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Raising Sons

(116 Posts)
BertieBotts Thu 29-Nov-12 18:05:41

I'm sure this has probably been done before, but I thought it might be nice to have a new thread on it to discuss opinions/experiences/ideas.

I'm finding my 4yo DS hard work at the moment (I put a thread over in Parenting if you want to know details, I won't replicate it here) and I've had a lot of reassuring replies about testosterone surges but also a lot of the standard "Boys need exercise" and suggestions to read Raising Boys. (And I think these are great helpful suggestions and am very grateful for the responses so please don't think I'm complaining about these blush) - it's just that responses of this type always make me come back to my feminist views and wonder if it's really a boy thing about needing "exercise" and whether you really need a specific book about raising boys, or not.

My gut feeling is that although I don't think girls and boys are fundamentally different, things like hormonal changes obviously will happen at different times and it's worth being aware of these, and also, because we live in a gendered society which has such different expectations for men and women there probably are some differences in approach needed. So I wondered if anyone knew of any books, articles, resources etc about raising boys to be aware of their privilege (without totally disillusioning their sense of self!) respect women/girls as equal, minimising the (societal) link between masculinity and aggression, etc.

The only thing I can offer is the film "Tough Guise" which is very good about society's link between masculinity and aggression. It used to be on youtube but the full thing isn't there any more - it's around 10 years old and American but very relevant here I think too. If you can get hold of it without too much trouble it's really interesting to watch, if not there are various articles, blogs etc about it online.

5madthings Thu 29-Nov-12 18:08:07

Marking place to come back later...four boys here age 13, 10, 7 and 4.

TreadOnTheCracks Thu 29-Nov-12 18:25:05

I am interested in this too. I have DS almost 6, and work as a TA in a primary school.

I purchased the book Pink brain blue brain, but haven't managed to read it yet.

Svrider Thu 29-Nov-12 18:28:10

My ds is very different to his two sisters
Tho they are also different to each other
Can you just treat him as an individual with his own ideas etc, rather than pigeon holing him as interested in "boy" things

scottishmummy Thu 29-Nov-12 18:32:14

dont read biddulph raising boys,imo its deeply anti-working mums,badly written
im not sure wee boys need more exercise than wee girls.dont like gender clichés
i dont like idea of raising boys,dont like idea of raising girls-prefer to think of raising well rounded wee folk

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 29-Nov-12 18:48:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AbigailAdams Thu 29-Nov-12 19:00:43

Marking my place. I have 2 boys and at the moment they are as different as can be. I have been stunned in fact that the same two people can produce such differing people. So I am even less convinced that girls need one thing and boys need another. As someone famous send there is more differences within a sex than between the sexes. <to paraphrase> That is so true.

I know what you mean about society and your sub concious having an influence though and do you need to think differently about bringing them up. For example we talk to girls more than boys so I make a point of talking a lot with mine (the eldest doesn't need much encouragement!)

Cordelia Fine might be good on this.

webwiz Thu 29-Nov-12 19:01:50

I've just been to read your thread in parenting and your DS's behaviour is very similar to the way DD1 was at 4 (without the willy guitar of course smile) and nothing like the way DS was. I agree with taking the gender issue out of it -you aren't happy with his behaviour so I'd work on that rather than worrying about whether its a testosterone surge or something to do with the fact that he's a boy.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 19:09:24

I would treat him as an individual and not worry about gender. Any child who is hard work needs to be worn out! Lots of mud, walking, running, riding bikes, fresh air, climbing etc.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 19:10:01

You have to deal with the DC you have and not the one you might want!

BertieBotts Thu 29-Nov-12 19:10:30

YY this is what I mean though - I don't want to focus on anything like "Boys need to do a sport" or anything like that because I think that's ridiculous, a person is a person with their own needs, wants and desires, but society places different expectations on (and gives different messages to) boys and girls especially into teenage/adulthood and thought it might be useful to think about ways of countering this perhaps?

DP is very equal/feminist-savvy (although he's a bit bemused by feminism in general, because he would never dream of treating a woman in any sexist way and it baffles him that men still do) but he was raised in a very strongly female household with three older sisters, and DS doesn't have that.

BeerTricksPott3r Thu 29-Nov-12 19:18:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 19:19:54

I wouldn't over think it. Just enjoy your DC and take your lead from them. DCs actually do as you do- they take it in without noticing. You do not need to make a big thing of it, it is likely to be counter productive.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 19:21:08

I have 3DSs- they are as different as chalk from cheese- they need different things.

scottishmummy Thu 29-Nov-12 19:25:25

your ds isn't disadvantaged not having 3 bid sisters.he cant replicate his dad life
raise him with love and laughter and he will be a fine wee boy and fine man
i dont agree children need gender strategies or books to be raised by.just love

MavisG Thu 29-Nov-12 20:12:40

Biddulph's statements about testosterone surges at around 4 weren't scientific/proven, I think he reworded or redacted in later versions.

Totally agree re individuals. And he's very young to be told he's growing up to be a member of the ruling/most privileged class - children aren't privileged & teenaged boys are often quite horribly reacted to/treated, so maybe that stuff is better left (at least explicitly) until adulthood? If you bring him up respectfully and gently (I'm sure I've seen UP posts from you?) you'll have his ear when he's a young man.

MavisG Thu 29-Nov-12 20:15:04

Most privileged/ruling class is a projection, sorry - am raising a white nt, physically able boy & these are the labels/thoughts I have sometimes.

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 20:44:27

I agree with Scottishmummy and throw away the books! It is such a shame to have a baby and immediately label them as a member of the patriarchy!
The last thing a DC wants is a parent prosing on in a worthy way- it makes you rebellious! Just set by example and treat them as an individual.

scottishmummy Thu 29-Nov-12 20:58:04

its a shame youre so entrenched about male privilege,and forsee it for your son
dont raise a boy with you ideologically believing him to be potential oppressor or privileged
the counter inference that if you have girl she will have under privileged is fatalisitc

exoticfruits Thu 29-Nov-12 21:55:44

A boy has no chance! It doesn't matter what he is like- to some he is the enemy! A girl can have all sorts of 'traditional male attributes' and she is applauded, yet a boy has them and they are not seen in a positive light.

BertieBotts Thu 29-Nov-12 22:58:17

grin Okay okay I'm convinced!

I don't see boys as the enemy though confused I just see a lot of my male peers going around totally unaware of their privilege. You're probably right though that it shouldn't/doesn't need to come from me.

Mavis I have posted about UP before. It's not working very well for us at the moment - more structure needed I think, although after a conversation yesterday he's suddenly decided of his own free will that he wants to go to sleep by himself now, and all I have to do is go and pretend to sleep in my own bed grin Which is nice.

I guess I'm worried about the stuff that's out there now, all the porn, and violent/aggressive video games etc. I know that isn't just a "boy thing". But I work with a bunch of 16-21 year olds and see them totally normalising this stuff when it's attached to males and not so when it comes to women. I'm probably worrying about nothing blush

MMMarmite Thu 29-Nov-12 23:11:51

Being aware someone is privileged doesn't mean labelling them the enemy! (Though I realise that in practice the two sometimes coincide.) All men are given male privilege by society, but many men are great people and allies to feminism. Understanding privilege is about making sure white people don't remain oblivious to the challenges that ethnic minorities face, about making sure young men can see things from a woman's point of view too, rather than never noticing sexism because it doesn't affect them.

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 08:00:20

And you do that by living it so that they take it in naturally- you never get it by preaching and manipulating.

BertieBotts Fri 30-Nov-12 08:13:54

Where did I say I wanted to preach or manipulate?

exoticfruits Fri 30-Nov-12 08:15:18

You didn't - but you are over thinking. Respond to the DC you have- don't worry about the gender.

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