Yes, you read that right... but wait a second, I don't HAVE boys...
So here is a guest post from a great friend of mine who truly exemplifies wabisabi parenting and how fucking hard this whole thing is.
Boys Will Be Boys
Does anyone else despise this term or is it just me?! Two scenarios of which this seems to come up with my children and the struggle with parenting are, with a bit of rambling involved:
Son Jack - Although Jack is sensitive, kind, smart etc etc he is energetic and at times what I refer to as "intense". He is easily excited and needs numerous reminders to breath it out or my personal saying "chill".
When it comes to the playground/school and his interaction with his friends (and his older sister) the term "boys will be boys" comes up. To a certain extent, I get it! Boys tend to play "rough" or types of games that have more physical contact. My worry with this term is how loosely it is used, as in saying it is approving the behaviour; in Jacks situation rough housing and physical play.
What is the line between this so called "boys will be boys" and rough housing to what hopefully never happens/turns into bullying? Am I reading too much into that term and actions that come along with it? Some might say yes, but I feel as a parent, I need to look into the future and possible scenarios of our actions today. I try to enforce as much as possible a no hands on rule and personal space/bubble. That if we are playing we must be sure to listen to others words and watch their actions etc. NOT setting the mindset for him to think that him being rough, tossing other kids around, and potentially hurting someone is ok, cause well, he is just being a "boy"!
Daughter Grace - Is outgoing, thoughtful, sassy etc. All of this plus her being beautiful and aware of boys has me stressing already! There has been one boy in particular and now an incident that happened her first day of school which sparked me writing this in the first place.
That this boy and group of boys tease and mock her. I do have to say she can handle her own, however there have been times when its been a bit much and has brought her to tears. Insert "boys will be boys"! How frustrating this term is in this type of situation! That yes, it is probably the case that these boys think Grace is cute or have a crush on her, but why is the saying "boys will be boys" ok to use?
Again, some might say I am looking too much into it but by using this term, it is approving this mocking/teasing behaviour to be ok and it is not. That this commonly used term is therefore, not only teaching her that this negative/hurtful attention is what to look for from boys (in future, men) as a sign of interest/attraction/affirmation etc etc but that it is also a sign of disrespect/bullying. Not only that, but from a boys point of view that this is how we treat the girls we have crushes on, in a negative way!
This situation turned into a conversation that was hard to have with both my kids present. It was important that they heard it from both sides. How do I explain the difference between kindness we should have towards everyone and kindness we should have towards people we have "crushes" on? For now I broke it down like this: it is important to treat everyone with kindness, treat others how you want to be treated. If there is someone that you like or think is cute, tell them, use your words. Use thoughtful actions like nice gestures and compliments, make them feel special.
Both of the above topics I know are conversations we are going to have over the years to come and my responses to them will be different depending on their ages.
I guess the point of this was to be a reminder that as parents, we have to be mindful of explanations of our children's behaviour and well, pretty much everything we say and/or do! That what we are teaching them today will play out in their future.
That it could even be as simple as a term we have heard all of our own lives "boys will be boys".
Like we don't already have enough to do/think/worry about! Fuck parenting is hard! Lol