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To not understand why some parents get so scared

216 replies

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 12:03

Why do parents of boys get so scared of giving them something they perceive may be 'girly'? What are they scared might happen?

Yesterday passed on a toy to a friend's DS, age 3 ish, that was branded with what I think is a character. Parent sees it as a girls character and was worried about DS's reaction!!!! DS loved it.

See this sort of thing happen all the time. School friends come to play and I can lay money on fact boys will say either 'Oh DD doesn't have girls toys' or (standing in front of science equipment) 'I don't play with girl's toys'. Once saw another 3yr old try to dress up in his sister's pink skirt and DF went crazy at him.

Feeling really sorry for boys at the mo. Why do parents think boys are in danger from 'girls stuff'? And what do they think would happen if they played with it?

(Name changed to post as have tried to ask this in RL but it seems to cause offence)

OP posts:
WorraLiberty · 18/07/2017 12:32

Actually now I come to think of it, whether people have/haven't experienced this, could depend on where they live and how ethnically diverse the area is.

Some cultures are massively insecure about boys doing what they perceive to be 'girly things' and vice versa.

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 12:32

Maddening if I ever have a DS I hope I can respond as brilliantly as you [big grin]

Foniks sounds like we should swap shopping tips, have got lovely bright red and green 'boys' from Sains. And have you tried the girls section, maybe different colours there Wink

OP posts:
BogQueens · 18/07/2017 12:34

Some parents are not very bright, and have deeply conservative ideas about gender, which they pass off as acceptable because of the Fear of Bullying, which in practice means policing gender norms in their toddlers for the sake of what largely imaginary other people might have to say about it.

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 12:36

Worral we live in an area where the most diversity is from being born 'cross t'river', very little England Hmm

OP posts:
Girty999 · 18/07/2017 12:37

My boys play with anything, my youngest loves shopkins and this has never been an issue until they came back from their dads saying his new wife's son says that's girly and you can't like pink and listed games and toys boys couldn't have. My partner and I went bat shit crazy at the stupid fools pushing their twatty beliefs on my boys. Children should play with what interests them, if either of my sons wants to dress up in a princess outfit then so be it, happy children that's all I want x

demirose87 · 18/07/2017 12:37

I can see your point. My DS is 8 and when he was 3 he attended the nursery I worked in. He went through a phase of wanting to wear a cinderella costume and nail varnish and also played with the cinderella doll. All my colleagues made a huge deal about it saying things like " this is great, if ofsted come in it will make us look like we're diverse, accepting of children embracing who they are, what are you going to be like when he "comes out" when he's older?" They put up photos of him in the costume on the walls, which I didn't mind but I felt it was making a mountain out of a molehill. The phase lasted about a month, he's into football and online gaming now with no mention of cindarella, no nail varnishes, dolls or dresses. I wish they would have just left him alone and see him simply as a child exploring amd experimenting rather than genderising everything.

CaoNiMartacus · 18/07/2017 12:38

I think this sort of attitude is at the root of the increase in transgenderism.

A boy wants to wear glittery but can't because it's "for girls", so he thinks he must be a girl.

A girl wants to play with cars but can't because they're "for boys", so she thinks she must be a boy.

Cue hotline to the Tavistock gender clinic.

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 12:39

So (jumping into both frying pan and fire) do you think
... for fear of bullying some parents are indoctrinating their kids with really strict beliefs about gender, and creating (keeping going) a culture of bullying?

OP posts:
WorraLiberty · 18/07/2017 12:39

Worral we live in an area where the most diversity is from being born 'cross t'river', very little England Hmm

Then believe me, you'd experience it much more if you lived in a more diverse area.

RiverTam · 18/07/2017 12:40

I've seen it in RL, mum wanted to buy toddler son a toy pushchair, dad not sure. The toy pram did get bought in the end, no idea why dad didn't like the idea, he pushes the pram!

Fear of catching gay?
Fear of being a sissy?
Fear of child being bullied?

Who knows. It's absolute nonsense.

PandasRock · 18/07/2017 12:42

It's not just toys/clothes, its attitudes as well.

I have 3 dc - girl, girl, boy.

When I had ds (with a largish gap between dd2 and him) I lost count of how many times I was told that I would now:

Know what it is to have a loud child (because he is a boy)
have to secure everything (because boys are 'into everything')
have to get 'into' sports, because now I had a boy
buy cars/balls/trains etc because now I had a boy

all from people who actually knew my dds (then 8 and 6, so they had developed interests and personalities!) and so knew:

that dd2 was the loudest child known to mankind - petite and China-doll like, but LOUD
that dd1 had an obsession with cars and balls, and our house was overrun with both
that both girls needed regular, lengthy excerise, and loved outdoors/sport
and so on.

I have also lost count of the number of times I've said to teachers (ds seems to be having the same members of staff as dd2 had in respective years) 'oh, have you got ds next year? Well, he's just like dd2, so at least you have a head start in 'knowing' him' (seriously, they are so alike that it's eerie) only to get 'yes, I'm sure there are similarities, but he's a boy, so I'm expecting even more volume/interest in maths/whatever'

And don't get me started on 'boys will be boys' - generally used to cover up for over-exhuberant, bordering on violent, behaviour Angry

Starlight2345 · 18/07/2017 12:43

My DS is 10.. At 3 not worried at all ...However last world book day he wanted to go as the boy in the dress...He would of had a good laugh with his mates on the playground in the morning as the day progressed and he got fed up of the joke would end up in tears..I only have one child..If I thought my child would not be upset it wouldn't of been an issue.. So it isn't about necessarily the item how others respond...

One thing I do see on MN at times is yes toys should be toys , clothes will be clothes, however bullying goes on in every school so you have to have a child who won't care what others think that make that change ( if thats what they want) ..We can crusade for our own causes and beliefs but I do not believe we should use our children for our crusade.

cjt110 · 18/07/2017 12:44

I think it seems to be "OK" for girls to play with boys stuff but perhaps not so the other way around.

My son is 3 and tells me his favorite colours are pink and purple.

BarbarianMum · 18/07/2017 12:46
MiddleEnglandLives · 18/07/2017 12:47

I get it all the time: I see it in adults talking about their babies - fgs when my dd was in nursery she was the only girl not dressed in pink all day every day - and then, surprise surprise, the boys of school age cotton on to it and start picking it up. I got all manner of comments when my boy's hair was long, which was perfectly acceptable 20 years ago, and had to explain to another boy just this morning that boys can wear purple if they want. Britain is really really bad for sex stereotyping at the moment. And then we wonder where adult sexism comes from.

mirime · 18/07/2017 12:47

My 4 year old ds was looking at the Lego comics a few weeks ago, pointed at the Lego Friends and asked if it was for girls. I said no, it's for anyone who likes it. He persisted in asking, I kept saying the same thing. Two days later he had the Lego Friends and the Lego Elves comics.

I know it probably won't last, but he's certainly not going to be getting the pink is for girls message from me or DH.

swingofthings · 18/07/2017 12:48

My kids are now teenagers, but this wasn't my experience at all when they were little, more the opposite, it seemed almost the right thing to be seen to do to encourage them to play with every sort of toys. My boy played with his sister's girly toys more than she did. Even later in age, he had no issue to be seen doing girly things. I remember when DD got her first bras, so around 10, when DS would have been 7 and as we were discussing various bras with DS sitting next to us, he got into the conversation and totally naturally asked her if she preferred a 'normal' or sport bra. It did make us laugh!

He is now almost 15, has a girlfriend as I far I can tell, heterosexual. Not that I would care one bit if he wasn't.

Oliversmumsarmy · 18/07/2017 12:51

Some cultures are massively insecure about boys doing what they perceive to be 'girly things' and vice versa

I presume you are including Christianity in this.

Ds has always taken dance lessons. Never was a problem, fellow class mates did dance too. We had to move school in year 3. Ds went to the local primary, a church school, where everyone went to the local church every Sunday.
Ds was invited round to tea to various boys houses. They would never come to ours. All the mums on finding out he did dance asked him if he was gay, another told him he was a bastard. myself and my partner aren't married,

We pulled him out of the school after a year because of various reasons, mainly the teaching was awful, despite being an OFSTED outstanding school and ds was going backwards not forwards.

MiddleEnglandLives · 18/07/2017 12:53

It might be Britain's class distinctions/ subcultures at work. Among certain well-off, liberal, tolerant types or hippy types, it's good to actively challenge stereotypes. Among the lower groups stereotypes are most definitely something being pushed. Darling princess girls and aggressive boys, with no thought for what that will do at teenage + years. Teenage boys seem to be getting very aggressive against girls at the moment.

SleightOfMind · 18/07/2017 12:54

I remember buying DS1 a toy kitchen and DM saying it was a strange thing for a boy to want to do.
I told her Gordon Ramsay might disagree with her.
DS is now a strapping 16yr old - who's a dab hand in the kitchen Wink

DM is very old fashioned a loon though.
Not really seen much evidence of this apart from her.
I live in London so very diverse.

quizqueen · 18/07/2017 12:57

For my granddaughter's second birthday party, she chose a spiderman theme. She's 6 now and still prefers traditional 'boys'' stuff. She not really interested in pretty dresses or Barbies. Who cares! I remember when I was little I used to dress up in a cowgirl's outfit with a gun in a holster because my dad loves Westerns. I would consider myself pretty level headed now with no ill effects!!!!

Yokohamajojo · 18/07/2017 12:58

The fact is that most children go through a face where sparkly things, bright colours etc seems so brilliant and they are attracted to it. Unfortunately a lot of boys are denied the experience of exploring bright sparkly things as they are deemed 'girly' very sad really


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SleightOfMind · 18/07/2017 12:58

Oliversmum we had a spookily similar with an outstanding Christian primary.
Some truly horrible behaviour, all brushed under the carpet by a very aggressive headteacher.
Luckily only there for a year but it set DS right back academically and behaviourally.

TwentyYears · 18/07/2017 12:59

Oliversmumsarmy that's awful! I'm so sorry for your son and you!

Agree about all cultures having issues. I grew up in an very diverse area but went to a great Girls school, no gender issues and I (most non-girly in the year) gave ended up in the most stereotypical profession of us all [big grin]

It's a relief to hear others' views here. In RL have had combative replies like 'well my grown up boys have never experienced that so you're wrong'. One Dad's attitude to his young DS was what I would call aggressive so I'd be too afraid to ask him why.

OP posts:
gluteustothemaximus · 18/07/2017 12:59

When I have the choice, I will choose blue for boys and pink for girls. So I bought a blue moses basket not they they slept in them for the DS's, and a lovely pink frilly one for DD. That was my choice.

When it comes to children making decisions, then that is their choices. DD will often pick out beautiful blue and green colours for her clothes, but loves pink too. She is free to choose.

DS is currently playing with a lot of DD's old toys, and many of them are 'girly'.

I think the problem comes when we specifically take a toy away or say 'that's a boy's toy, or girl's toy' to them. Making it a problem.

Or indeed the opposite. I have known some parents so fierce in their desire not to conform to gender stereotypes, they make their girl wear boy clothes, and play with boys toys. One lady I knew, her daughter used to look at DD's dresses and ask if she could get a dress like that. Mum said no way, she's conforming to what society wants (Confused). So the poor thing was dressed only in very 'boy' clothes. If only she could see the irony.

Her DD got called a boy all the time (she had short hair too) and it used to rile the mother up no end, that she had to keep correcting everyone.

Or my SIL, who really wanted a girl, and dressed her son up in pink, tutus and painted his nails (when he didn't want them done!).

So, I guess I'm saying, let your kids grow and make decisions. Don't force one way, or indeed, the other.

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