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"Boys will be boys"

(157 Posts)
Amber76 Wed 29-Oct-14 14:40:57

to think that the above is not an excuse for rough behaviour?

I have a 4 year old girl and an 18 month old boy. So far I've noticed little difference in the way they are and how they play. They've never wrestled each other but maybe he's a bit young. But I have never seen my girl try to wrestle another child - its just not something that has come up so far.

But we have a friend who has two young boys who are constantly play fighting and it can get very rough (things being knocked over in the house, my kids getting bumped into, etc.). They are constantly trying to kick or hit each other. My friend explains the very boisterous behaviour by just saying that all boys are like that. I don't agree and think it is a lazy excuse for bad behaviour. But I've also heard the same line trotted out at play groups and at birthday parties in relation to boys play fighting and trying to "kill" each other.

I am pregnant again and suspect it is a boy so am I going to have two little boys constantly wrestling each other for the next few years? Is this inevitable?!

secretsquirrels Wed 29-Oct-14 14:45:35

In my experience yes but of course there will always be exceptions. It went against the grain for me, I never encouraged it and tried hard to treat them in a gender neutral way. At 2 DS1's favourite toy was his kitchen.
However by the time DS2 was about 2 and DS1 was 4 the play fighting and rough and tumble started. No matter how much I stopped and disapproved of it, they thought it was fun.
They grew out of it by aged 10/11 thankfully.

TagineKaput Wed 29-Oct-14 14:49:46

I can't stand these gender generalisations. No, not all boys wrestle and fight (I have three boys and they don't).

Miggsie Wed 29-Oct-14 14:50:05

I hate this phrase, in my circle it only seems to be trotted out by parents who don't want to tell their kids to stop thrashing others.

DH and I always challenge it when parents say it because it is essentially meaningless.

My friend's boy has never wrestled anyone - he's very quiet and prefers reading.

Bartlebee Wed 29-Oct-14 14:52:15

I hate this generalisation.

I have boys and they don't fight or wrestle.

secretsquirrels Wed 29-Oct-14 14:52:41

Bad behaviour is not the same as play fighting.
My two only ever did this at home. Thumping other DC is not the same thing at all.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Wed 29-Oct-14 14:53:26

No it's nonsense that all boys/ children are the same.

I have three boys and they didn't fight or were particularly boisterous, they were placid by nature and gentle.

dreamerdoer Wed 29-Oct-14 14:55:56

Kids fight.

When girls do it adults are more likely to look shocked/tell them off/act disappointed in the kid. When boys do it adults are more likely to laugh it off/encourage them to stand up for themselves/say they are just being boys.

Shockingly this leads to boys continuing to fight and girls doing so less.

So I suspect OP you are going to see physical fights involving your dd, but that as they grow up she will probably 'grow out of' (or rather, be socialised out of) it sooner than the boys.

bigbluestars Wed 29-Oct-14 14:57:15

My son does not enjoy rough play.

And I agree it's often an excuse to let children away with bad and violent behaviour.

ScreamingSmegs Wed 29-Oct-14 14:58:04

My brother and I used to wrestle and beat the crap out of each other. My DDs have started doing it too - DD2 is rather strong and likes to assert herself physically. It's not limited to boys, sorry!

However, I think people who trot out the 'boys will be boys' line when their kids are behaving like Alex and his droogs in A Clockwork Orange are letting their assumptions about gender cloud the fact that their kids are badly behaved.

bigbluestars Wed 29-Oct-14 14:58:43

dreamer- "Kids fight." That is a sweeping generalisation.

Your kids may fight but my don't. Neither do many others.

Floggingmolly Wed 29-Oct-14 14:58:48

It's complete nonsense. My neighbour's four year old boy is an absolute nightmare, he does stuff like randomly shouting "I don't like you" while running up and thumping random passers by (hmm) on the school run; and she alternates between calling him a "character" (no, he's not) and blithely announcing to all and sundry "they're all like that at that age"...
How could the little bugger darling be any other way?

YourKidsYourRulesHunXxx Wed 29-Oct-14 15:00:14

'Boys will be boys' is a saying that is very harmful- a) It gives the impression that perhaps boys who are especially senstive or deemed 'effeminate' (hate that word) have to live up to a certain level of machismo or else they are defective in some way, and b) it also brushes aside any behaviour which is not appropriate, including towards women.

In short, if my son was a discourteous little shit, then I would tell him to behave. Playfighting is not acceptable in my eyes, because it only takes the wrong move for it to escalate.

That's what lightsabres/ water pistols or for grin

crazykat Wed 29-Oct-14 15:05:56

My dd1 and ds1 are always wrestling and trying to 'kill' each other.

When they were younger they were how you describe your children and never wrestled or fought each other. It all changed when they were 5 and 4 respectively and they started play fighting. I've always tried to stop them fighting but it doesn't work and its worse now that dd2 joins in when the older two start. Its nothing I do with lazy parenting or not trying to stop it in our case.

Its a sibling thing according to my DH who was the same with his sister.

ouryve Wed 29-Oct-14 15:07:57

YANBU. I bloody hate it. It tends to come from the same parents who have girls who are little princesses.

Um, no, children are children and your girls are probably better behaved because you actually talk to them, instead of yelling at them, after the event.

crazykat Wed 29-Oct-14 15:08:00

Fwiw my DDs are as bad as ds, if not worse. Its not bad behaviour its just kids being kids.

bigbluestars Wed 29-Oct-14 15:08:34

Crazy-but not all kids fight.

LucilleBluth Wed 29-Oct-14 15:09:49

Oh I don't know...I do think that aggressive play is more common in boys.......just look at who starts all the wars, watches wrestling etc etc, I know it's not a pc opinion. My DS's have been know to engage in a bit of rough and tumble

It may be nature or social conditioning or may be a bit of both.

bigbluestars Wed 29-Oct-14 15:10:15

"Its not bad behaviour its just kids being kids."

I don't think kids should be knocking two bells out of each other.
You seem to casually accept this violence.

NancyJones Wed 29-Oct-14 15:19:37

My dd is far more into play fighting than her siblings. I have 4 and dont parent them differently but she can't seem to help herself and has alwYs been very physical in her play. But then she has never been interested in craft or anything like that. She is into tree climbing and tree swinging and basically anything that gives her an adrenalin rush. I don't think it's bad parenting as surely the others would be the same? So I'm not sure I need to excuse it by saying girls will be girls or anything. I just think that some children are naturally like this but I'm not sure it's a boy thing; certainly not here.

merrymouse Wed 29-Oct-14 15:25:03

DD is as happy as DS to indulge in a little harmless play fighting. However, she is also more happy to sit and draw which is a 'girl' thing. Therefore, from my random sample I don't know.

However, I don't think there is anything wrong with play fighting. It is a valuable part of play and helps children to learn restraint and rules and when you have gone too far. I think however, that you are allowed to have rules about when and where it is appropriate and re-direct it into something more structured like martial arts classes.

merrymouse Wed 29-Oct-14 15:32:16

I also think that rough, energetic play can be more work, but that doesn't make it 'wrong' in itself. Children who like rough energetic play are likely to find it more difficult to sit quietly at convenient times - e.g. when you are in a restaurant, when they are in a social situation that is testing their patience.

That doesn't mean that they are more badly behaved than the little girl or boy sitting quietly on somebody's knee or drawing. It just means that they require different parenting strategies and may not yet have the skills to control themselves in certain situations, so you should probably avoid them.

Of course sometimes those situations are unavoidable and that is when you look like a bad parent.

WalkingInMemphis Wed 29-Oct-14 15:45:43

On a thread like this, generally the people that post will be those with 'interesting' stories that go against the stereotype.

I know a few girls who like to wrestle or play roughly. I know lots of quiet, gentle little boys who don't generally like too much rough and tumble.

But IME, the stereotype is generally right for 'most' children. Meaning not ALL before I get jumped on, but most - as in more than half.

I have 2 ds's who playfight, despite my attempts to stop them. They both like rough and tumble play and yes, sometimes it does go too far and one of them will end up crying - but they're not inherently mean or badly behaved.

When I look at the dc's school yard there is generally a clear split between groups of girls standing and talking or skipping and groups of boys who are racing about, getting too worked up and excited and sometimes playfighting.

I do find that generally boys are more boisterous/rough than girls - whether that's because of nature or because we've come to accept this in boys but not girls is a debate that could go on forever.

I do believe there is some actual 'evidence' that suggests it may not be all down to nurture, and that boys have testosterone surges at age 4ish (I think - I've not checked this just now but have read it before).

bigbluestars Wed 29-Oct-14 15:47:13

"However, I don't think there is anything wrong with play fighting."

But there can be - it may not be by mutual consent, or tempers may get flared, or one child may not understand the boudaries and someone may get hurt( which happens more often than not in play fights I have observed)

WalkingInMemphis Wed 29-Oct-14 15:49:46

There's no such thing as playfighting that is not mutual IMO - I've never witnessed it anyway.

Either 2 (or more) dc are playfighting, both giving out - or one dc is just going at another who is just standing there, in which case they (you assume) would be told to stop.

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