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to think that boys and their friendships are just as complicated as girls

(23 Posts)
deliverdaniel Sun 23-Apr-17 00:23:10

something I read on here a lot, as well as hear it in RL is that girls have complicated friendships with lots of machinations/ politics/ ins and outs etc, whereas boys are a bit simple "like dogs" and their friendships just involve running around and destroying things or whatever with no emotions or complications involved.

I have two DS's. The youngest is too young for this to really be an issue, but I have foudn the opposite with the eldest. He is constantly falling out with and making up with his best friend, and their friendship seems endlessly complicated. DS is always worried htat his bf likes someone else more, or played with someone else or etc etc. He is also generally pretty emotionally complicated and sensitive (this is not a stealth boast btw- it can be hard to deal with) and it's hard to navigate his endlessly changing emotions and sensitivities about random things. He really isn't "like a dog" at all. IS he the only one?

IAmAmy Sun 23-Apr-17 00:26:32

No. Friendships are friendships. They're not gendered. One of my brothers is similar to your son, he falls out then makes up with certain friends. Don't think of friendships as being gendered, just support your child - he sounds lovely and is finding his way.

Flopjustwantscoffee Sun 23-Apr-17 00:28:19

I agree. I do think that girls in general hit stages earlier (language development, then social skills) which maybe makes it more noticeable but boys can go through the same things just slightly (in general) later

Littledrummergirl Sun 23-Apr-17 00:28:57

How old is your Ds? In primary school it didn't seem to make much difference which sex they were, friendships changed regularly.
Both of my ds have had fewer issues at secondary than Dd though as some of the girls have been vile.
Ds2 has some girls in his friendship group and he has helped them through traumas and dramas which has needed some support from us at times.
In my experience girls at secondary have more friendship issues.

chastenedButStillSmiling Sun 23-Apr-17 00:31:15

Of course he isn't.

However a LOT of boys just want to play football, and this tends to be an all-inclusive thing (rather than with girls who play in much smaller groups where people can be and are left out). boys who play football often get hurt, but minimise it in order to carry on playing, whereas girls are often sob-sob-sob... my kneeeeee.

This is a generalisation, and - of course -not all boys play sport and LOADS of girls do sport, but I work in 3 primary schools and there's loads more boo-hoo-hooing from the girls than there is from the boys; and football seems to be the primary reason.

Of course boys have friendships that matter to them massively as well. But generally they're much better at just getting on with things. Girls do tend to hone in.

Disclaimer: Not all girls, not all boys!

holeinmyheart Sun 23-Apr-17 00:31:39

My boys were not like the girls. Before I had children of both sexes I thought that they would be very similar but they are not. Their friendships haven't been the same at all. The boys relationships have been much less intense. They all had best friends but there was much
less falling out amongst the boys..
So for what it is worth that is my experience.

ScarlettFreestone Sun 23-Apr-17 00:31:53

I have boy girl twins.

In my experience boys and girls friendships operate in very similar ways, it's the individual personalities which make the difference.

IAmAmy Sun 23-Apr-17 00:33:53

boys who play football often get hurt, but minimise it in order to carry on playing, whereas girls are often sob-sob-sob... my kneeeeee.

Oh dear. Tell that to the next boy I make cry when I kick box him.

GetInTheFuckingSea Sun 23-Apr-17 00:37:38

I think it depends on the child, not their gender. Some friendship groups are toxic, and children do fall in and out with each other. One thing I have noticed though is that parental attitudes can be different with boys - for eg a boy will tell a parent that he's dropped a friend because he's not good at football or not into pokemon or whatever and the parent will just shrug and congratulate themselves that boys are so uncomplicated - when actually it's still doing exactly the same exclusionary/jockeying for position behaviour that girls are labelled as "bitchy" for displaying.

ILookedintheWater Sun 23-Apr-17 00:41:42

I'm a Brownie leader, a junior youth club leader, and a parent of girls.
My experience is that both sexes have friendships which fall in and out over the preteen years specifically, but girls are meaner, the issue of friendship (or not) is more heartfelt, and generally the preteen 'pecking order resolution' is much harder for girls than boys overall, with some variability for individual personalities, obviously. But, overall, between 9 and about 12, girls have a more dramatic/tougher time of it than the boys.
By mid-teens it all evens out IME.

StillHungryy Sun 23-Apr-17 00:43:41

Oh dear. Tell that to the next boy I make cry when I kick box him.
Except the poster who said that said generalisations and I would argue fairly confidently generally 1) kickboxing isn't generally a sport the masses take up and 2) is taken up less by women/ girls

IAmAmy Sun 23-Apr-17 00:43:54

but girls are meaner

WTF? Give up your Brownie position.

IAmAmy Sun 23-Apr-17 00:46:12


Yeah, generalisation

StillHungryy Sun 23-Apr-17 00:47:15

Tbh OP I think people have preconceived notions about both sexes and it's pretty easy to dispel them younger in life where you spend more time with the children but less noticeable when they're at school out of the house more and so these preconceived notions just stick and I do think boys are less encouraged to talk about friendship issues.

IAmAmy Sun 23-Apr-17 00:48:28

If only parents didn't have ridiculous sexist opinions we could probably destroy sexism.

ILookedintheWater Sun 23-Apr-17 00:51:13

*but girls are meaner

WTF? Give up your Brownie position*

I'll clarify: more aware/calculated in their unkindness at this age compared to boys who just perceive a slight and take issue straight away?

..Not giving up Brownies, they are fab, just aware of their issues.....

Dixiestamp Sun 23-Apr-17 00:52:09

My DS (9)'s best friend is a girl. They never argue and they manage to stay out of the fallings out their other friends tend to have (groups of girls or groups of boys). Hopefully this won't become a problem when they hit their teens (although they're a bit like an old married couple now!) as they get on so well!

StillHungryy Sun 23-Apr-17 00:53:21

Funny enough IAmAmy I feel you had that ready as you made a point that you knew someone was gonna pick up on so to me using replies you're just saying to get a reaction from is trolling-esque. Just like your thread last weekend so I can't be bothered with it. But diving is actually somewhat of a tactic in football, it's frowned upon but many top players do it to gain an advantage especially in Spain and Europe, you'll also see players play on sometimes with broken bones!

IAmAmy Sun 23-Apr-17 00:55:41

I'll clarify: more aware/calculated in their unkindness at this age compared to boys who just perceive a slight and take issue straight away?

I really think you should stop teaching girls if you have this opinion. What utter nonsense. "Calculated in their unkindness"??? Girls are wonderful, supportive, kind, encouraging, inspiring. I love the girls I know, love the girls I knew at primary school and the fact you think this whilst running Brownie groups is horrendous.

GetInTheFuckingSea Sun 23-Apr-17 01:05:19

I am also saddened that two people who work with children subscribe to the view that they do. Re the football comment: have you any idea as to the complex social machinations that go on before a game of football even starts in a playground, and continues throughout? It really is nowhere near as simple as just kicking a ball around.

deliverdaniel Sun 23-Apr-17 02:49:25

thanks for the replies. Obv I am only dealing with a sample of 1 at the moment ( I have 2 boys but one of them is too young for this to matter yet) but so far, the whole "boys are like dogs" thing just hasn't resonated at all. DS is every bit as complicated (and usually way more so) than most of the girls I know who are his peers. It's hard to tell whether he is totally atypical or not. I feel as though there is a massive case of confirmation bias going on with gender stereotypes in general- ie people notice and remark on the stereotyped behaviour and seem to ignore the times when kids' behaviour contradicts their pre-conceived notions.

But then again, all this is anecdotal and there are few people that are workign with big enough samples to know. Maybe some teachers would have more insight?

klondikecookie Sun 23-Apr-17 03:32:14

Generalisations are generalisations, but they're not always completely wrong. Studies do show a difference between male-male and female-female friendships, including evidence that males bond more over shared activities, so the football comments might have some element of truth to them.

blubberball Sun 23-Apr-17 04:04:40

I think that it is an individual/personality issue. I don't think that you can really generalise. I grew up with 2 brothers, both of them extremely intelligent (at school etc. I am not so bright myself). My eldest brother had 1 or 2 close friendships through school. My other brother preferred to mix in huge groups/bands of friends. Neither of them were sporty or into football at school. One was more into books, the other was more into music. They could both have intense falling outs and issues with friends, but perhaps it didn't happen on a week by week basis like it did with my friends. Just every few years or so I think.

My own experience with girl friends at school was quite bitchy and awful. I ended up being more comfortable with being friends with boys.

My ds9 has had a best friend who was a boy, and it was a very intense friendship from my ds' pov, but I think that the other boy had other friends and didn't feel quite the same. It was a lovely friendship though, and they made each other laugh alot. Sadly my ds had to move schools, and the other boy never responded when we tried to keep in touch. This upset my ds for a long time, and it took him a long time to settle in the new school and make new friends. Now he has another close, intense friendship with a girl. I think that it's a similar situation as before, in that she has other friends, but he sees her as his one and only best friend. He has just started to stop mentioning his old school and missing his old friend, so I'm hoping that this new friendship continues to thrive. But who knows?

My ds5 has sn, and tends to be in his own little world at school atm. He's happy enough, and I think that he just mingles around the other children without getting attached to anybody in particular.

Any way, I think that it's safe to say that we're all individuals, and we really shouldn't generalise or stereotype.

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