As soon as you become pregnant with a baby boy, you start hearing the myths about raising boys. The ones I heard most are that boys are rambunctious, they love dirt and jumping off things, and they always smell like the outdoors. I have two younger brothers, so I knew most of these to be true.
But when I had my sons, I didn’t anticipate that they’d also love quiet time, and would be nurturing and thoughtful. My sons have loved playing with baby dolls just as much as my daughter did, and they love helping in the kitchen. When we buy into the myths about raising boys (or girls) we risk limiting our children’s potential or placing unrealistic expectations upon them. So have you believed these 5 myths about raising boys or has your son proven them to be false?
Myth 1: Boys are more rambunctious.
Oh, they can be so rambunctious! But this myth about raising boys makes it seem like they never enjoy some downtime. We have two boys and sometimes our home is as quiet as a library. During this downtime, I might find them reading, writing, coloring, or creating something with LEGOs. And not all boys love roughhousing. Some boys actually prefer a quiet corner to read a book or build with blocks.
Myth 2: Boys don’t need to express their emotions.
Our culture automatically assigns emotions to girls and forgets how real feelings can be for boys, too. My sons feel the weight of disappointment, empathy, frustration, and sadness just as much as my daughter; they just don’t always readily express those feelings. Saying boys don’t need to express those emotions just because boys aren’t as expressive is doing society a huge disservice. If we fostered emotional intelligence in our sons as much as in our daughters, we’d see big changes in our culture.
If we fostered emotional intelligence in our sons as much as in our daughters, we’d see big changes in our culture.
Myth 3: Boys are messier.
My sons spend a lot of time collecting things, from rocks and feathers and Pokémon cards to FunkoPops and LEGOs. With all the collectibles, you’d think walking into their room would be a safety hazard! But surprisingly, they’ve picked up on my organization cues and actually enjoy having a tidy room. Most of the time, it’s cleaner than my daughter’s! Sure, not all boys are clean and organized, but not all boys are a total mess either. If we buy into this myth about raising boys and have low expectations for our sons’ cleanliness, we risk not teaching him basic rules that will help him down the road when he is married or has roommates.
Myth 4: Boys don’t care as much about appearance.
I’m still waiting for my sons’ fashion sense to kick in, but if I told them that they looked ridiculous, they would most certainly feel embarrassed. My boys care; they just don’t know any better about clothes. It’s hurtful to boys when someone makes fun of their weight, their clothes, their hair, or anything else that has to do with how they look. Sometimes it seems like girls have the reputation for caring about appearances, but there are many boys who have succumbed to eating disorders and low self-esteem, too.
Myth 5: Boys aren’t as caregiving.
When I babysit a friend’s baby, my boys turn into mush. While girls may have a natural bent toward nurturing, boys can still be strong caregivers. It just translates differently. My daughter can point out a hungry baby, but my boys know how to engage younger kids in play.
What has surprised you most about raising boys?