As a mother of a young boy, I have chosen not to teach my son "Don't hit girls". Our rule is don't hit, unless it is unavoidable, for example in tai quan doh class or to defend yourself.
My reason for this is to help him understand that hitting a girl is just as likely to get him hit back as hitting a boy and that hitting a boy, girl, animal, etc. is just not an acceptable way to solve a problem or vent frustration. Moreover, I do not wish him to start out seeing women as possible victims in need of protection or deferential treatment based solely on sex/gender.
On the other side is the 'ladylike' ideal for girls. One example is: "He did it because he likes you", a phrase I much resented as a child. In my case that was the response of the playground person when a boy kept pushing me. When he did not stop after repeated requests and the adult would not help, I finally yelled "No" and pushed him down. He did not like me enough to try again after that.
I'm curious to hear how others navigate the sex/gender minefields.

Tags: Gender

Views: 11

Replies to This Discussion

Our rule is everyone is equal and we don't hit anyone. We haven't even touched on boys and girls being different. My son and I have talked about violence not being a way to resolve a conflict and he knows he's only to use violence in self dense.
I also hate the line "because he likes you". It sets our daughters up for a lifetime of abuse. Chasing after partners who give her the cold shoulder or treat her with indifference instead of finding a partner who loves her and treats her with the respect she deserves.
My son just learned the boy vs. girl concept, but I'm not sure he realizes it extends beyond the two of us. So far he's the only person he's identified as a boy, and I'm the only girl. (He calls himself "handsome boy" and he's right.)
Haha, my brother's school bully punched him in the back of the head during class, and broke all the bones in his hand. Awesome triumph against bullies everywhere that day.
I'm a single mom of a little boy, so we both do both gender roles. He loves to help me cook, "wash dishes", and carry in groceries. He also likes playing "Kaboom!" (a shoving game), watching Dora and Diego, and fixing things with his plastic tools set. I was raised by a single mom too, so the idea that any certain task would be done by the "other half" just doesn't compute. Everyone chips in, regardless of age or gender. It's gotta get done, and we're the only people here to do it. This home environment actually trumped the Christian message I got at church, because there was no male "head" or our house.

I didn't find out about gender roles till my teens, and by then I'd realized that a lot of guys liked me better because I could speak their language, and had similar interests. Plus it's very satisfying to change your boyfriend's brake pads for him. I just want my son to enjoy whatever he's interested in, whether it's seen as "girly" or "masculine" or not.
Like all the replies so far, my boys are being taught not to hit anyone. I suppose as they get older I'll have to amend that slightly to not hit unless necessary for defense. Like Lara said, it's never even occurred to me to single out girls to not be hit. Now if they would just stop beating up on each other I might actually feel like I was getting through. ;)

We don't have parent imposed gender stereotypes here either. I said parent imposed because the fact is they really do lean towards a preference for traditionally boy toys. Ethan is totally psyched that I asked him to start helping me with laundry and they both "help" me cook. For a while we had a toy kitchen (sold due to a move). I wouldn't have a problem if they wanted dolls even. Actually I did buy one doll once. I got one that drinks and pee's to help potty train Ethan. After a while I got tired of having to put the arms and legs back on the thing and gave it to goodwill.
My son loves his build a bear tiger. He brushes it and gets it dressed. When he was around two he had this doll he named Corna and he took that thing everywhere. Corna in one hand a Thomas train in the other LOL. Now it's all Bakugan and Pokemon. My daughter loves to play with trains usually while dressed in a fairy or princess costume LOL My husband and I just let them be them. Toys are toys as long as they are sharing and playing nicely.

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