17 August 2011

Boys will be Boys

I have three boys. I LOVE boys. They are sweet, kind; they are loving, compassionate and straightforward about their feelings.

Something that has always bothered me a bit is the phrase "boys will be boys". Yes, boys are different than girls. But what I don't like is the tone the phrase "boys will be boys" is so often delivered as if to say... well what do you expect?? He's a BOY. Boys are awesome. Don't let anyone tell you different.

I know little to nothing about little girls. But on boys under the age of 6 1/2 (my oldest) I am an expert. What I do know is that boys have feelings and emotions. Boys sometimes need to cry. Boys need hugs... lots of hugs. Boys need to be protected and nurtured. Now I'm not saying every time a boys falls down and gets a micro scratch we need to run and encourage him to "get his emotions out". I'm talking about education our young boys to be able to identify different emotions in themselves and others. I HATE the suck it up... be a man attitude. We adult women want our men to be in tune to our emotions. If we as mothers never teach our boys what "hurt" or "sad" feels or looks like what kind of husbands / boyfriends / friends / people will they be?

Another thing I am learning about little boys is that they play rough. Like bear cub rough. Early on I was against this type of hard physical play. Then I did a bunch of research that revealed that rough play is integral in how boys learn about themselves and their surroundings.

Let me first say when I say "rough play" I mean wrestling, running, wrestling and did I mention wrestling? I also don't mean that boys should be allowed to beat up on each other or be mean. EVER. And I mean NEVER. My boys wrestle all the time but I am teaching them to watch for the obvious signals when play turns from fun to NOT fun. And stop means stop. No means no. No exceptions. No butts.

So when I talk about rough play I mean within boundaries. So it is SAFE rough play. So within this safe rough play world they are able to learn the boundaries of their bodies and emotions. They learn who is stronger, who is faster, what they are good at, how to play with younger / smaller boys, and where their own weaknesses are. And they have a kind of physical fun with each other I couldn't come close to providing.

I feel so happy for them that our family has 3 little boys. So yes "boys will be boys" but when I say that it is a compliment. Boys are amazing. Boys are physical. Boys are emotional. Boys are compassionate. Boys are loving. Boys are sweet. Boys WILL be boys. Thank goodness for that.

1 comment:

  1. And... Shaming boys out of rough play, can lead to them feeling like there is something wrong with their internal instinct to want to play that way... leading to a whole other set of self-esteem issues.
    It's smart of you Jenn, to observe your boys, and then take the time to research how to promote their development in the richest and safest way.
    This is just another trait that makes you so great.