 01:09:48

I think that all thats needed is to teach or show boys & girls that you have to treat everyone the same,regardless of gender,where exactly does feminism fit in? The most important thing is that they are taught right from wrong,i.e its wrong to discriminate towards someone because of their gender, what is also needed is to treat others as you yourself would like to be treated,I have told my 2 Daughters that if anyone ever picks on them,to try & reason with them & if possible find out why they pick on them & to also try to be as understanding as possible,if that fails & they are repeatedly picked on or bullied/hit,then they have to stick up for themselves,otherwise it will only get worse.I'm a Father btw & my 2 Daughters mean the world to me & always will.
sometimes us adults overcomplicate things that are really simple,if more parents took the time to actually spend time with their children & talked with them & listened to them & played with them,they would grow up to be more rounded individuals & contribute to the society we all live in & therefore make it a much better place for all,whatever gender,colour or religion anyone may be.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Thu 01-Nov-12 01:14:42

My DS is 8 and I have tried to bring him up so far with an awareness that women are human too. He's always been allowed any 'girly' toys he wants, any time anyone has said anything sexist I've had a little chat along the lines of 'only silly people think that, DS', and managed to get his dad to STFU with his 'ironic' I'm-a-cool-media-person-who's-allowed-to-joke-about-Wimmins-Lib bullshit.

inapineappleunderthesea Thu 01-Nov-12 01:21:29

sorry but whats STFU? well it sounds like you are doing a great job with your son,more parents need to be like that,there are too many stereotypes nowadays!!! children should be told that its ok to be themselves & they shouldn't be forced to be something they are not just because others may not feel comfortable.

IvanaDvinkYourBlad Thu 01-Nov-12 02:10:10

Mme apologies for this not being a cohesive thought, but wanted to add the whole concept that a boy showing any interest in "girly" things is perceived as weak / wussy etc. I never realised how ingrained it was that girls do x and wear x (and even eat x!) whereas boys do, wear and eat y.

Basically, a little boy who has no concept that pink is for girls, no notion that he "shouldn't" dress up as a fairy hmm and doesn't bat an eyelid when playing with a doll or pram has these things forced upon him. (I am wondering if the issue of pink lego, for example, just perpetuates this.)

I have no idea what I am getting at, my brain is fried grin but I very much believe that it is a boys right to dress as a fairy, just as it is a girls right to dress as a fire fighter. The encouragement (or at least not dissuasion) of this could be intrinsic to the "raising of boys" and their subsequent feelings towards females. On a vaguely related note, I posted this link some time ago interesting blurb eh.

DH and I strive to show our DC that both mummy and daddy can (in no particular order) use a screwdriver, change a light bulb, sort the washing, make a meal, wipe a nose, drive a car and vacuum. Some of these tasks can become more one parents role than the other- but it is never exclusive- and we take opportunities to point that out where possible.

Now, if you have anything useful there, I'll be impressed! grin

inapineappleunderthesea Thu 01-Nov-12 02:24:12

When I was married I did the washing,cleaned,washing-up,dryed it,sometimes cooked,I also bathed my DC,read to them in bed(mummy was too busy watching soaps),did diy,all of that after working 12 hr shifts,I still do all of that now I'm divorced,I also teach my 2 DDs to do all that,my DC sometimes say to me why did I do all that when I was married,my simple answer was,it has to be done,it doesn't matter whether your male or female,they also ask me why does their mums new partner do nothing besides go to work? all I say to them is that some people see things differently.

inapineappleunderthesea Thu 01-Nov-12 02:26:33

I think I should also add that (mummy was too busy watching soaps) came from my DC not me,just thought I'd add that in case some of you started to stone me smile

MmeLindor Thu 01-Nov-12 16:02:01

<puts the stones down> wink

Just coming back to this thread. Sorry, been busy.

Ok. A few have said 'bring then up to value equality and respect others just as you would with regard to racial differences etc'

Isn't that too simplistic?

I think that our society is (thankfully) pretty quick to condemn racist comments.

I don't think there is the same no tolerance when it comes to sexism.

Casual (and not so casual) sexism is rife. I was recently refused an appointment by a joiner to measure my windows unless DH was home.

And asked if my personal circumstances had changed and if I could prove that I was divorced when I asked to have bank card changed to Ms.

(I haven't done away with DH, btw)

So it's not as simple as living a good example as our kids, particularly in the impressionable pre teen and teen years are influenced by outside forces.

MmeLindor Thu 01-Nov-12 16:04:03

hmm at that Argos product. Exactly my point. We need to point these things out cause it is so normal

OneMoreChap Thu 01-Nov-12 16:09:58


if I could prove that I was divorced when I asked to have bank card changed to Ms.


Sorry, that's new bank territory.

MmeLindor Thu 01-Nov-12 23:23:55

Thankfully she passed me on to someone who actually knew what she was doing. Meant to send an email though.

I can't chance banks atm. We has such a hassle getting a mortgage. Not going through it all again

RubyrooUK Thu 01-Nov-12 23:32:47

Oh, I called myself "Miss" on an online financial form the other day and it wouldn't let me choose that title as I'm married. It made me choose "Mrs" or "Ms" instead.

Yes, it's true I am married but have not taken my husband's name so am still listed on all bank cards and accounts etc as "Miss". I am not "Mrs DH" as I did not change my name. So the new form doesn't actually match all my other details.

It pissed me off a bit. Then I wondered if I was reading too much into it. I suppose "miss" does just mean someone unmarried. But I sort of objected to a form making me define myself in those terms (the form was not for anything that needed me to be married/single etc).

DoubleYew Fri 02-Nov-12 00:36:54

I agree Mme that you have to challenge messages they get from all around them, as well as set a good example. Women aren't equal in lots of ways, to a greater or lesser amount depending where you live and I think its damaging to mask that.

Ds is only two so I am mainly agog at the categorisation of toys as girls/boys atm. Its actually structured into big stores websites. I was looking for play food that you can cut up and loads of places had it under girls toys pages. WTF, because men don't cut up food!

What really worries me is exposure to porn when he is older as I think it has such a damaging effect on your sexual tates and expectations.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 00:47:24

Glad I don't have to dodge the stones! smile,How is it too simplistic? I think sometimes we make simple things seem more complicated than they really are or need to be,sexism happens to both sexes,not just females,as a matter of fact I think its aimed more at the male than the female,for example,I get sick & tired of seeing adverts putting men down or making them look stupid or as tho they haven't got a clue,I agree there are men who are stupid,lazy or just haven't got a clue about certain things but there are also women like that,just because someone is female doesn't automatically mean they're great around the house or fantastic at certains jobs,same goes for men,I work & have worked with both sexes & tbh I don't see any difference other than the obvious ;),sexism just like racism(which in my opinion still & sadly will exist for a long time to come)will take time to eradicate,So I ask my question again.where does feminism fit in or how can it help in that respect? (no,I'm not being obtuse,I would just really like it explained). Too often we tend to read too much into things,well,thats my opinion,I could be wrong.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 00:58:15

Mme,there will always be outside forces,especially peer pressure challenging our children,thats human nature.

Doubleyew,as for porn,its not just males that look at porn,I have female friends that look at porn,some are more addicted than men,I have 2 close female friends that shop on a very regular basis from Ann Summers,they even buy strap on's because they want to use them on men(sorry if I lowered the tone a bit)but its true,a few even have men around a lot too & they introduce them to their young children(which I strongly disagree with)since I've been divorced(5 yrs) I have not introduced any of my "partners" to my children,I will only do that when I'm as sure as I can be that she(if & when I find her) smile,is the ONE,as for sexual tastes & expectations,well,all I can say is that a few women have opened my eyes,so I think you are(unintentionally I feel) being sexist yourself by that comment.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Fri 02-Nov-12 01:17:50

I have had to be very firm with family members eg telling my dad not to say anything DS could hear when Dad was fretting that me having bought DS a buggy and a babydoll would 'turn him funny' (DS and many other little boys at playgroup that year had been obsessed with the doll pushchairs). I explained that if DS grew up to be a father, he would push his own DC round in pushchairs.
Also have had to yell at my mother about the fact that DS has long, flowing hair and doesn't want it cut - she is forbidden to tell him that he 'looks like a girl' because I don't want him getting the idea that looking like a girl is a bad thing. I fret (only a little bit) sometimes about having to say, well, we'll ask Daddy to fix that, when there is something that needs doing to the house such as mending the garden wall. I am not very practical, and DS dad (who doesn't live with us) spent a year working as a bricklayer, so of course he's better equipped than I am to rebuild the bloody wall... yet I still feel we are playing into stereotypes. I try to counter it by asking other people for assorted practical advice when needed.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 01:24:11

One of my DDs can be a bit of a tomboy,just as her mother was & is,her mum sometimes tells her to stop behaving like a boy,that really annoys me,especially as all she is doing is copying her mum!!! as for asking your DCs dad to mend certain things,there is nothing wrong with that,after all you said it yourself some are better equipped at certain things,stop reading too much into things,we can't all be good at everything!!!

5madthings Fri 02-Nov-12 01:41:55

four boys here (no 5 is a girl) the rule in our house is to treat everyone as you would like to be treated yourself. so girls/boys equal etc.

i have and do discuss feminism with them and politics etc, not in a sit down we are going to talk about this way but as and when things come up ie something on tv or in the news.

i am quite picky about what they watch ie no mtv and music channels. we have internet controls etc. they know about sex and periods etc explained in an appropriate manner for their age, again as it comes up. we are relaxed about nudity so ds1 (13) will come into the bathroom when i am in the bath and chat he was also their when dd was born and cut the cord so he knows the reality of what sex produces and he has said he is amazed i have given birth five times, it gave him a kind of added respect/kudis for women that they go through that.

no steteotyping re toys, always had toy cooker and dolls and a wide variety of dress up stufg including fairy outfits and dresses and ds3 (7) is a big fan of fairies and pink/purple so i bought him purple t-shirts etc. (i had a thread ages ago about buying him a new fairy dress as he had grown out of his tinkerbell one). toys are just toys and i will correct/pull them.up if they refer to things as girly. the elder three dont do this, mainly ds4 who is 4 and in reception i have had to occasionally.

dp is very hands on, prob does the majority of the cooking. housework we both do and diy we both do. all my children are rcpected to help.out. ds1 cooks, they help in the kitchen and with tidying, hoovering, changing bedsheets etc. with having four boys i am very aware that i want them growing up knowing how to do household stuff and thst they are all expected to pitch in!

porn has been mentioned and the huge influence of porn culture is something i worry about actually. have talked to ds1 a bit about it and will do.more as and when it comes up. we have parental control on oc and he has a basic phone with no internet but i am sure some kids at school have access to it and these tjings get shared at school. curiosity us normal but obviously its not legal for him to look at it and he knows thid. he is quite good at coming or dp and talking about stuff ie stuff he has heard at school etc. i think.its a case if talking to him, keeping communication open but also educating him.on some of the issues with porn ue moral side and negative effecrs and that its not very realistic!

i actually did a thread in feminism a while ago about the isse if boys and porn.

i shall put this thread on watch. btw blackcurrents really like your idea re enthusiastic consent etc.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 01:57:01

My 2 DDs are 8 & 11 & they have asked me certain things,especially about sex,I treat their questions with the respect they deserve & try to explain as best I can,I discuss a bit more with my 11yr old obviously,I didn't like that my 11yr old told me she watched some porn dvds her mums partner has,to be fair they were in their bedroom set of drawers(her 3yr old half sis took them out)my DD told me she watched about 10mins worth,to say I was upset would be an understatement(she described them as sick & scary,they were about blood & vampires & homeporn & hairy porn) that tells me she may have watched a them a bit longer than she said she had! any kind of porn should be way out of reach of any children,I tried speaking to my ex about it but of course in her words I had no right to bring that up,I teach my DDs as much as I can about as much as I can & also tell them that not everything they see on TV or read about are actually as they seem,I also talk to them about respecting & helping their future Dh,Db or whoever they have a relationship with & not to copy the so called examples of their favourite singers or actors.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 02:03:38

I'm totally fed up seeing so called popstars showing way too much skin or dancing too provocitavley,especially when they know that the majority of their fans are quite young,never mind the fact they marry,get divorced way too often too,what the hell kind of example is that!!??!! Then we wonder why or how come so many relationships break down!

IvanaDvinkYourBlad Fri 02-Nov-12 02:24:22

was glad to see Mr Tumble's dressing up box included a tutu today.
I would add more but am on a lurgy endurance test with DC2 again tonight!

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 02:36:52

I miss watching him,mine have outgrown him :/ smile the tutu could be a PC conspiracy........I can't stand political correctness!

DoubleYew Fri 02-Nov-12 08:24:05

5madthings, I'm away to read that thread.

inapineapple, I know its not just men who look at porn, you only need to look at Relationships topic to see how prevalent it is. The point is I have one child, a son and I'm concerned about him.

5madthings Fri 02-Nov-12 08:58:13

i think porn is a huge issue regarding teens tbh but there is a lot of evidence that it is proving particularly damaging for teen boys and their attituted and expectations towards sex, as a mum of four boys its worrying sad

OneMoreChap Fri 02-Nov-12 10:01:48

5madthings I'd imagine it gives very unrealistic expectations - into what people do during sex, what women find arousing, and how unfeasibly large men might be...

I'm unsure as to whether it's porn itself, or the hookup culture that seems to be being generated - which in the US AFAICS mostly involves young women giving BJs to keep "cool" with their "men". Not much evidence of them getting anything from it.

I blame a lot of this on the general sexualisation of society. People keep telling me we're not driving child sexualisation, but I don't believe it. I think inapineappleunderthesea has the right idea about the images kids see on TV - but I'd also point - as usual - to the fashion industry and the way we're encouraged to aspire to unrealistic body images...

Have you a link to the evidence - might be quite nice to be able to quote that on some of the other threads we get.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 13:32:37

Fair point DoubleYew but I too am concerned about my Daughters as I'm sure most caring loving parents are & should be.

OneMoreChap,I also agree with you,I also think that too many adverts,even those that are aimed at adults,they mostly show perfect male & female bodies,in the real world the majority of people don't have a body like that(including me) smile

MmeLindor Fri 02-Nov-12 13:34:36

Porn is only one aspect of this though.

I think that we have to look at the big picture. The mixed messages our boys are receiving - when we talk the talk but don't walk the walk.

When we have politicians who patronise women during PM Question Time (Cameron) or on Twitter (Austin Mitchell vs Louise Mensch), and music stars like Chris Brown who beat women but stage a comeback - how can we be surprised when our boys emulate what they SEE rather than what they HEAR.

MmeLindor Fri 02-Nov-12 13:40:03

I agree with your point about how we portray men - I get annoyed at the lazy stereotyping of men as useless around the house.

I ranted a lot about the P&G Sponsors of Mums Olympic advertising as it totally left out the rest of the family, by praising only the mum. As if the dads were all sitting at home with their feet up while mum took the young aspiring athletes around the country.

5madthings Fri 02-Nov-12 13:41:06

oh yes totally madamre. we talk about advertising and female role midels etc. ds3 dressed up as florence nightingale for a dress up as a famous pwrson if inspiration day (his choice!)

hasnt rhianna got back with chriss brown? if uts rhianna i forget who is who! my ds1 was shocked by that, que discusdion of abusuve relationships and how people can become trapped, fall i to a pattern of what they see as normal/ok.

i think communicatuon is the key and also modelling behaviour ourselves.

music and the videos and the whole musiv industry gives out a poor view of womwn tjo thete are some exceptions.

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 13:41:35

The other sad fact about people like Chris Brown is that not only do they make a come back but usually their partners tend to get back together with them & that sends out the wrong message to young adults,they probably think,well,it musn't be that bad seeing as they are together again!

As for politicians,don't get me started,I have no faith or trust in any of them whatsoever.......

5madthings Fri 02-Nov-12 13:41:57

bloody hate the p&g adverts!

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 13:47:42

Too many adverts have a lot to answer for!

inapineappleunderthesea Fri 02-Nov-12 13:58:36

Chris Brown & Rhianna are supposedly secrety seeing eachother but as most things thats on TV,internet or magazines you don't know what to believe anymore.

droid400004 Fri 02-Nov-12 20:19:37

my son is two and i think avoiding gender stereo typing is almost harder with boys, because people expect it to apply only to girls. I don't allow my son to watch TV (he watches DVDs/youtube) becuase of advertising, and I change genders in his books so the sex ratio of characters is balanced (mick inkpen drives me mad - ALL his characters are male!). And he wears pink, has dolls, loves his teaset etc etc. I fully expect peer pressure when he is older, but I wanted for as long as possible for things to be very gender-neutral, to try and instill in him the idea that all things are possible for all people.

woman's hour on radio 4 yesterday talked about gendered toys:

the point I think many people miss is not that there may well be a sexually defined preference for x or y, but that all toys should be available to all kids, regardless of gender. sure a girl might like dolls better, but the toyshop that has 'boy' and 'girl' sections is telling her what she can/can't/is expected to play with, rather than letting her freely decide for herself


blonderthanred Fri 02-Nov-12 21:18:55

I'm also watching with interest as I had my first DC, a boy, last Friday. DH and I avoided telling anyone the sex as we wanted to avoid gendered stuff but of course now he is here the trucks and jeans have started arriving. I don't want to be ungrateful but it seems a shame. And while it's easy to dress girls in boys' stuff, it's harder to put a boy in pink flowers and butterflies.

Clothes aside, we are really keen to raise our child as a feminist and he will certainly see his parents sharing household responsibilities - although of course it will be interest to see what effect my maternity leave has on our domestic arrangements. I think it's just as important to bring up our sons to think about feminist and social issues. I'm sure we'll have lots of obstacles and plenty of people delighted to point out when he chooses a football over a dolly, but it's about more than that, I hope more than anything he will grow up to have respect for his fellow humans and a questioning, open mind.

MmeLindor Fri 02-Nov-12 22:52:51

Congratulations on the birth of your son. How are you settling in?

I am so glad that we lived in Germany when the dc were little as the gender stereotyped toys are (or were) much less noticeable than in UK.

RubyrooUK Fri 02-Nov-12 23:08:07

I think gendered toys are pointless anyway - I had everything from My Little Pony to Dinosaurs to a car collection and a prized tank when I was a child. I didn't know any of them were for 'boys' or 'girl' as my mum isn't that kind of person.

My step sister has a daughter only a little older than my son and she's always saying she just doesn't know what to buy boys even though they are both very young.

Yet they love pretty much the same stuff - painting, Peppa Pig, books, running around being bonkers....I just buy them much the same stuff. I find her attitude so frustrating. Now my niece is saying that she won't do "boys' things" and my son is very confused. sad

BertieBotts Fri 02-Nov-12 23:10:15

DS is 4 and very much into "This is for boys, you can't use it Mummy," and "Eurgh, that's for girls" etc at the moment. I don't know whether it's from nursery or his childminder or TV or what.

He's very quiet and passive with other children, to the point that they walk all over him, so I haven't had chance to instil the enthusiastic consent message, but I do get him to ask other children if they want a hug before he gives them one, and I try and model the consent thing around him with other children, but it's hard, especially as I work long hours, so he's often at the childminder when these things are happening and I'm not sure she deals with stuff in the same way that I would ideally like.

We should be moving to Germany within the year MmeLindor smile I hope the gender thing about toys is still true!

The thing I'm finding hard at the moment is sometimes his total lack of respect for me, and his obsession with body parts, he often wants to watch me on the toilet which makes me feel really uncomfortable! And if I'm getting changed he will often try to grab or touch my bum (because it's funny to him that I have my bum in view!) I obviously try to just avoid that situation but sometimes small children just follow you around! And not so much now he's stopping/stopped breastfeeding, but until recently he seemed to think it was his total right to be able to grab or touch my boobs whenever he felt like it, that really bothered me too! I wonder how can I teach him about bodily boundaries, privacy etc when he doesn't seem to respect mine at all. He doesn't get the concept of his privates being private, because he's so obsessed with it I think he'd be delighted if someone else showed an interest, at the moment he seems to understand that it's not something we do if other people are around but he doesn't care about keeping it private from me! Argh!

MmeLindor Fri 02-Nov-12 23:23:09

Sadly, I think things have changed in Germany - lots of princess/pirate stuff now. Although schools and kindergarten are more aware of the issue.

Some children - boys in particular - seem to get overly obsessed with private parts. DS wasn't bad, but he had a friend who was already talking about bums and willies and poopsing. Think ignore and distract best policy - and saying that it is ok to have a fiddle in privacy of own room but not in public

sommewhereelse Sat 03-Nov-12 07:20:34

Bertie, I think it's perfectly healthy that a 4 year old isn't fussed about keeping his body private from his mother. DS is 9 and he doesn't care about his parents or younger sister seeing him naked. In fact he often calls us when he's having a bath if there's something he wants to say, and we stay and have a chat. When he has friends stay over, he's careful to get changed where they can't see him and I'm sure eventually he'll be locking me out of the bathroom.

I guess you just need to keep telling your DS that you don't like him touching you there and that he must never touch people if they say they don't like it. He'll get it eventually.

DD hates being kissed and even after several years, I still have to check my instinct to give her a good night kiss. It's really hard but I have to reinforce the message that she gets to choose about how people touch her.

BertieBotts Sat 03-Nov-12 08:42:52

Oh yes, I'm not bothered that he's not bothered IYSWIM? It's just the exhibitionism I'm finding hard to cope with! Have tried telling him to do it in his room etc but I don't know if he's just not old enough to understand.

CaseyShraeger Sat 03-Nov-12 09:00:44

I've talked with 7yo DS about representation of girls/women in films - the Bechdel test (although I doubt he'd remember the details) and that producers often assume that boys won't go to see films with a female lead.

And like blackcurrants we tend to police rough-and-tumble play with a lot of "Does she look as though she's having fun? No? Then you don't do it." and ensure that tickling stops when the ticklee says "stop".

DoubleYew Sat 03-Nov-12 10:40:10

My thing with clothes is mainly it has to be comfortable. He wears all colours, things with hearts, flowers, spots, cute animals etc, tights but not frilly things (as I personally don't find them attractive and I'm in charge of choosing for him). Once he's older and actually interested in dress up, choosing his clothes etc, I'll let him wear what he wants.

We are going to Germany in a couple of weeks to visit family so it will be interesting to see how it compares!

I'm getting a lot of good tips off this thread, thanks.

Trills Sat 03-Nov-12 11:18:11

I don't have anything to contribute but this is a very interesting thread.

IvanaDvinkYourBlad Sat 03-Nov-12 11:41:33

Not sure if this is relevant but Double 's mention of comfortable clothes reminded me - I think dresses on children are very restrictive in terms of movement. For dress ups, special occasions (both genders) but for everyday - especially babies / toddlers - they just get in the way and seem impractical. The only way I can think of at the minute that that impacts on the 'bringing up boys' is that the whole 'girls wear dresses; boys do not ' just adds to separation of the sexes and setting them apart (against?) each other from a very early age. And I won't even start on the choices in clothing stores - mothercare et al - 2 thirds pink stuff for girls (some of which are mini-adult clothes) and 1 third of pirates, monsters and crap for boys. hmm

namechangeguy Sat 03-Nov-12 18:19:58

My son is 13. We go to boxing training together. I'd like him to have at least some formal training in case some idiot fancies using his head as a football when he is older and out socialising. It's a brilliant discipline - there is no room for rage or mindless violence in a boxing ring. You need your wits about you at all times. Plus you never quite know how will will react to being attacked until it happens.

MmeLindor Sat 03-Nov-12 18:24:15

It is perfectly normal for babies and toddlers to wear tights in Germany - boys and girls. They even do boy versions with tractors and cars. No one bats an eye, in fact you'd likely be berated for not putting tights on wee ones.

5madthings Sat 03-Nov-12 20:57:20

my boys have all worn tights when little smile

and re dresses etc for girls, my dd wears them with leggins and tights etc i always make sure they arent too long so they dont get in her way and they are soft cord etc (sucker for boden cord pinafores! blush ) or even tutus with leggins again they are short and dont get in her way, she gets them filthy of course but all the clothes i buy are ones that can jsut get chucked in the wash so they certainly dont restrict her play. she wears trousers, dungarees etc as well but after four boys i am enjoying the variety in girls clothes so much more choice and easy to layer up etc depending on the weather. all the clothes my kids wear are practical tho, soft, stretchy and easy to wash!

mmelindor i found a fb site you may like its called 'TowardsTheStars' its all about gender equality for children and there is some stuff that you may find useful for your online magazine? plus i ma pretty sure they would let you link to it! its a fab page, i found it the other day and am very impressed smile

5madthings Sat 03-Nov-12 20:58:57

btw anyone looking for nice clothes for boys h&m has some nice bits at the moment in orange, green etc, ditto john lewis, some lovely deep red trousers in john lewis and some funky tops. my middle two boys need some new stuff (they are growing like weeds!) and i will be kitting them out from there i think smile

BelleCurve Sat 03-Nov-12 21:10:51

A Mighty Girl has some interesting books and resources which focus on girls but could be useful for both. I will certainly ben getting DS some of these recommendations.

I think for older boys it is really important to get them to understand the concept of their privilege Male Privilege Checklist

It is more complicated as just "treat everyone the same" as our society does not start from an equal footing and I think the first stage is being aware of the privileges that being male provide.

MmeLindor Sat 03-Nov-12 21:36:24

I am following A Mighty Girl on FB - they are great. The Male Privilege Checklist is great, thanks.

Can you link to that? I can't find it

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