Different treatment for boys and girls...

Brandy - posted on 09/08/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My fiance seems to think that my son (8 mths) needs to be treated differently from how we treated our daughter when she was younger. He thinks it is fine that as a baby, we responded to her every cry and didn't use CIO but he thinks that with our son, we shouldn't go to him right away because he's a boy and needs to "toughen up". Of course, I don't listen to that nonsense. Babies cry because they have needs and that is the only way to communicate them to us at that age and by meeting their needs, we are teaching them how to effectively communicate their problems and emotions with us. That is what I believe but no matter how I try to say this to him, he still leans towards being a little harsher with our little boy. I don't think he understands the impact that this unequal treatment will have on our son later in life if it continues. The other day, we were watching a show where people were dancing and we do plan on putting our daughter into dance because she loves it and when our son started getting excited about the dancing, he said "don't you even think about that, YOU can play hockey or football or do martial arts" which I thought was funny because he didn't even play sports in high school. I think it may have something to do with his fears about the way the world is and all the bullying in schools these days but he needs to lighten up.

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JuLeah - posted on 09/08/2010

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There has been much research done on this matter, Baby boys have greater emotional need. They need their Mamas' more. Girls overall are better able to comfort themselves.



When we ask these little emotional people to 'toughen up' we are asking them to shut down, cut off the best part of themselves (their feelings) and they grow to be the men we all bitch about



Men feel the whole range of human emotions, unless they have been slapped down for the effort. Boys cry. Boys feel deeply.



We see emotion as a 'female' thing. We don't want our boys to do anything female. In fact, the greatest insult one man can give another is to call him a woman, a ladie, a girl.



Strength, real strength, is in feelings, is in love. Strength is not found at the end of a fists, or with a gun.



Many father try to toughen up their sons. I have taught parenting classes. I speak with men about this, ask them to remember their father's toughening them up. I usually get tears, sometimes the poor dad just sobs as he remembers the pain of trying to be as tough as his father wanted him to be



Boys dance. There are men out there that take my breath away with the power of their dance - look at the muscles on those guys! They could take on two football players without missing the beat :)



I am thinking your partner needs to do some soul searching. Does he want his son to fit the mold, or break it?

Riana - posted on 09/10/2010

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I agree with EVERYTHING that ALL of you are saying about boys and girls.

I am just arguing my own different argument about dads. One of our number one complaints (and I include myself in this) is that the dads do not show enough interest, but then when they do have any opinion we tell then they are wrong. We do this because we have spend a lot of time and effort on deciding on and re-evaluating our parenting methods, and we feel this give us the right to tell the men what type of dad they should be BUT we are wrong.

Any interest they show is good interest and there is a delicate balance between discussing positive parenting methods and putting them off so much that they loose interest completely. Dads should be dads and moms should be moms we can not (and should not) change the dads into moms.

I think ALL dads will baby their girls and thoughen up their sons in just the same way that ALL moms baby our boys and thoughen up our girls (and I am as guilty here as any! I do my best to raise a strong daughter and a gentle boy and my husband puts as much effort into raising a princess and a cowboy LOL) and I think this is fine, as long as we do it in a positive way and respect their individual characters then there is still balance?

Meghan - posted on 09/09/2010

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My ex used to tell me I babied J waaay too much. But then when it came to things like putting him on the ground to crawl around or him crying while I was in the shower, I wasn't babying him enough. My ex does give lots of hugs and kisses and I know expects him to play all the sports and be a tough guy.
Personally I don't see anything wrong with a happy medium. A guy can play football AND be the lead in a musical. They can be aggressive but know that they are wrong and give you a hug and *GOD FORBID* say they where wrong.
But at 8 months old...he is 8 months old. He is a baby. He doesn't know he is a boy. He doesn't know that there are stupid societal standards. Right now he DOES need mommy for everything.

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Riana - posted on 09/10/2010

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Good to hear and sure he will! In the end they all end up making their own choices and being a person in their own right.

Brandy - posted on 09/10/2010

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That makes total sense Riana. My fiance and I had a discussion about the exact things you are talking about last night. I agreed to hear him out a little more often and he a agreed to be a little more trusting in the fact that I do know what I'm doing and let me parent in my way.I just hope in the future he can put his irrational fears aside and let our son be who he wants to be.

JuLeah - posted on 09/09/2010

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Riana, I agree with much of what you said. I think between parents there is always room for conversation. We can't really understand why we believe as we do unless called upon to explain it to another.



And, the baby is 8 months. A lot can change. This world can be a hard place. When my daughter was born, I wanted very much for her to be tough, strong. I know the stats for rape, for domestic violence, for date rape ..... I wanted her to be able to fight her way out of any situation. In my mind back then, that meant, actually fight. So, there was no girly stuff for her. She wore overalls, she played with balls and trucks as much as dolls. She played in the mud, she was a daredevil and I loved it.

Then she started pre-school. She came home one day, I think it was her second week, talking about Cinderella and all the rest.

As the days went on, it got worse.

She said pink was the color she liked best. She wanted high heals and someday, wanted to be a cheerleader. She wanted dresses.

I though, AGHAGAHGAHAGHAGH

My view then was that these things made a person look weak. If you look weak, you are a target.

But how do you tell a person she can't be who she wants to be?

I supported her new found love, but hoped within myself, that it was a phase

It turned out to be a phase, one of many. She pays no attention at all to Cinder now, but never while she did was she weak.

She was exploring the person she is meant to be. We try on many hats before we find the one that fits us best

I have opened my mind a bit and come to understand a woman can wear dangly ear rings and still take care of herself and a woman in 5 inch heals is not one to be messed with at all

I think, if I had told her she could not like Cinder and the gang, she might still be waiting for a time to explore that part of herself; I might have increased her interest

One day she wants to save rain forest ainmals and the next fly planes. She has wanted to be a teacher, a cowboy, and a dolphine.

I now say, 'Go for it'

I know, who ever she is, what ever she does, it is her life, her path. My wish, hope, and dream, is that she is well rounded, happy, and lives the life she is meant to live.

Meghan - posted on 09/09/2010

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I completely agree with you Brandy! And I am totally going to have this battle with my ex. Society needs to stop looking at "boys" and "girls" and base behavior on an individual term!

Brandy - posted on 09/09/2010

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It's not that I don't think they should be able to play and rough house a bit and fish. It's the fact that at under a year and even a little bit after, my fiance would be upset if I didn't comfort our daughter the second there was a problem but with our son, when I come running, I hear "oh, he'll be fine for a few more minutes". That seems unfair. And it wouldn't bother me if he did play football or some other aggressive sport but if he chose something that typically more girls are interested in, I don't want him to be denied of persuing his passions because his dad told him that it's only for girls and he needs to be a jock or some other form of "tough guy" stereotype.

Riana - posted on 09/09/2010

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JuLeah although I love the way you have worded this and agree with the things you have said I do also on the other side very much respect a healthy father/son relationship.

My husband and I disagree on things sooo often but I watch him with fondness and admiration when he plays with my son. There is no hugs and kisses and emotional girlie things. They do boy things - they run wresstle climb race laught and tease. My son admires his dad as this big strong amazing person that he idealises and wants to be like in every way. And I think it is every fathers right to be idealised like that.

Its a different relationship that we do not always understand and neither do we need to. We can simply sit back and watch and admire.

I shower my son with love, hugs, kisses cuddles and emotion and caters to his every need while daddy teaches him to fish. Thats just the way it is, it doesn't mean that his dad doesn't love him he just loves him in a different way! I believe the two extremes provide balance in his life.

I also think we should respect that boys learn from thier fathers how to love more through example than by building a one on one emotional relationship. For instance my husband will never kiss or cuddle my son but my son will watch with hawk eyes the way his daddy loves and respects me and YES dances with me.

I just think that there is always a way to find balance so give your husband the benefit of the doubt and let him raise his strong little boy.

JuLeah - posted on 09/08/2010

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Well, they are from Mars and that is how things are done there.



So, tell him he is right. Your sons needs to be strong. And, he is right.

But, what does strong mean?



Which is stronger, physical strength or emotional?



The guy who can fight his way out of any situation, or the guy who never gives up, even when it looks as if he is beaten?



Who is stronger, the bully who punches the smaller kid to the ground, or the smaller kid who keeps getting back up?



Does he want him to be strong for the world he fears he will face, or for the world he hopes his son takes part in creating?



This is not a 'right wrong' conversation. Your partner is not wrong. He is looking at it from just one way. There are other ways to look at it.



Does he want the boy to be happy? Well rounded? Confident? kind to others? (empathy, remember has to be taught)



Does he want his son to be a good husband someday? A good father? An honest and respected neighbor?



How do you raise such a child?



There are many ways to be strong.



Education makes us strong.



Wisdom makes us strong.

Brandy - posted on 09/08/2010

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Very well worded JuLeah! I agree with you 100%!! Now I just need to know how to get him to listen to me. He feels strongly about it but he can't explain why when I ask him about it and as a man, his first response is to argue with whatever information or delivery I have because he knows we disagree.

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