Boys. Are they really that different?(90 Posts)
I have a two year old girl. I just had a baby boy a few weeks ago. We did not find out the gender and we are thrilled.
I've been on the advice boards quite a bit, as one does with a newborn and a challenging toddler.
I'm noticing quite a few threads suggesting boys are high energy destructive little brutes who take ages to learn to talk and difficult to tame. That is to say, far fewer such threads relating to girls.
Is there something I should know? Ought I be reading that raising boys book?
If I find a thread I will link, but they go like this; 'why is my toddler destructive and does he have ADHD?', and tons of replies like this; 'normal. All my boys are like this. My dd would sit doing crafts for hours, you need to take them for 3 mile walks x2 a day'
Gender stereotypes are harmful. They are labels and labels are not helpful to children. Having three older brothers I would play with toy cars, Lego and same outdoor games as older DBs (unsurprisingly) but I was labelled a tomboy. Little girls aren't more complex by nature, we make them that way by reading more into their personalities. Completely unsurprised by the gender experiments above - my dh is one of 4 boys so paternal GPs have little experience of baby girls and all they do with my very energetic dd is coo at her while she tries to escape to play or looks bored!
We have 3DDs then a DS, DS is now 2.7yo and yes I have noticed a difference.
DD2 is a complete tomboy by the time she was 18 months she hated dolls and anything girly. So we have had a collection of boys and girls toys. DS goes for anything with wheels, he's obsessed with cars and trains, he will play with a pram but will put a train in it and use it to ram things!
He's a whirlwind, very physical, destructive and just mad at times. He's also the most outwardly affectionate, had the closest bond with me but lives the rough and tumble with his Dad. He also loves getting his hair done and clips put in it.
But then again all 3 girls are completely different. DD1 & 2 are so different from each other too.
I think half if it is nature half nurture.
There are so many factors at play. Birth order, personality, role models, loads of things have an influence. I'm sure gender has some impact, but how you separate that from everything else going on I don't know.
DS is a second-born child - he's louder than DD, but is that because he's a boy, or because he's not got the same monopoly on parental attention as a PFB and has learned to "compete"? Or is it because I'm loud and it's a genetically inherited trait?
What is seen in girls as "feisty" or "spirited", is labelled in boys as "boisterous". It annoys me that girls are "supposed" to be one way and boys are "supposed" to be another. Let them be! I think you have to beware self-fulfilling prophesies and midwives who make sweeping stereotypes.
Throughout history the prrceived 'complexity' of women has given tide to many rather unpalatable stereotypes; devious, scheming woman to be one, or emotional, volatile hysteric to be another.
I have one DD who wears her heart on her sleeve, cannot lie and another who is more complex. Yet I have also been fortunate to know some complex men too.
People are people.
But when children get to school you see how boys become more prone to outward displays of emotion and girls tend to internalise emotion:this is to do with our societal norms:what is behaviour us expected according to sex rather than and innate predisposition towards complexity.
It's down to parents and social influences (with the exception of children with SN or illness where there are other influences obvioulsy)
I am 3 months away from having a boy and have broached the subject of 'will he be a hell-raising, destructive, ball of energy' or 'will he be overly sensitive and easily picked on'. Not because I want to stereotype, but because I have no idea what he's going to be like and the toddler boys that I know (limited numbers admittedly) seem to fall into these categories.
Interesting to read other's experiences though and to realise that it isn't that simple and restricted. The same way that my daughter is more complex than just being obsessed with pink. She loved pink, but now blue is her favourite colour (over simplifying on my part but you catch my drift ). She spoke early, walked early, is top of her class, has a talent for singing and dancing and her favourite past time is giving me a heart attack as she leaps over obstacles and climbs the highest tree. She is also a grade A whinger but is sensitive and considerate and empathetic. All recognised and commented on by school (not the whinging - she saves that for home).
My point, she fits into some stereotyping but not all. Just like my limited number of toddler boys fit into some stereotypes (that I focused on initially) but upon closer inspection/me being more open minded about boys vs girls, they are equally as complex as DD or, less complex dependent on the child and their upbringing, parental influences and social influences.
So, in my less-than-knowledgeable experience, it is down to how we perceive boys and girls should act. We do it without realising, without conscious effort.
On a slight tangent - baby clothes. Pink, blue or white. It is driving me effing mad. I want to buy clothes for Boy but don't want him head to bloody toe in blue, exactly the same as I didn't want DD head to toe in pink. I don't mind some colour, but it would seem the main supermarkets/stores where I can afford to shop are Pink section - for all your baby girl could ever need. Blue section (with 1/4 of the choice!) for all your little "tyke/monster" could ever need.
Rarr. Browns, greens, orange.....purple (anything that doesn't show stains I suppose) where do you get non-blue boy clothes from? <irrational rage>
I have 4 kids (DS, DD, DD, DS). I've found they all go through a hyper stage and age out of it (still aging out of it at times), but the reaction to it is very different between DS1 and his sisters. Some people have acted very harshly when I've tried to calm him down and show him how to control his energy, whereas I've not gotten that at all with my DDs. It seems it's thought of as normal that a girl needs to learn how to calm herself down whereas for boys, it's unmasculine (yes, I've had this, or that I'm not realiing he's a boy/trying to take the boy out of him.) and that boys should only be calmed down by outside forces like being active/wearing out.
Out of all my children, DS1 is the calmest, though I'm not sure if that is an age thing yet or not but he was a very relaxed and chilled little one as well (from the womb, his first scan showed him with his feet propped up and his hands behind his head. Gets it from his father).
SoupDragon - I've had the 'girls are more manipulative/wrapping people around her finger to get she want/boys you can tell what they are thinking on the surface but not with girls' bollocks which sounds like what ubik is talking about.
I second the recommendation to read Delusions of Gender. It's very readable, but it's also a good, systematic look at the evidence, which will hopefully be more useful to you than a bunch of anecdotes
BALD, never has your MN name been more appropriate to a thread...
Some of my friends who are mothers have talked about girls having more emotional intelligence, that girls are more manipulative with their friends and it's worse when girls fall out because they can really twist the knife. But ds has some male friends who are just as skilled in that sense. They can get really nasty when they choose. I think the stereotype is just a stereotype, people comment on the stuff they choose to see as gender-related - if boys were so simple and the claim that they just fall out and then make up with no hidden agenda were true, politics would be dominated by women instead of men...
BrianCox - John Lewis do really nice boys' clothes in an assortment of non-blue colours, and they seem to have loads of boys' clothes in their sales. Mini Club (think that's what it's called now?) at Boots also has some nice bits. It's taken me years to work out where to buy nice clothes for my boys that do not have "I am a cheeky monkey/ scary dinosaur / pirate, please order me a pint" or similar printed across them.
BrianCox - next have a range they are calling bright and beautiful that is very bright - they do do a lot fo pastel blue too, but also have some lovely grey and red as well as brighter stuff.
All children are different! I have a DD who needs to exercised twice a day and a DS who will sit at his desk and do art/ lego etc for hours. Individuals. Like the rest us.
Thanks for the recommendations - I think sales shopping in the higher end shops is the way forward then. Love the Next range - it is so bright and just a bit different to the standard blue on blue with an extra bit of blue and a 'cheeky' motif.
I got a lot of DD's clothes in Boots (again, in the sales) as they seemed to have a better choice and were really good quality - this is 9 years ago though, so good to know they still have some good bits.
I've always found the next stuff good value and well made - 15 quid for 3 quality sleepsuits is pretty good going.
My friends families with two or more boys tend to be more livelier. It's all subject to parental influence though.
I must say, DD still always wants to bring home sticks too! They are usually swords to fight imaginary monsters on our walks, or lions. Or she pesters me to help make them into a bow and arrow in the woods. I don't know how to make sticks into a bloody bow and arrow! I thought this was something only she did!
I have 2 boys. They are not destructive crazed beasts but do seem to cope better if we get out of the house.
I'm sure I read somewhere that the brain is wired differently in boys than in girls, that messages don't travel to the other side of the brain in the same way as a female brain and that's one of the reasons boys are more likely to have conditions such as asd.
So it's a scientific thing. Boys and Girls are programmed differently and that's just how it is.
Am sure I read that in a number of places and am not making it up
ds does have a thing about sticks. I'd thought he might be growing out of it by now (he's 9) but no sign...
There's no doubt in my mind that boys & girls are hardwired differently, although personality sometimes trumps the hardwiring. And parents can influence how personality develops, although often not in ways they intended.
I have mature careful but emotional boy, emotional brutish immature unpopular boy and thoughtful very self-controlled careful boy. I didn't raise them all that different. Plus sporty confident clever girl right in the middle.
I reckon bigger difference is introvert vs. extrovert, but you can't tell that from baby physique.
I think parents' attitude subtly influence and mold children from a very early age.
And I think it's hard to say whether boys' brains develop differently or have been caused to develop differently...
Grumpy, how does your description of your different children with their different characters support your assertion that boys and girls are 'hardwired differently'? They sound like individuals to me.
Moon, indeed, but it's not just parents, it's everyone else as well. And books, films, TV, music, advertising...
Even the wheels on the sodding bus if you get to the verse that says 'the Mummies on the bus' - doesn't it go 'chatter chatter chatter'?
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