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to think boys really ARE different to girls and it's not just nurture?

(297 Posts)
Shovelnotspade Sun 28-Oct-12 13:21:14

I went into parenthood armed with a first degree in psychology (combined with philosophy) and the notion that until puberty, little boys and little girls are the same and any differences are simply nurture.

I have 3 boys, 4 including DH's son from his first marriage and to me, they're so different to girls I can't believe it!

My SIL came over with her 5 and 4 year old girls to play with my 3 and 2 year old boys - they live in the US so we don't see them often and hers say nicely and did crafting, played with my old dolls, and decorated biscuits. Mine did not stop shouting and running. At all. I wouldn't change them for the world and am used to having to think of them as having a LOT of energy and a short attention span but SIL looked amazed and offered me lots of largely pointless tips.

I hate generalisations (generally grin) but in my experience, at this age, little boys need far more supervision!
AIBU?

Sparklyboots Sun 28-Oct-12 13:22:28

YABU as what you have there is an anecdote, not evidence.

Shovelnotspade Sun 28-Oct-12 13:23:14

...which is why I said "in my experience"!

Inneedofbrandy Sun 28-Oct-12 13:24:56

I have 2 17 months apart one girl one boy. There is a massive difference! Boys are like dogs and need walking every day girls can be quite mad but at least sit still!

halcyondays Sun 28-Oct-12 13:25:14

If you don't see them often, maybe they were on my best behaviour. My two girls might well sit nicely and do crafting at someone else's house, then they'd go come home and go nuts, shouting and running.

Also, 5 and 4 is older than 3 and 2.

evilwem Sun 28-Oct-12 13:30:49

It's nonsense to start a thread with the sweeping statement 'boys ARE different to girls', then say 'in my experience' when someone points out you have no evidence.

In my experience there are equal numbers of rampaging boys and girls and equal numbers of quiet studious boys and girls. But you know, that's just my experience.

WorraLiberty Sun 28-Oct-12 13:34:03

Don't boys craft and play quietly anymore?

My 3 build Airfix models, complete jigsaw puzzles and decorate biscuits when they feel like it.

They also run around, play football, and play fight when they feel like it.

Just the same as my Nieces do.

It's dependent on the child imo - not their sex.

sleepyhead Sun 28-Oct-12 13:34:13

So, some girls are different from some boys. Not sure if your experience takes into account nurture at all tbh.

Ds will be visiting his female best friend this afternoon and the two of them will spend the next 3 hours running around screaming like banshees.

My niece is a human perpetual motion machine and my nephew will spend hours sitting colouring in quietly. That doesn't tell me anything about innate sex differences either.

NoToastWithoutKnickers Sun 28-Oct-12 13:34:30

DD's 2.6 and has never in her life sat nicely and done crafty stuff. She has the attention span of a gnat and it's lucky I've got a dog because she needs those walks too.
Maybe she's a boy in disguise hmm

HazleNutt Sun 28-Oct-12 13:35:21

My experience from a recent holiday is that my niece was the one running around and screaming, while my friend's boy, same age, was sitting still and playing quietly. So what exactly does that show?

FourEyesGhoul Sun 28-Oct-12 13:35:23

From your experience, you may as well say that children raised in the US are completely different from children raised in the UK, so YABU. But my son is completely different from my daughter. I always just assumed that it was because they're two different people, though.

carocaro Sun 28-Oct-12 13:36:47

They are different, it is as simple as that. But there are similiarities too. I have two boys 5 & 9 and they have just come back in covered in mud after football int he garden, but are now drawing a town.

I think boys get a bad rap, boisterous = bad in many circles, when for me boistrous is good, energy, excitement, enthusiasm, gumption etc etc. Oh and boys 'can't sit still' = bad, again no, they need more kinasthetic learning with actions, nit just stiing still and trying to absorb. DS2 aged 10 had a USA teacher for a year and they are at least 10 years ahead with teaching boys, his classroom had bean bags and sivel chairs, all children but more so the boys could fiddle with elastic bands, tangles whilst listening, they had lots of lessons outside, walking and doing and every single boy in the class jumped 4 sublevels by the end of the year. Total proof that they need to be taught with different skill sets.

Only some mothers of girls only never get it, again I say this from my experience, of cousins and friends with only girls. As a Mum of boys I have learned to see from a boys point of view eg: he is watching a documentary on how to build some of the worlds bridges, he may not be glued to the set and sitting still all of the time and may wander off and come back, but her has learnt everything and more from the programme and can tell me all about it afterwards. So why would I try and make him be like me and watch the screen all the time and listen all the time and sit still? Our 7 yo neighbour Mollie can also weild a Light Sabre with the best of them. So they are the same but different.

They may be running around and shouting but this is still nice behaviour in their world, as sitting and crafting is nice behavior for girls. To call one nice and one not nice is the thin end of the wedge for cliche distinction.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Sun 28-Oct-12 13:37:42

I have two girls and I treat them like dogs too.
There is a huge difference between 4/5 yo and 2/3 yo IME, no matter which sex.

Sparklyboots Sun 28-Oct-12 13:38:28

You state your belief that 'boys really ARE different' which you may have recognised is a consequence of your experience, but nevertheless has convinced you that difference is fact. WRT your example 1. 2/3 vs 4/5 is as likely an explanatory factor. 2. How many times have you expected your DSs to sit quietly and do crafts/ bake? How many times do you think you friend has done so with her DDs? 3. How many times have your DSs witnessed other children sitting quietly doing crafts/ baking? How many times do you think your friend's DDs have? 4. Do you not agree that your friend may have introduced her DDs to such activities and ways of interacting because of a cultural expectation of how girls are? Do you not think others in the children's lives may have expressed similar expectations? What method have you employed for adjusting for those factors?

Shesparkles Sun 28-Oct-12 13:39:03

Totally different. I'm with the treating bits like dogs-plent of food and exercise the legs off them! The exercise them some more.

honeytea Sun 28-Oct-12 13:39:30

I work with kids and the ones most likely to sit and do jigsaws or a detailed drawing happen to be boys, I have girls who want to be dancing jumping shouting all the time. I think it is just their own personalities and also the way they have been brought up.

I think the difference between a 2 and 3 year old and a 4 and 5 year old is much greater than the difference between boys and girls.

Bongaloo Sun 28-Oct-12 13:39:36

Isn't there a testosterone surge in little boys that can have an effect on their behaviour?

GhostShip Sun 28-Oct-12 13:39:48

I'm doing nature v nurture in psycology at the moment, and I fully believe gender is nature.

People are born 'the wrong sex', and are never actually happy in their lives because of this, until they embrace the sex they want to be.

HazleNutt Sun 28-Oct-12 13:39:59

oh, YABU.
you could draw all kinds of conclusions
-your DC are different from your sister's DC
-US kids are different from UK
-5 year olds are so different from 3year olds
and so on. Why focus on the gender?

OneHandFlapping Sun 28-Oct-12 13:42:50

Even at pre-school age some socialisation along gender lines may already have been absorbed by the children.

So you haven't eliminated the effects of nurture in your "experiment".

midori1999 Sun 28-Oct-12 13:48:02

YABU. You brought all your DC up one way, your SIL brought hers up differently. That is all.

Even if we don't realise it, we do treat boys and girls differently, some families more than others. I frequently hear friends tell their boys not to cry as 'boys don't cry' and how many clothes in pink are around for little boys? I also don't think many people would put their sons in dresses, although there's no real reason not to.

TheMummyLovesAScareFest Sun 28-Oct-12 13:53:08

OP hasnt really made a sweeping statement hence the ?

ime i'd have agreed untill 9 months ago. DD is very calm and girly, DS puts the boy in boisterous. also as a primary teacher generally I see a difference which becomes glaringly obvious in assessments.

However, dd2 came along as is so very like ds in every way possible. my thinking now is that in many ways you can generalise girls/boys behaviour but dont assume it. some dcs just dont fit the sterotypes.

MissHuffy Sun 28-Oct-12 13:56:32

I think this kind of thinking is what leads to the "good girl" culture that keeps girls/women in the people pleasing place that suits society, tbh.

I wonder if you had girls if you would expect them to sit quietly and "craft"? I think lots of it is nurture and parental expectation/approval/disapproval (even if non verbal).

Everlong Sun 28-Oct-12 13:58:22

In general I would agree.

I've got 5 boys. The energy and short attention span is evident to me of course lots of other amazing qualities smile but yes very different to girls.

plantsitter Sun 28-Oct-12 14:01:41

I'm a bit tired of hearing how much less active girls are than boys, therefore how much easier I have it with my 2 girls. My girls are very different from each other. They are quite 3-dimensional and it's not just a question of how boisterous or not they are.

And even if one could generalise and say the ways in which boys and girls are different, I don't think it's a good idea to make activities available based only on that. It is possible to like dressing up in princess dresses and playing football, girl or boy.

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