Raising Boys vs. Raising Girls
Is there a difference between raising boys and raising girls, or is it basically the way society expects them to behave? Do we put demands on boys to conceal their feelings and be “tough”? If left to their own diplomacy, would boys be equally prone to play with dolls as cars? Would girls be stronger and more assured if we expected them to be more “like boys”? We ask our readers – what must parents do to help raise boys to be psychologically healthy? And, how can parents assist girls reach their potential and not accept a passive role to males?
Becca Tran; 35, Mechanical Engineer, Tokyo – JAPAN
Nothing frustrates me more than the idea of stereotypes; like boys being better at mathematics and science, believing and having lower expectations of girls, and consequently carrying these ideas into society and education. Quite frankly, they need to be hosed out. Parents ought to want girls to do their best and succeed in every branch of learning, without encoded expectations that chip away at their efforts. In my opinion, girls are supposed to also have opportunities to shine in sports and physical activity…ch their potential and not accept a passive role to males?
Michelle Warner; 57, Literature Teacher, Perth – AUSTRALIA
As a teacher for more than 30 years at an ‘All boy’s Christian school’, I quickly discovered that boys respect action because mere words often “go in one ear and out the other.” It’s just a bunch of meaningless words to them and one is wasting one’s breath and energy if that is your only tool. We must think accomplishment. Regrettably, when parents think of action, too often our thoughts turn to spanking or hitting of some form. There are countless mediator steps between talking at one end and spanking at the other. In summary, boys respect action and not words. Maybe it’s because they’re not as good with the words as the girls are. Maybe it’s because actions purely speak louder and more clearly. For whatever reason, if we want to encompass their respect we have to do what they respect and act more clearly so they get the message.
Merihan El Mougy; 21, GUC Student, Cairo – EGYPT
Yes, there is a difference between raising boys and raising girls – not only because of the society but because there is a psychological and physical difference that we can’t fail to notice. Girls are more sweet and tender by nature, this is how god created them so when parents are raising their kids they always keep that in mind and deal accordingly in terms of being more tough on boys and taking more care, in relation to girls, not to allow them out late while boys can, and all the other “bla bla bla” we go through in our childhood and teenager stages. I think that we should allow boys and girls to equally express their feelings because this would make them stronger and more self confident.
Didi Ahmed; 30, Housewife,
We were three girls, so I never experienced any difference, but I know all about that from the world around me. Yes, there is a huge difference in our culture when it comes to raising boys and girls. I believe that we should leave boys and girls to express their feelings freely and not steer them with what they should play with and what they shouldn’t, as it comes by nature upon birth – boys love cars and balls and girls love dolls and makeup, it is in us. And as they grew up, what we should do is to teach them the right ethics and traditions and leave them to experience life matters in the same way. That will enhance their abilities and give them self-possession but without creating any differences between boys and girls.
I don’t think that parents should focus on gender when raising their kids. Instead, I think they should observe their individual traits and push them to fulfill their own potentials. For example, if a boy is interested in painting or if a girl is interested in science and math, then the parents should endorse their kids to excel in what they love and thus become healthy, productive individuals, irrespective of their gender.
Cheryl Churns; 40, Housewife, Florida – USA
The difference between boys and girls may seem obvious but with all-due respect to parenting, it is not always as clear as one might think. In today’s world we have a responsibility to help our child navigate both internally and externally. They may have technologies we couldn’t have imagined, freedoms and opinions that make the hairs on the back of my neck curl, and cynicism that leaves you stock-still.