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Boys who aren't 'boyish' - physically unadventurous - WDYD?!

(15 Posts)
pipkin35 Tue 14-Dec-10 11:41:59

3 yr old doesn't show any interest in climbing etc...whenever we go to the park/soft play, my 20 month old girl is more adventurous than he is. Recently took him to a tumbletots class to encourage him but he wasn't keen at all.

Do you just accept that's how they are - he's not a shy or quiet child at all - he's very verbal etc...or keep 'trying' to encourage that kind of thing?

And in what other ways aren't your boys 'boyish'?

I really don't care, but its not like not liking art or something where you just leave it out and see if they want to do it - it's a shclep to get up and out to a park for him then to winge and moan all the way round, not able/wanting to climb up stairs to get on the slide, freaking out if swings or roundabouts go 'too fast' etc...I don't want to scare him or force him on things...

jacquiel Tue 14-Dec-10 11:46:51

I used to worry about this with one of my boys - he was scared to do things that my elder children had done.
I think just give him the opportunities but dont push it.
Maybe take some things to the park with you that he can play with without going on the equipment? eg a ball, books, drawing stuff,a camera, maybe you could go around the playground and 'find interesting things' to make a collage with when you get home - your daughter can still enjoy swings or whatever and he is in the environment but not pressured.

PfftTheMagicDragon Tue 14-Dec-10 11:53:42

I think that you should stop attributing gender stereotypes to your children and just view them as they are. As individuals.

It's rather narrow minded to assume that all boys are adventurous and all girls meek and mild. It sounds like he is scared of going too fast on the roudabout. So why would you put him on it? To make him more "boyish"? He's a person!! Let him be who he is, not who you think his gender says he should be.

NoahAndTheWhale Tue 14-Dec-10 11:56:19

I don't think what you're describing is a lack of being "boyish". My DS is not what I would describe as boyish, but he loves climbing etc. DD doesn't - but that doesn't mean she is any more girly.

Lancelottie Tue 14-Dec-10 11:56:37

Maybe he's not timid, but just not reckless? My elder boy was like that -- checked things out cautiously, and in his teens is a careful and competent cyclist, sailor and windsurfer.

His brother leaps in with both feet. We rarely have a year without a casualty trip.

missmehalia Tue 14-Dec-10 11:57:13

Don't think you're necessarily being gender stereotypical (after all, your DD isn't!) but I think it's a good idea to just get him to enjoy the outdoors first of all.. and, in this weather, maybe fun physical activity inside may be his preference. Soft play? Swimming? Also, maybe try taking a friend he likes, too, so he's encouraged to be more playful by someone other than you.

Could take the heat off you all..

Rooble Tue 14-Dec-10 12:00:55

My DS (also 3) is exactly the same. He's done everything physical slightly later than average and is extremely cautious (to the extent his grandfather calls him the health and safety officer).
I think it's important not to make it into an Issue because that could put him off all physical activity altogether. We try and take everything very slowly - show him exactly how to climb (sounds ridiculous, but he really does seem to need to get it intellectually before he's prepared to try things). I also found it helpful when his older cousins whom he worships were able to show him stuff - made him desperate to copy, and there was enough of an age gap for them be patient with him.

Rooble Tue 14-Dec-10 12:08:21

Actually, I just wanted to add, it's a personal thing, but I tend to think it's important to encourage them to be able to do stuff like run, jump and climb - not necessarily to want to, just to be able to - because once they're in the school playground physical inability can be a real discriminator. Iyswim. Again - speaking from experience here! And I think it can often be a bigger issue for boys.
But it's a difficult balance. I do sort of agree with the need not to gender stereotype.... Except that they do have to fit in with the children around them to an extent. Sorry being all verbose

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 14-Dec-10 12:08:30

It sounds like you're more worried about him being afraid, nervy etc than not fulfilling his gender destiny grin but I agree that it's probably not helpful to put it in terms of "boyishness" or the opposite, either aloud to him or even to yourself. Otherwise you risk worrying too much that this is something fundamentally "wrong" with him, rather than just a stage in his development.

Children learn things in different ways, and it may be for him that he needs longer to get used to the idea of fast things/heights etc before he's willing to give them a go himself. One day (he's still so little) he might see another child playing in the park, and decide to follow and forget he was ever scared, or even just wake up one morning and want to clamber everywhere. There are a lot of nervous children that don't grow up to be nervous adults. On the other hand, maybe he's happier doing mentally stimulating activities, or being silly rather than risky?

If he's very chatty, how about using the trips to the park to find things, and getting him running around that way (first to find a shiny stone, or 3 different kinds of leaf), then get him to make up stories about them?

dinkystinky Tue 14-Dec-10 12:10:20

Accept it - DS1 is like this too, abit timid of climbing/new experiences. He does however love running around kicking a football so does kiddie football classes. I agree with previous poster that the park treasure hunt is a great game to play.

pipkin35 Tue 14-Dec-10 12:13:59

Lancelottie - think your comment about just not being reckless is a good point.
Jacquiel - good idea, hadn't actually considered doing that.
Pfft - I'm not putting gender sterotypes onto my kids at all and never would. I don't expect girls to be one way or boys another. Or care. I don't have certain toys for them. He loves trains but he adores his pink doll and buggy. She likes blocks. That's the whole reason I put 'boyish' in inverted commas, cos I don't think climbing/football/guns/dinosaurs makes a 'boy'...I don't whack him on a speedy roundabout to freak him out either! Last time we went on one, he was happy pushing it round, watching it - his sister got on, he then got on and I started spinning it - but he was getting seriously distressed when it went too fast, so course I stopped it and got him off, wouldn't 'force' him to stay on or anything like that!
It's more what Rooble said - just knowing whether to keep on trying by me showing etc....or if he's really not interested, just to leave it out altogether...

pipkin35 Tue 14-Dec-10 12:18:28

ElephantsAndMiasmas - nail on the head. Should have thought before I even posted. Yep, more worried about him being nervy and afraid.

Tips on sorting that...?!

Had his Xmas carol thingy this AM, he was the only kid not dressed up. I asked him about it, went round the shops a couple of times, he didn't want to dress up. Seemed pretty freaked out by it. I felt bad, should I have been doing more 'dressing up' since birth know, stuck a pair on antlers on him by force but personally, I can't stand people who dress up their kids in outfits before the kids are old enough to warrant an opinion...
I digress.

wannabeglam Tue 14-Dec-10 12:27:44

I think you're a bit anxious about getting everything right. Just follow you DS's lead. And it could all change in a couple of years.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 14-Dec-10 12:33:22

I don't know whether you can stop someone nervous, of any age, from being nervous. Probably if you are hovering over him angsting about it yourself, that is not going to help. Not that I am an expert or anything, but probably if it seems like a big deal to you whether he climbs the climbing frame or not, he will only worry about it more.

Think some people have an idea that elder children are often more nervous and less "carefree" than their younger siblings, perhaps because their parents worried about them so much more (PFBitis) and they are used to being around adults. In any case, I think the key is to play to his strengths. Does he like anything at the playground? For instance, if he likes going down the slide, you could give him a quiz, and for every question he gets right, he goes another step up the slide, so when he gets five right, he gets to slide down it?

If you're worried about him not doing enough physical stuff, how about trying him on something like a kids' drama or dance class? Or constructing an obstacle course in the front room? If he gets on with his sister, he might like to help build one for her to do that he then has to show her how to do it?

Tgger Tue 14-Dec-10 22:46:10


My son was like this.

He changed a lot between 3 and 4 so really I would just accept him how he is. Still give him opportunties, stay open to them so he is, but also accept it when he doesn't want to do stuff, is scared/nervous etc.

I think what helped my son was when he was in a group situation (he went to day nursery quite young then pre-school) and he joined in stuff there that he didn't do when it was just me and him.

On his pre-school report (age 3.5) it said "DS is a physically adept child". THis made us giggle as we had labelled him as the reverse of this, as he'd been so physically slow/nervous etc. Just shows you though that within the group there he was doing good! Then by 4 he is similar to his peers and a lot less scared in general.

I think he got "better" partly just growing up and partly me relaxing about it. He was often the kid who had to have his teddy with him/didn't dress up etc etc Also, quite funny, this is the first year (age 4) that he has wanted to see FC, too scared before this. He is a lot easier to talk round these days as well- no pressure but gently suggesting that the situations he is scared of may actually be ok because of this this and this and saying but you can decide.... he will say no, then next minute "I think I am brave enough smile.
Hang in there!

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