Society needs to stop telling us to change our boys. They are being taught that they need to be like girls in order to succeed. Boys are being handed a disadvantage when they’re told they need to change who they are. When we feminize boys so much that it goes against God’s design, we hinder our sons.
There’s an obvious difference between females and males. We need to celebrate that difference, not try to change one into the other. Yes, boys need to be sensitive, but they also need to be respected for their inner need simply to be a boy. And we can stop feminizing boys by avoiding these three mistakes.
1. We feminize boys when we expect them to express emotion the same way girls do.
I have one daughter and two sons and I’ll be the first to shout out that boys and girls express their emotions differently. My little girl has big emotions and wears them loudly. And she is very expressive in her emotions when relating to others. My boys aren’t as expressive with their feelings, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings. Boys should never be shamed or criticized for showing their feelings differently than girls. When we try to change their natural emotional responses, we’re feminizing them and not respecting them for being differently designed by God.
2. We feminize boys when we don’t allow them to take risks.
Boys are born for adventure and risk. It’s hard for a mama bear to watch her little boy potentially get hurt, but our boys need us to let them take risks. My boys climb trees—it’s one of their favorite things to do. However, I’ve been chastised by other boy moms for letting my boys do it. When asked why they’re opposed to giving boys the freedom to climb, they say their sons are too clumsy, will fall and break an arm, or won’t be able to climb back down.
I feel sad when I hear what boys miss out on when their moms eliminate risk in the name of keeping their boys safe. It goes against their natural inclination toward adventure. When we tell them it’s wrong to take risks, we do damage. We stop them from having necessary childhood experiences that prepare them for manhood. Let boys wrestle, get their hands dirty, and climb trees. Our sons need to fulfill that call to adventure and risk within them and we shouldn’t restrict them for fear of their safety.
3. We feminize boys when we suppress their energetic nature.
Boys have a tough time sitting still for long periods of time. They lose focus when they’re forced to be calm and quiet for a long spell. This is why boys have a tougher time in school than girls. When we suppress their energetic nature, we’re feminizing them. So respect and encourage their need for releasing physical energy. Never shame them by comparing them to a girl who may not have the same need (and may be able to sit still for far longer). We shouldn’t get mad at boys who sometimes have to stand up and release some energy. It’s in their nature. Suppressing their energy totally isn’t the answer. Instead, teach them how to sit and listen for a specific amount of time.
The world is against our boys. It is confusing and painful and for them. Let’s stop feminizing boys and instead celebrate their differences and the value they bring to our lives.
What are other ways we can stop feminizing boys and value them as they are?