I have always hated the phrase "boys will be boys." It's used as an excuse to justify bad behavior and/or being a jerk-face dick. I'm sorry, but since when does a penis give you a blank check to be aggressive, messy, mean or misbehave? I don't accept that.
I'm raising boys. That means their behavior and what they deem as "acceptable" is on my head. If I excuse their actions as simply "boys being boys" then they will think that they can get away with being a dick just because they have one. I will not do that to future generations. I am raising my boys to be respectful, polite, and considerate.
"Girls are emotional". Another bullshit statement uttered far too often. Yes, girls have emotions and they tend to be more upfront about it, but that's because we've always been told we're emotional so we see it as acceptable. Boys get told to "man up", "stop being such a girl," "boys don't cry," etc and that's ridiculous. Boys cry. They have tear ducts, yes? They have sad feelings, yes? Sometimes tears happen! That's ok. It's normal. Stop telling boys they can't express their feelings and I bet you anything, we'll have less aggressive men because they are able to tell people how they feel rather than thinking that they have to stifle their emotions. Hell, grown men cry. It's completely normal, people. Back off.
You can't be passive parents, who sit back and expect your kids to grown into smart, capable, respectful people by magic. And you can't expect them to break down stupid gender barriers just because you want it to happen. Parenting is hard work. You are responsible for who your children grow up to be. (To an extent, I know there are psychological issues that can be a factor).
If your toddler walks up to another toddler, pushes him until he falls down, then proceeds to attempt to kick the fallen child, that's on you. You clearly never told your kid that that isn't ok, that he can't just push other kids because he wants to, and he should never kick someone when they're down. "I don't know where he gets it. He never watches anything violent on tv." Seriously, folks, take responsibility for your children. You can't blame tv if you aren't bothering to correct the behavior when you see it. Your children are a product of your parenting.
Now, I know that I don't know everything and I have never (and will never) claim to be an expert of children, or development. I can tell you that you have to work with your kids on a daily basis if you want them to be decent people. It's not inherent.
Don't let gender justify bad behavior. Don't permit your boys to be overly aggressive bullies. Don't permit your girls to be excessively emotional and completely irrational. Teach them to be people. Polite, honest, considerate, helpful, respectful people. Stop perpetuating an idiotic cycle of gender based excuses.
Teach them both to have emotions, and to think rationally. Teach them both to be aggressive when they want something, but respectful in their methods of achieving/receiving what they want. Teach them both to defend the weak and stand up for what is right. The world will be so much better off.
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community