Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Boys will be Boys, Right?

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Recently I was talking with a woman who had two boys that were wrestling nearby. In the middle of the conversation, one of the boys started saying, "Stop. Stop. Stop." The mother said, "Hey!" to the boy. Then, the boy continued wresting despite the pleas of the other boy. The mother then turned to me and said, "Boys will be boys," and sighed........... Like. There. Was. Nothing. She. Could. Do!

I have heard this SO MANY TIMES. Let me tell you what this communicates to me. Also, keep in mind that I am referring to a particular comment, so I will be discussing BOYS. This does not mean that this does not happen with girls. The information is relevant for both, so keep this in mind......

First, it communicates that the parent has NO control over what their child is and does. It's like saying, "Heavenly Father sent us here to earth to learn and grow, but he sent boys here with an unchangeable character so why should I even try."

Second, it communicates to the boy that no matter what other people say, he can continue doing what he wants and no one SHOULD stop him (because he is a boy, of course).

Third, it communicates that others should turn their head and ignore, or watch when someone is being subjected to something they don't like.

Fourth, it communicates that words are less powerful than behavior. Therefore, behavior needs to speak louder than words, meaning behavior should be loud, aggressive, and draw attention.

Fifth, it communicates that boys are exempt from following rules and direction (because they are uncontrollable boys, of course, so they shouldn't be held to a higher standard).

Are you catching the irony here?

And now let's relate that to sexuality.

Let's say a boy has a girl on a date and they start kissing. The girl was kissing him back (just like the little boy was wrestling the older boy with consent at first). Then, she starts saying, "whoa, hold on."

But, he just continues kissing her. To him, no one should stop him. He can't help himself because, of course, he's just a boy. She was kissing him back, so her behavior is speaking louder than her verbal expressions that she's done with the kissing. He wants to follow the rules, but they are just too hard. And he is, after all, just a boy.

Again, are you catching the irony here?

As parent, if you ever say, "He's just a boy; She's just a girl; He's such a boy; She's such a girl; Boys will be be boys; Girls will be girls." What are you teaching them about their character? You are essentially throwing up your hands and saying, "I can't discipline you because of your gender," or "Your behavior is just because of your gender." True, boys are generally physically stronger than girls. True, boys are also generally more active than girls. (Note: I say generally because it's not always the case). But, Heavenly Father has not dictated a Ten Commandments for Girls and a Ten Commandments for Boys because we're so different we need held to different standards. We are held to the SAME standard because everyone should act Christlike (who is, of course, a BOY).

We have two boys. Our oldest is incredibly kind and thoughtful. Our youngest is a toddler and we're working on kindness. I make sure they listen when they have someone tell them to stop or that something is hurting or someone doesn't want to do something. These are not "manly" traits. But, I tell people all the time: "You can call my son a sissy right now, but you're going to want your daughter to marry him when she gets older."

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