Every once in a while I read an article from a parenting website that makes me say whaaaaaat? Lisa Fogarty, who writes for The Stir, penned her article I Just Found Out I’m Having A Boy And I’m Terrified and I keep fluctuating between wanting to make her a nice cup of tea and telling her to settle down, GladysÂ or saying:Â
I have two boys and a bonus boy. I love boys. I also love my daughter but my boys came first and being their mom has been awesome. I’ve raised two guys and helped raise one and I’m very proud of all of them, none of them are in prison yet, none of them call women sexist insults, and all of them have been trained to pick up their socks. Lisa has some concerns about being pregnant with a boy, and maybe it’s just me, but these worries all seem like not-worries to me. Amongst them are:
Every time I see little boys in the park they are usually trying to eat rocks, smear mud on one another, or kill each other with sticks.
Ummmmm… newsflash. All kids do this. The allure of mud and rocks is not limited to those who possesses a penis. When my daughter was at the rock eating stage the fact that she also on occasion wore pink did not make the allure of rock consumption nonexistent. And I have a middle son who loathed getting dirty and playing in mud, even digging in a sand box, so just because you are having a son doesn’t mean you will have a future rock eater of America.
I hate the fact that, from the moment they’re born, boys are expected to fit into certain gender stereotypes — some of which I just totally admitted to believing.
They may be expected to, but that doesn’t mean you have to play into them or believe in them. Boys aren’t automatically tough or better at sports or only allowed to wear blue or play with trucks. Their parents do that to them. Lisa says:
Â But I’m scared he will be judged by his little peers on the playground if he carries around a doll.
No, he will be judged for the color of his hair, or that he picks his nose, or that he has a funny name, or that he carries a doll. Kids can be pretty judgy about many things, and it’s not just if boys play with dolls or girls play with trucks. All you need to do if you witness this is step in and say “Hey, that’s not very nice, we don’t make fun of each other.”
At some point we’re going to have to have a talk with him about what he should do if another boy hits him.
Considering Lisa has a daughter, I assume she has had to have this same conversation with her girl. Just do what I do, tell your kid to punch them back, in the throat. Actually, don’t we tell our kids, regardless of their sex, the same thing? To tell a nearby adult right away? Or to say “Don’t hit me?” Or to punch them back? Lisa says:
And bullying is a bigger issue than it’s ever been, so clearly we haven’t found an answer yet to this problem — and I certainly don’t yet know what I’m going to tell him if (when) this happens.
It will happen to your daughter too, and once she hits middle school it will be even worse. These are conversations we have with all of our kids, regardless of their gender.
Maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t noticed a vast difference between raising sons and raising a daughter. I teach them all to treats others with respect, to help when they can, to live by the golden rule. The main difference I have found with raising boys is they are more apt to eat more than my daughter, but I’m sure that has something to do with the way male bodies metabolize food. We’ve had numerous discussions with them about how they shouldn’t objectify women in any way, but we’ve also talked to my daughter about how she needs to stick up for her friends if she witnesses male schoolmates being unkind to them based on their appearance and all of that. My daughter was just as fond of getting dirty as her brothers, but maybe that’s because we never discouraged her from doing so when it was appropriate.
When the hormones really start hitting and my daughter reaches puberty I’m sure more differences will prove evident, but until then, my daughter is more than happy to watch basketball on TV and my sons will always offer to help me bake cookies. I don’t have any super stereotypical sitcom-worthy gender differences in my kids, and at the end of the day, they all spend all of my money equally. I can’t be the only parent who is just sort of raising people.