Saturday, June 18, 2011

boys will be boys

my boys
There are a lot of gender stereotypes in our society and before I was a parent I never realized that the need to play with cars or dolls is as intrinsic to a child as their need to colour or play with bubbles.  I used to think it was all about exposure, the toys available to a child would be the ones they learned to enjoy.

The boy went 'vroom vroom' with a toy car before I ever showed him and every single time I have given him a stuffed animal, hes thrown it on the ground and stomped on it.  The boy has a defiant streak and as he gets older, I find myself saying more and more often, 'he's a boy' with a shrug of my shoulders; when he wants to throw every toy in the house, knock down toy towers rather than build his own or when he feels the need to touch every item he can reach in the grocery store.  Based entirely on my limited experience as a parent, I've come to believe that our children's behaviours are at least partially related to gender; that there is some truth to the age old saying, 'boys will be boys'.

Case and point, I ran into another mom at the grocery store and she had her daughter, who is approximately one month older than the boy, with her.  She patiently stood next to her mom, eyeballing all of the items on the shelves around us, but not once did she grab or throw something, nor did she bolt causing her mom to run off and catch her.  On top of all of this picture perfect behaviour, her mom mentioned that she was 'jacked up on sugar' from a birthday party.  Seriously?

My jaw must have hit the floor, I don't take the boy to the grocery store unless I strap him in the shopping cart and have enough snacks to occupy him for the duration, this also requires that I never stop the cart close enough to the shelves that he can reach the groceries when I'm not looking.  If the boy behaved like this little girl in the grocery store, I swear he'd have to be practically comatose.

I know that personality and environment all effect who our children become, but for some reason this particular grocery store encounter has really left me thinking about the differences between little boys and girls. I don't know much about little girls, but with a house full of boys I'm certainly going to get the chance to learn first-hand about male behaviour.

Do your children fit into gender stereotypes?  Do you believe that 'boys will be boys'?  I guess there's always the option of raising baby genderless, but personally, I just don't see it as a viable option.