My 7 year old son has ideas that boys are better than girls

(52 Posts)
MarcelineTheVampireQueen Thu 07-Feb-13 00:17:57

And I dont know how to handle it. Its often quite innocent, we might watch a programme and there is a female builder and he would say "Women cant be builders!" and of course I correct that. He loves history and loves hearing about olden time, we read a book that spoke about womens rights and I explained all that to him at an age appropriate level.

Today though, we are planning a party and he told me he doesnt want the girls in his class coming because they wount be able to join in. Its a sporty party, football, ball games, bouncy castle type thing in a sports hall. Its been a long day and I snapped a little and reminded him of what we had spoken about.

DP thinks I am too hard and am pushing the issue, that our son is too young to learn this type of thing. I dont agree.

Am I pushing though? Is there another way I can approach this? I often feel outnumbered here 2 boys to one girl and I almost feel the eyerolling after I talk to him about it.

Nagoo Thu 07-Feb-13 00:22:38

IMO boys think boys are best and girls think boys are idiots.

I would arrange for him to get beaten hard at something he likes doing by a girl.

It'll happen just by life progressing how it will, naturally eventually, but you could always hurry it along....

PretzelTime Thu 07-Feb-13 00:24:36

Well he has obviously already learnt that girls can't be sporty somehow...? If he can learn that, he can also learn that it isn't true.

madwomanintheattic Thu 07-Feb-13 00:47:16

V normal.

My 7yo son had to leave his ballet class because the 7yo girls kept on telling him ballet was girls and he wasn't supposed to be there.

Fortunately, those 7yo girls have grown up a bit, and are now a bit wiser. The same way your boy will be if you keep on correcting him.

Girls and boys at 7 are right on the throes of gender segregation, but not old enough to question it.

With a few more years comes a lot more maturity, as long as you keep pointing out he is talking out of his arse.

HarrietSchulenberg Thu 07-Feb-13 00:53:29

I have 3 boys. Two think that girls are aliens and one (middle one, aged 10) makes no distinctions between sexes - he has friends of each kind. Eldest is 12 so I suspect his attitude will be changing soon.

Your ds's behaviour is quite normal for a 7 year old.

I would arrange for him to get beaten hard at something he likes doing by a girl.

grin Ha!

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 07-Feb-13 10:53:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 07-Feb-13 10:54:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Thu 07-Feb-13 12:09:18

DS (7) thinks this. Despite a chat about what he thinks he is better at than girls and him failing miserably to come up with any examples.

MarcelineTheVampireQueen Thu 07-Feb-13 13:59:10

Thanks all, I know he is only 7 but it feels like if I dont challenge it, he will think its acceptable. Good idea about getting someone to beat him at something! Ill have to think about that one!

madwomanintheattic Thu 07-Feb-13 16:14:43

Oh, you definitely have to challenge it - and it's not an acceptable norm that 7yos think their gender is infinitely superior, but it is a reflection of early years culture in this society (not even going into later years). So, yes, keep working on it - you have 7years worth of gendered socialisation to make up for, and he will develop the maturity to be able to challenge that sort of thinking.

The fact that it is the norm doesn't mean you should let it go, iykwim. But recognition that it's sadly normal at least means you won't beat yourself over the head with too large a parenting stick... wink

WilsonFrickett Thu 07-Feb-13 19:46:47

Completely normal <gives DS7 a hard stare> but not acceptable. I don't stress over it but I do correct it. Every. Bloody. Time. I find it quite disheartening actually, a very visible sign that 'our' influence is being replaced by 'what everyone else thinks'.

I really had to battle to get some girls on the invite list for his birthday in the summer. Which has been repaid by not one of them inviting him to theirs, but heigh-ho. Travel in hope an all that.

Branleuse Fri 08-Feb-13 07:02:20

its an age thing. They are beginning to develop their own sense of identity and are working out what defines them. my 12 year old boy always corrects my nearly 6 year old boy when 6 yr old says anti girl stuff. Its not sinister. They learn what they live and your way of living and your attitude Will be what shapes his eventual beliefs

SminkoPinko Fri 08-Feb-13 07:24:29

My sons were awful for this at that age too. Used to drive me mad and they knew and often found it highly amusing that I was pissed off by their sexist rubbish. They have now graduated to saying things for effect to annoy me (teenagers) and yes it still works! However, I have a much younger little girl now and to my surprise she is exactly the same - she just thinks girls are inherently superior in every way. And, unfairly, I feel much less annoyed by this! I think heavy identification with their own gender at a young age is probably just a fairly healthy indication that children are happy in their own skin really. (And the lovely thing is that, if they think I'm not listening, her annoying brothers actually always tell their sister that girls are best and fab).

HotheadPaisan Fri 08-Feb-13 07:35:57

I will have a poster up if/when this starts saying 'boys are brilliant and girls are great'. I will just point to it.

Lucky atm that our boys see us (two mums) as the best mums in the world and they know we're women and were girls. But S2 decides he's a girl at times too so that helps smile

Smudging Fri 08-Feb-13 07:48:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tilder Fri 08-Feb-13 08:01:45

This has really shocked me too and does make me wonder where it comes from. Did I enforce gender stereotypes subconsciously? Is it from our naice village school (surely not!) Or is it cbeebies (now that would be a shocker)?

Trying to think of other regular influences and failing.

I correct every time. Started with 'pink is for girls' in our house.

ohfunnyhoneyface Fri 08-Feb-13 08:15:43

It's TV and films!

The gender stereotyping in children's TV is terrible.

Keep on as you are, he'll get the (equality) message eventually.

LaraInTheSky Fri 08-Feb-13 10:20:41

Funny the way children are. My 6 year old son kept telling me last year when I collected him from school that some girls in his class kept saying "Girls are better than boys, girls are cleverer than boys".

I think it's an age thing. I kept reminding him than being good, or intelligent, or capable has nothing to do with being a boy or a girl. Some girls are extremely clever, some are not. Some boys are extremely clever, some are not. But the main thing is, we all have our strenghs and weaknesses, and being clever, though important, is not always the most valuable quality in life.

I keep repeating these things to him. That we all come in all shapes and colours and that people should not be judged on their gender. I hope it will sink in.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 08-Feb-13 10:25:40

No need to worry but your dp may be reinforcing your son's opinion. It's never to early to learn equality ! If he was saying white/brown/black people are superior I'm sure your partner would be embarrassed and rush to correct him. How is this different ?

MarcelineTheVampireQueen Fri 08-Feb-13 21:58:30

Just saw all the messages here, thanks everyone. This is def an equal household, in fact, DP takes care of more of the perceived traditional roles in the house and DS has been well trained since the age of three to look after his own chores, get a drink, fruit etc and more recently to make a sandwich so he knows it isnt my job to run around afterhim. I have 5 sisters and one brother who is the youngest and if my mam could wipe his arse for him, she would so I am making sure that my son doesnt end up like that!

He had 2 boys over today from school and based on snippets of conversation, its def coming from the school. It a mixed school, fairly genderless in their activities but its an even split in his class of boys vs girls so there is a little bit of gang warfare going on! I'll keep on him though!

RudyPoo Fri 08-Feb-13 22:54:08

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

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-Feb-13 23:01:20

Hi there
Thanks for joining us
FYI most boards frown very heavily on cross-board visits.
Have a great weekend.

kim147 Fri 08-Feb-13 23:02:43

That was quick.

Beehatch Fri 08-Feb-13 23:06:06

Nice move Olivia. Has someone lit a fire under HQ after the Worra debacle???

MarcelineTheVampireQueen Sat 09-Feb-13 00:08:29

Ok I missed that........

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 09-Feb-13 00:17:04

My 4 y/o DD thinks that women are best, and that men should do the cleaning grin

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 09-Feb-13 00:17:46


Nice move Olivia.

We are always watching.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 09-Feb-13 00:19:55

<looks quickly out of window to catch Olivia in the act of spying>

Ooh what happened? Quick while olivia isn't looking!

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 09-Feb-13 00:37:49

Get some sleep Pam Puds, You look tired.

CaseyShraeger Sat 09-Feb-13 00:47:56

You're rocking the bat recently, Olivia.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 09-Feb-13 00:50:07

Tis NOT the bat.

CaseyShraeger Sat 09-Feb-13 00:51:01

On other threads, I mean, obviously. Not this one. No one could imagine that.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 09-Feb-13 01:23:13

I will never sleep again!!!!

DreamingofNutella Sat 09-Feb-13 08:21:38

Tv doesn't help. Sports are so male dominated. Could you take him to a women's football/rugby/hockey/etc match? And actually show him that girls do cool sporty stuff too?

poachedeggs Sat 09-Feb-13 08:26:30

Can you demonstrate all the things you are better at than your DP? grin

extracrunchy Sat 09-Feb-13 08:36:30

They all go through this phase - but where is he learning girls can't do sports etc?? Must have come from somewhere.

Isabeller Sat 09-Feb-13 08:43:07

Hi, I think I am quite feminist but don't hang out in this area much so apologies if I'm out of line.

I wonder if your child is strongly identifying with a team (ie 'boys') with it's own strengths and pride etc. I feel nervous about the idea of arranging for a child to be beaten at something they are confident in and good at as a way of teaching them a lesson about how they label people.

The team could be 'asians' or 'people whose parents drive 4x4s' or anything else which could lead to healthy pride or unhealthy prejudice. (I don't much like how I'm sounding all lecturey, I hope you will excuse me).

Anyway what it all adds up to in my mind is wondering if you can find an activity, music group/woodcraft folk/totally unfamiliar fun sport where your child can experience identifying with a mixed gender team and having pride in that.

I have a grown up girl, no boys. Best of luck smile

rotavirusrita Sat 09-Feb-13 08:48:46

I continue to lead by example... Dh makes a better roast dinner , but i am better at football for example. I think its common aged5 to 7 ish, but by 9 they grow up a lot!
Mum of 3 boys

kim147 Sat 09-Feb-13 08:49:39

Interesting people seem to be focussing on sports - my DS is useless at sports but still thinks boys are better than girls. But at what?

My DS does Beavers - all full of boys. I think it would be great if he could do stuff like that in a mixed environment. He also does choir - mainly full of girls. He enjoys that.

MarcelineTheVampireQueen Sat 09-Feb-13 11:07:32

I think that he thinks if his mam can't do it, all girls can't do it. I'm limited by mobility issues re sports. We aren't a sporty house anyway. I arrange playdates with girls as well as boys, though some mams have thought that strange. Today I said, let's go to the pictures see wreck it Ralph, and he told me I won't like it cos it's about video games!!!

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Sat 09-Feb-13 11:15:45

It's everywhere, Marcella, it really is, and a lot of it is even "meant well". Can you find positive examples eg "well, Jess Ennis would have loved a sports party?" Can you ask if he can think of any boys in his class that don't like sport and any girls that do, so that he can see it's a spectrum not just one gender does, one doesn't?

extracrunchy Sun 10-Feb-13 08:32:26

It is everywhere unfortunately. Starts as soon as the pink flowery vs and blue with diggers clothes come out for newborns!

tribpot Sun 10-Feb-13 08:39:05

He's definitely not too early to have it challenged. And I'm taking my 7 year old to see Wreck-It Ralph today smile (My DH is the one with mobility issues in our house so he wouldn't necessarily identify the 'otherness' in the same way that your ds would).

My ds will occasionally make comments like "that's for girls" and I always question him about why. His birthday party last year was going to be all boys until he announced he'd invited one of the girls as well - no problem (except for me, I had a panic about what she might like to play with, turned out it was Lego Batman on the Wii same as the others, whilst one of the boys decorated biscuits with me!) and she was quite excited to be going to a party with the boys.

CaffeineAndKeyboards Mon 11-Feb-13 17:28:56

DS1 was home educated, then went into school, home ed for a bit and back to school. As he was 6 before starting he was able to comment on thins he found strange, such as the girl/boy divide when playing, but of course after time that was his new norm and he "couldn't" play with girls. We constantly challenge him, talk about sexism when he's around but doing other stuff, and comment on it on screen and in marketing. He's almost 9 and it all seems to be sinking in. It's a process though. Dh is very involved in the home and childcare which is obviously a good example. I don't recall which team sports it was but dh put them on during the Olympics and from later conversations this had a big positive impact on ds with regards to girls and football at school.

lazarusb Tue 19-Feb-13 21:58:31

Ds had his 10th birthday last week and a friend of his made a comment about women drivers on Youtube. Ds gave him a right tongue lashing about gender stereotypes and told him not to be sexist - then asked me to explain to his friend what gender stereotyping meant and why it's wrong. I was quite proud, we live in a very equal household. Did make the party go a bit quiet for a while though grin

sydlexic Fri 22-Feb-13 15:31:03

When my DS was 4 he stood in a restaurant watching a woman eating chips and stood looking at her in absolute shock. He believed women did not eat chips because he had never seen it.

When he was 6 he asked me why I always pretended that women and men were equal, saying it doesn't make it true. He pointed out that when I shouted dinner was ready DH would come to the table and sit and wait to be served but DD and I would pick up the plates and bring them to the dining room.
That DH would choose the TV programme, would always drive. He listed so many things that made me rethink what I was teaching him without realising it.

DS1 (8) doesn't come out with much of this type of stuff, but DS2 (6) does. I usually correct him (lightheartedly) and distract him. He will grow out of it...we are an equal household - both work FT, and earn about the same. However, I do more cooking and DH does more DIY. DH tends to drive (because I am lazy and like to snooze, not because he is a better driver).

DS1 hates football, DS 2 loves it.....DS1 loves reading, DS2 is getting there. My SIL thinks DS1 is gay....hey ho, let's see what happens.

AbigailAdams Fri 22-Feb-13 16:31:01

dyslexic, it isn't you teaching your son that women aren't treated as equal but your husband and his huge sense of entitlement

AbigailAdams Fri 22-Feb-13 16:31:50

That was meant for sydlexic obviously. Autocorrect, apologies.

Portofino Fri 22-Feb-13 16:56:07

Dd (8) just came back from a trip and was talking about the girls she shared a room with. At Easter she is going to astronaut camp and I caught myself wondering out loud how many other girls would be going blush. Dd was nonplussed by this. Why would girls NOT want to go? I had to backtrack a bit.

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