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To wonder what the hell happens to boys at birthday parties

(241 Posts)
pouffepants Sat 15-Sep-12 21:17:45

I've had this before. Boys that behave perfectly reasonably at all other times seem to morph into crazy creatures as soon as they enter a party.

Dd2's 6th party this afternoon. Invited a mix of boys and girls, but several of the boys couldn't come so only had 3. The boy who lives a few houses down, plays round regularly, so I know he usually behaves fine. A very small quiet mouse of a boy, renowned for being a complete sweetie. And a boy I didn't know well, but had heard was lively.

Now I expect a bit of daft and rowdy behaviour since they're excited, but honestly it was ridiculous. Literally, the second they charged through the door it turned into the scene of a crazy OTT kids film. Just hurling everything they could get their hands on at each other, jumping off stuff etc.

The girls were fine, a couple excitable, but behaved fine and joined in. But the boys? They said they wanted to play pass the parcel. So they all sat in a circle nicely, but as soon as it got to one of the boys, it just got hurled across the room. Anything involving music, just turned into fighting, not just play fighting, properly kicking each other in the head.

They went in dd's room, and they literally just pulled everything out and started smashing it against the walls, and each other. Had to bring everyone downstairs again because they were trying to smash the computer. This is a boy who plays on it perfectly nicely, when he comes round to play.

So I got the food out, and they made no attempt to eat at all, just smearing it all over each other, throwing it, pouring drinks around. I really don't like telling other people's kids off, especially at a party, but I had no choice. Spent the whole afternoon having to separate, and 'have a word', whereas my 16yo ds could manage all 8 girls no problem while I was talking to boys who seemed in a zombified crazed state.

The boy I know best, on an average day I might say 'no, we don't do that' and he'll stop, no probs. Today spent the whole of musical chairs having to hold onto him on the sofa, because if I let go, he charged into the middle of the room and knocked all the chairs over and tried to throw them. This was all before any food, so I can't blame junk.

This sort of divide has been obvious at every party I've ever done, so why do boys get SOOO hyper, while the girls just get a bit excited?

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Tue 18-Sep-12 18:04:08


flow4 Tue 18-Sep-12 10:45:13

Blimey. I'd take 3 rowdy boys over a chat-room full of indignant MN mums, any day!

pouffepants Mon 17-Sep-12 21:04:04

Who the hell said I didn't challenge him??

weblette Mon 17-Sep-12 19:23:05

Hands up here as a Beaver leader and have three 'boisterous' boys plus an older girl.

IMHO you lost it from the point you didn't challenge the boy who threw his shoes. I can put up with any amount of 'reasonable' child rough and tumble but I won't stand for behaviour like that. Why on earth would you put up with that without challenging it?

With 4 dcs I've held any number of parties over the years for any number of combinations of boys and girls but have never experienced anything similar.

SoupDragon Mon 17-Sep-12 19:11:37

Some small children flip out at parties. It doesn't matter what sex they are.

QueenMaeve Mon 17-Sep-12 19:07:25

But boys parties are so much easier. Open the back door, out they run, feed them, open the back door again. Girls just sit back waiting to be entertained.

AllPastYears Mon 17-Sep-12 18:44:50

"since about 4 I have always organised parties such as swimming, bowling, laser quest etc and most recently go-karting"

I wonder if this is part of the problem - not blaming you personally Poppy! But many parties now are very physical and maybe the kids (especially the boys) don't understand how to behave at more sedate parties.

googlyeyes Mon 17-Sep-12 18:32:24

No, I haven't noticed any thought police IRL on this issue. But then MN increasingly seems to be a big bubble, unconnected to the real world! A bubble where, as I said, most women state that they are happy to be different to men, love and celebrate those differences, and would not self-identify as feminists because they feel that women and men are equal but different.

Yet when they talk about their children, suddenly gender is a social construct and little else

FWIW I do identify as a feminist. Very strongly. And I have always been very far from a girly girl. Despite my family trying to 'construct' me into one from birth! My sister OTOH is the original pink princess. So how did that work?

I have ended up with DD who is incredibly pink and girly, and DS1 and DS2 who live for their trains and cars. And I'm happy with that, just as I would have been happy if they were 'atypical', because they are happy being the way they are. But after growing up with the ultimate chauvinist pig father and weak, submissive mother, who were both very unhappy in these 'traditional' roles, I am very keen to encourage my DC to not be constrained by their gender and to break out of male/ female stereotyping whenever the hell they like. For each gender to take on traits of the other can be incredibly positive.

And I know the Cordelia Fine book is always brought into threads like this, but there are many, many books that present the opposite POV, so I don't know why her views are given much more weight. It's like her book is the accepted text on MN

Poppylovescheese Mon 17-Sep-12 18:03:47

I have an 11 year old ds and none of his parties have ever been like this. However since about 4 I have always organised parties such as swimming, bowling, laser quest etc and most recently go-karting. The kids burn off loads of energy that way and have always been well-behaved. I wouldn't attempt one at home.

NowThenWreck Mon 17-Sep-12 18:00:39

Actually, there was a book recently (sorry can't link-cooking) by an anthropologist which concluded that while there are differences, there are far more similarities between the sexes than differences.
In other words, the differences are magnified by societal pressures to the point of distortion.
I can't help but notice that I, my siblings, and everyone I know who was raised to not put much emphasis on gender differences, all have strong traits that would often be associated with the opposite gender.
Because we didn't know we shouldn't.

Kids growing up now are so parcelled out into gender.

Thought police? Christ. I wish there was a gender thought police that would arrest the manufacturer that makes "boys" word fridge magnets and "girls" word fridge magnets.
The girls words are all things like "fluffy" and "sparkly" and "cupcakes" grin

PiratesKnittingTreasure Mon 17-Sep-12 17:45:34

Googly, didn't say that for one second but feel free to misread my post in order to trot out tired MN cliches hmm.

MarysBeard Mon 17-Sep-12 17:06:45

And it's certainly not taboo. IRL people still use traditional gender stereotyping a great deal, as the other thread demonstrates.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Mon 17-Sep-12 17:05:19

I have 3 DSs. Eldest is 18 today smile

Not read the whole thread as I like to keep my blood pressure low

In not one of their parties has there ever been behaviour like this and I've had all 15 boys in the class to some parties when they were younger.

I am one of those mothers who won't be crossed, though. It's very much a case of 'Not on my watch, sonny Jim'.

MarysBeard Mon 17-Sep-12 17:04:43

Noone is saying there are no differences. But the fact that society still has certain expectations of gender roles amplify and sometimes falsely create those differences.

googlyeyes Mon 17-Sep-12 16:56:40

And especially bonkers when we have another simultaneous thread where women are lining up to say they love being 'feminine' and 'womanly' and in 'traditional roles', where their DH drives, pays and looks after them.

WTAF? How does that square with this thread?

googlyeyes Mon 17-Sep-12 16:53:24

Are people seriously negating the influence of testosterone? That's not a social construct!

Surely it is beyond any argument that boys have more of a propensity to be physical and to wrestle/ play fight? Why is this so fucking taboo now? And surely it should go without saying that propensity means exactly that, it's not a given that every boy will be more physical or that every girl will be less physical?

Drives me batshit when someone pops up to say, for example, that they or their dd love wrestling. The plural of anecdote is not fucking data!

No one should be strictured by their gender but to deny that we have different hormonal influences ON THE WHOLE is bonkers. Stark raving bonkers. <awaits knock on door from the thought police>

Pandemoniaa Mon 17-Sep-12 16:39:21

I had two boys. Lively, quite capable of getting over-excited and very fond of rushing around in the garden sort of play. But.... despite years of having parties (at which boys tended to outnumber girls until girls suddenly turned into fascinating creatures!) I never experienced anything like you describe, OP. Actually, I lie. At ds2's 4th birthday party, an older sibling of one of the guests turned up, uninvited. He did cause chaos and was unprepared to be diverted away from chaotic pursuits. So I did, in the end, have to ask his mother to take him home. But that was because he was that particular boy, not merely a boy.

If I'd have been you, OP, I'd have made it clear that the behaviour of the boys at your child's party was unacceptable.

PiratesKnittingTreasure Mon 17-Sep-12 16:30:30

Exactly, NowThen. I have a friend who's son is totally into dolls, barbies, dressing up as a princess. His mum and dad are totally cool about it so no one has told him he should be playing with guns/cars/wrestling etc. I'm sure a few weeks of school will knock it out of him though sad.

I know that researchers have done experiments where they dress boy babies and girl babies in the "opposite gender" clothes and have found adults interact with them in a completely different way. I wonder what would happen if they were able to bring up a boy/girl as the opposite gender - how much of this so-called genetics would be proved to be no such thing.

I don't for one minute disagree that there are differences between the genders, but I for one think the jury is still out on how much of the differences are social conditioning and how much genetic.

NowThenWreck Sun 16-Sep-12 22:39:53

Agree Pirates.
It's hard to overestimate just how much peer pressure has to do with gender traits. There is one boy in particular in ds's class who relentlessly scoffs at anything "feminine". Everything that isn't obviously macho is "for girls", and the other boys respond by also rejecting anything "feminine" because they fear the scorn of this alpha boy.
It's all bullshit. If ds doesn't know something is supposed to be feminine, he likes it, or doesn't, based on his genuine preferences.
It is sad to see.

PiratesKnittingTreasure Sun 16-Sep-12 21:49:04

Exotic, who is pointing out there are no differences? Of course there are differences. I am also an experienced teacher and youth leader and yes there are differences - what I HATE is the ludicrous generalisations.

FWIW, DS1 has not once mentioned guns or role played guns until last week. 2 days after starting school suddenly guns are introduced. That's nothing to do with genetics and everything to do with his peers.

frankie4 Sun 16-Sep-12 21:21:02

I agree with you op.

I have got 2 ds's and have probably done about 15 parties over the years, some with all boys, some with a mix. My ds's and their friends are quiet and well behaved but you only need one or two more boisterous boys at the party to completely change the atmosphere and the behaviour of the other boys. I too have had a party at my house with things being thrown around the room, punching the walls etc, and the party was really well organised with lots of activities.

I know that girls can also be naughty and fight, but they are different to boys when in a group and both my nieces have all their parties at home with no major problems with fighting, food fights etc.

I hate criticism of boys as I have 2 lovely ds's but it is true that young boys can "feed off" each other and get over excited on occasion.

exoticfruits Sun 16-Sep-12 21:03:09

I really will make this my last, promise. grin
The next time someone starts a post about how disappointed they are about the gender of their baby -I will say 'don't be so utterly ridiculous-it is just social conditioning and it really doesn't matter which gender-they are the same'!

DamnBamboo Sun 16-Sep-12 21:02:33

Assuming you're actually telling the truth OP (and I have my doubts) then I would advise that you supervise it a little better next time.

I have three brothers and mostly played with boys as a child and never saw anything like this happen. I also have three boys and have held and supervised many parties as well as many play sessions with a few of their buddies and nothing like this has ever happened!

NowThenWreck Sun 16-Sep-12 20:57:52

I never get these kind of threads, maybe since I grew up with many brothers, and was probably an energetic, tree climbing girl, and have brothers, and a son, who love quiet drawing/making stuff/ reading easily as much as they love running around.
But then there was never any gender stereotyping in my family. Literally, none. It just never occurred to me, or my parents, to differentiate between boys and girls, so we all acted about the same.
Having said that, I find prissy misses weird, because I wasn't one, and neither was my sister, so maybe I am just more of a "boy"!

stella1w Sun 16-Sep-12 20:53:26

At dd,s last bday party, aged four, we had about 22 kids, half and half and the boys did basically charge around, shout, let off steam and had trouble focusing on the entertainer. They weren,t terrible tho

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