Do You Parent Your Boys and Girls Differently?

by Melanie Edwards on June 7, 2012 · 0 comments

in Parenting

We-Aren't-Fighting Mood

My brother recently had a baby girl, his third child after two boys. I asked him this past weekend if he felt much different in parenting a girl versus parenting boys. It’s something I think about a lot with fathers since I know they tend to be ultra-overprotective with their daughters. I see this with my own husband too.

Though we’d like to believe we put all traditional stereotypes on gender roles aside, the reality is that much of our parenting is still based on what we know (or believe) to be true about boys and girls. From birth, we act a certain way with our babies, depending on whether they’re boys or girls. Boys are talked to in a stronger voice and told things like, “Nice grip, my man!” by their daddies. Girls are immediately called “little princesses” and spoken to in a softer tone.

It’s not something I’m proud of, but one of my initial reactions to my baby boy was to say, “I didn’t know boys could be so sweet!” It’s not like I thought boys were mean, especially from birth, but hearing me say that, one might think so.

Fathers tend to be more guilty of these things than moms. They are usually the ones to tell their boys to “man up” and typically provide more cuddles to their daughters than their sons. I believe moms usually want to cuddle their boys just as much as their girls, but even we sometimes fall into the trap of treating our kids different based on gender. I’ve caught myself saying things like, “It’s a boy thing,” when describing some of baby boy’s actions. Why is that?

The fact is that a lot of the differences probably have nothing to do with whether he’s a boy or she’s a girl. Differences might just be due to their personalities or a variety of other reasons. Our kids are so complex and so much goes into what makes them who they are, that who knows why they do what they do. Don’t you think?

Have you found yourself acting different when parenting your boys and girls? Do you feel fathers are more guilty of this than moms?

Photo: bingbing/Flickr

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