Slice of Life: “Boys will be boys”

The countdown continues – thirteen days until my second baby boy is set to grace us with his presence. As people seek to share in our joy, I’ve been noticing and thinking about the flippant comments made about raising boys vs. raising girls. Here are some of the most common along with what I hope instead…

“You don’t have to deal with the sass and allll the attitude.”
I hope my son can come alongside her to encourage said ‘attitude’ in positively life-changing, society-altering ways.

“Boys prefer their mom.”
I hope my son treats her like an independent queen from watching his father treat his mother in that way.

“Girls are expensive.”
I hope my son encourages financial freedom and financial independence and financial partnership.

“Girls are SO emotional.”
I hope my son has enough healthy emotional capacity that allows him to maturely communicate in effective ways, freely explore conflict through conversation, and humbly engage with others.

“You constantly have to worry about boys.”
I pray to God my son is not a jerk who intimidates, manipulates, or scares a woman.

“Boys will be boys.”
This is my most hated phrase regarding the upbringing of males. It is incredibly loaded and full of stereotypes. Most often when I hear others repeat this phrase, it’s to justify poor, incompetent, erratic behavior or malicious, violent, immature actions.

Is it dramatic to say that it’s kinda sickening that most of these comments are made by women? Most of these comments are made by women who consider themselves trailblazers. Women who consider themselves progressive. Women who consider themselves empowering future females.

If I sit back and hope for the best because “boys are easy,” what will I have contributed? I do not want to dismiss the burden of raising empowered females. However, do not dismiss nor discourage my burden of raising competent males who relentlessly and confidently and boldly empower other males, as well as females.

Of course, I can make no promises. In fact, I have an incredible fear of clicking ‘publish’ for this post to be out in the world and then do a terrible job of raising boys. But here I am with an impassioned commitment to try my damnedest.

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I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life weekly challenge.

8 thoughts on “Slice of Life: “Boys will be boys”

  1. Britt, as always, thank you for an insightful and wonderful post. Your title grabbed me right off the bat, because — as a former boy — the phrase “boys will be boys” drives me absolutely crazy, for all of the same reasons you listed! As a father of daughters, I look at those moms (I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a man utter those words) and hope their sons don’t come near my daughters or granddaughters. Your son will make a gazillion choices in his life, and many of them will be out of your sphere of influence. I don’t doubt, though, that your influence (and your husband’s) will have a mighty effect on him when it comes to the big ones!

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  2. I don’t feel like it’s my place to comment since I don’t have children nor do I plan on having children — but I think it says a lot about your parenting already that you are so conscious of these things and want to do right by your boys. I think that’s a step in the right direction if nothing else. ❤ Good luck and can't wait to see who they grow up to be with a mom like you!

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  3. It’s so interesting how these gender-based character judgements persist. Girls are this way…boys are that way…It’s maddening!

    When my children were small people were always insisting that I’d be glad when that phase of life was behind us, but I enjoyed them as little people (I’ve enjoyed them at every phase to be honest!)

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  4. I think many times people who make these kinds of statements are people with their own parenting issues. Children learn by what they see and hear at home. Your boys have great examples to follow.

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  5. As a boy mama, I also ruffle at a lot of these statements. There are the well-meaning folx who insist that I have it “so much easier” because I have boys – whatever that means. And the whole “boys will be boys” thing. Sigh. I just…want to have raised boys who don’t buy into all of that junk. Granted, there are times I sit at my dinner table with my husband, 20 YO and almost-18 YO and give in to all of the male energy (fart jokes and other inappropriateness) around me. And if you love those boys. If you give them the tools to be complete humans. If you allow them to see YOU as a complete human. If the reasons they go to therapy are different from the reasons you go. Then you, mama, are doing a GREAT job.

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  6. As the mother of two boys, I am here to say “hell, yes!” to what you wrote. I know that my guys are influenced by societal expectations (Lainie nails it with the fart jokes), but we are raising them to show their emotions, respect people as people, acknowledge their privilege & use it to help others. Boys will be boys – pfft. Listen, we all mess up, but you hit publish on this post & you can come back to it over & over as you raise these people & remind yourself that your goals are worthy & there’s a community that supports you. Also: 13 days! Eek!

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  7. As the father to two daughters and the teacher of boys, I scoff at those people who say “girls are so emotional” and “girls are so expensive”. Please. KIDS are emotional AND expensive, period.

    I just can’t with the people who think they know things. If this whole pandemic has shown me anything, those who do know, don’t run around telling people, they let their actions speak. I have zero doubt your actions will speak to how you raise your sons, much more than the words of fools.

    Good luck to you as the magic day gets closer! 🙂

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