Boys vs. Girls

“Mom, is this a boy magazine?” my daughter asked me, picking up Car & Driver, her dad’s magazine of choice.  “No, sweetie it can be a girl’s or a boy’s magazine,” I responded.  Upon saying that, she proceeded to page through the magazine. (Side note: I WILL sometimes page through car magazines, though I did much more when I worked for an automotive company.)

In another instance, my husband was not too pleased with big sister’s dinnertime antics, so he told her, “Act like a lady.”  I added in, “No, please act like a kid with good mealtime manners.”

My daughter also reported that her female teacher at school had boy hair (it’s cut short) to which I replied, “Girls can have short hair or long hair.”

Having both a son and a daughter, we are constantly confronted with gender bias.  I want to raise both of my children with the idea that they can do whatever they want, regardless of what may be considered a girl or boy magazine, haircut, or acting like a lady or crazy little boy.

We try to avoid girl- or boy-only labels (something I’ve written about before), so our kids both play with trains, cars, animals, and dolls – or whatever strikes their fancy. My daughter is a big animal lover, which includes checking out bugs or digging for worms while wearing a tutu (as she does below).

digging for wormsI have to admit that I worry more about raising my daughter in the midst of the princess-obsessed age group.  Sure, she does enjoy her princess domino game and loved watching Pocahontas, but she’s never requested to dress-up like a princess. I mean, what do princesses really DO besides meet their prince and get married?  Don’t they have interests and things to do besides plan another ball? Since her chances of being a real-life princess are non-existent, I’ll keep rooting for better heroines for my daughter, while trying to set a good example for her myself.

As I mentioned in Do I Really Sound like That, my words too easily become her words.  I hope I watch what I say to put the right words in her head, so she can become a strong, confident girl, ready to conquer the world in whatever way she desires.  First off on her agenda: pre-school.

How do parents of boys and girls consciously (or unconsciously) raise their children?  Can you recommend any good girl characters role models?

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5 thoughts on “Boys vs. Girls

  1. It’s so interesting to me how boys and girls evolve. My middle son played with many so called girl toys until he was about 5. I’m sure this had a lot to do with seeing his older sister. I gave my 2 year old son a tinker bell backpack the other day and he gave it back saying it was for a girl. My daughter is pretty well rounded with having two brothers.

    • Yeah, I am curious how they both will change as they get older. My daughter also has some boy cousins, so trains and cars and some superheroes are pretty popular right now…and animals.

  2. I cringed 2 weeks ago when I heard a man (who is generally a good guy) tell his barely 3 year old boy to quit “crying like a little girl.” While the child was being annoying and needed to stop the fake crying and whining, his dad’s choice of words made me bite my tongue. Good for you for watching what you say!

    • Oh yeah. I am not a fan of that phrase! I may be over thinking it at times, but eventually they’ll figure out gender stereotypes on their own..so until then we’ll try to speak more consciously. Thanks for reading Kerry!

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