Boys and girls – should we parent them differently?

I’ve often thought about this, and have made the decision to try to raise an emotionally connected boy who isn’t afraid of colour, who doesn’t use violence to solve his problems, and who doesn’t pee on the toilet seat. I’ve wondered if the boy/girl divide is more nature or nurture, so I was happy to find this post.

Especially since (no matter how he dresses), heaps of people seem to think he is a girl anyway.

6 thoughts on “Boys and girls – should we parent them differently?”

  1. Up until REALLY recently people persisted in calling Pudding a girl. We have been told he has a “pretty” face and we tend to keep his hair longish so I guess that’s where it comes from. Had the same problem with Rhubarb when he was little. I have found it so annoying at various times that I have even resorted to dressing them really “boyishly” to see if that made a difference. Perhaps my version of boyish isn’t boyish enough. Pudding’s favourite colour is pink at the moment and he usually has his fingernails with polish on because if I do mine, he wants his done too. Beefcake jokes that the kindy will think we’re a bit odd allowing him to be this way but I think, although there will always be subconscious differences in the way I parent my boys and my girls it is important to try and break those gender sterotypes.


  2. This morning, 5yo Dude, came crying to me as the dog had chewed off the ribbon on his new plastic high heels. He likes to join his baby sister for dress ups.

    The Dude recalled that he was getting teased at school about doing ballet. When asked how he felt about this he replied “I don’t care what anyone thinks. I want to be a fit and muscly man.”

    When a young boy pushed over his baby sister at the park, The Dude comforted his sister first and then held the bully against a fence and pointed his finger at the kid’s face while giving him a mouth full.

    My son is obsessed with vehicles, dragons, boyish movies, bike riding etc. He is also pretty good at kicking a soccer ball in the hallway while wearing his heels.


  3. I’m not a parent, so I hope that gives me a disinterested opinion.

    Should we parent boys and girls differently? I think not. Should we expect them to turn out the same if we parent them the same? Definitely not. There’s nature at work as well as nurture.

    My 12 yr old nephew loves to help his dad build their deck, help his mum dig her vegie beds, then help mum cook the produce. He plays rugby, guitar and flute, and gave up ballet aged ?7 when he was annoyed by 6 yr old girls being diets. He has excellent taste in clothes, in fact I prefer the necklace he bought me for Xmas to that bought by his mum & nanna.


  4. I raised a girl. I didn’t mean to – it just happened that way. We provided her with cars and trains and a mower as well as dolls and dressing up clothes. She grew from pink and twirly whirly skirts to tomboy oversized clothes. For her wedding, she wanted to look like a princess yet she danced like there was no tomorrow. This week she became a mother and now I want to know – how do I grandmother a boy? Will he listen when I try to teach him to knit?


  5. Awesome article. I parented my girl with the idea that she can do whatever she wants, and that “boy” colors are not offlimits, and bought her all the matchbox cars she wanted, and I parented my boy with dolls, and free access to pink and purple, and let him feel as emotional as he wanted (within reason…whiny people annoy me just as much whether they are a girl OR boy)…and after all that, I have a 15yo girl who adores dolls but has no probs kicking butt, and a 13 boy who loves guns and violent video games, but is perfectly comfortable showing his worry and fear if need be. I feel like I done good. :p


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