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  1. #1
    Liziz is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Default Can we PLEASE stop with the gendered kid talk???

    Gah - hey, everyone (general everyone, not this board -- I know yall are better than that!), please let kids be kids and not worry if they're acting "boy" or "girl"! Although this is something I've noticed for years, recently it's happened a lot more, and it drives me crazy every time! I have 2 DDs. I get so many comments from people telling me about how different my life would be if I had boys instead of girls (sometimes positive, sometimes negative, sometimes neutral). It drives me crazy. Things like "oh, you're so lucky they're girls. Two boys would have been so much crazier than two girls!" or, "oh geez, 2 girls. You're unlucky...teenage years would be so much easier if you'd had boys!"

    First - 2 girls is a very common family configuration. How is it notable enough to even comment? It's not like I have 10 kids that all ended up same gender, or something truly uncommon like that.

    Second - I'm lucky to have 2 children, period! It wouldn't have mattered if they were girls or boys or non-binary, for that matter, I'd still be lucky to have them.

    Third - I don't disagree that there are traits more common in boys vs. girls and vice versa. But that doesn't make it okay to apply that stereotype to any one particular child or family -- every kid should get to be who they are without someone making comments about how they might be different if they were another gender. Is there really nothing more interesting to talk about, people??? I would love to talk to you about the things that my my children or other children fabulous unique humans.....but I have zero interest in cataloging my kids' behavior by if it's "girl behavior" or "boy behavior".

    I think this has recently come up a lot more in my life because after many girl cousins, the first boy cousin came along awhile back. As he grows, it's like people just can't help but make comparisons. While I get it (kind of....) it just totally rubs me the wrong way. It's almost always throwaway comments, and it's not like it's a single person doing most of it that I can have a conversation with. It just has seemed to come up so randomly but frequently lately -- person at a grocery store, grandparent, parent of a kid's friend, etc. In the grand scheme of things there are way bigger issues and I've just ignored it for years, but today I had enough and just had to complain! Thanks for letting me vent!
    Lizi

  2. #2
    lizzywednesday is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default

    *high-five*

    Kids do kid-things and we have to roll with it as parents.

    Heck, my own mother, while describing my toddler behaviors in the early '80s to people who hadn't met me was even asked "are you sure you have a little girl?" - note, I was active, messy, and rough-and-tumble as a little kid and kind of expect little kids to ... get messy, run around & climb things, and be a little destructive because they're little kids and that's how little kids experience the world. (OK, maybe without the destructive bit because, for a lot of kids, that feels like a limits-and-boundaries issue vs an inherent trait.)

    PS - cataloguing behaviors as "girl" or "boy" is harmful to both NT kids and neurodiverse ones, but especially insidious for women and girls because so many of the older criteria for things like ADHD and autism/autism spectrum were specifically observed in boys ... which meant girls slipped through the cracks when they exhibited symptoms of, say, ADHD-Inattentive type (this is the "dreamy" and distracted type) rather than ADHD-Combined type (most commonly associated with boys, but ... DD has Combined, and, at age 6, it was quite "severe"; still kind of is)
    Last edited by lizzywednesday; 09-10-2021 at 10:50 AM.
    ==========================================
    Liz
    DD (3/2010)

    "Make mistakes! Get messy!" - Miss Frizzle

  3. #3
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    As someone who has one easy teenage daughter and two difficult boys (12 and 8), I’m guilty of saying stuff like that. DH and I think our lives would have been easier if we had all girls (or at least one fewer boy). And we’ve noticed similar things with our friends and neighbors…boys are all wild and crazy and the girls are calm and sweet. There are exceptions, but more often than not, it is what I’ve experienced. It doesn’t help that our boys are neurodivergent (one with adhd, OCD, and anxiety and the other is on the spectrum) and our daughter is typical first born (high achieving, rule follower, organized.)


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    DD (3/06)
    DS1 (7/09)
    DS2 (8/13)

  4. #4
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    Right there with you. There is no mold. I had two boys and then a girl. I thought once we got past her being an infant the "aren't you glad you got a girl" things would die down, but no people are stupid. I have three amazing (and infuriating at times) children with three completely distinct personalities. My two boys are almost night and day from each other.

    In the last three months, DD has cut her hair super short and switched from wearing dresses every day to athletics shorts and t-shirts. So much commentary on how she's expressing herself and what is her gender identity? I'm like, she's 11 and working out twice a day. She decided it was easier to take care of.

  5. #5
    PunkyBoo is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I agree with OP. I never thought I wanted to have boys because I grew up in a house of just my sister, my mom, and me (and we had no cousins until I was in college). Now I'm the only female in the house! But my boys are night& day different. Like it's unbelievable they are even related, they are so different. DS1 was quiet, shy, gravitated toward female friends because they were gentler and sweeter, but he played every sport as a kid (and now only plays tennis competitively). DS2 has ADHD, is LOUD, rambunctious, bossy, but hates team sports so he doesn't like the "sporty" boys and now loves playing tennis.
    So generally yes, let them be themselves without worrying "what" they are.

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    Mama to DS1 Punkin (2/04) and DS2 Boo (1/09)

  6. #6
    bisous is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    It really bothers me too. It undermines the messages I send to my boys AND my girls that people are complex and can't be fit in boxes and that they can like whatever they like, any color, any sport (or not), and that we are all individuals. My kids are all SO different (and I have 3 boys and 1 girl) and I feel like what gender stereotyping does is it obscures potential avenues to excel and at and adds pressure for kids in areas that might not matter at all. I don't think we need any additional pressure. Being a human is tricky enough!

  7. #7
    hbridge is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I have one girl... She is one of the most challenging kids any teacher, coach, ect. has ever had! They are never shy about telling me this!

    Nope, she didn't color, ever! She is loud and rambunctious. She started talking before turning one and NEVER stopped! I have it on good authority that she is the loudest student in her school!

    I would NOT change a thing! However, I have heard so many times how girls are quiet and will just sit with a coloring book for hours! That I should just "bring her with me" to a meeting and she will sit quietly and color! NOPE!!!! NOPE!!! Quiet, easy, and calm have NEVER been part of who she is!

    People need to STOP associating behavior with gender!

  8. #8
    Kestrel is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Right there with you.

    My huge-for-age DS is a quiet and gentle soul. He's currently the only male in his art class, where he is excelling and loving it. His councilor was shocked that he chose art and coding, he's one of two boys in the coding class. They assumed he would take PE and band "with the other boys", but that's just not him. They keep trying to recruit him to Basketball (he's 5',10") but he's not interested. (7th grade)

    We're quite happy to let him be who he is. On the other hand, my sister has five (five!) girls (and only girls), and they are as different in personality as possible. I tease her that she has the Spice Girls - five different characters.

  9. #9
    jgenie is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    I hear you! When I was pregnant with DS2 the “hope you get your girl” comments were nonstop. After DS2 was born the “when are you going to try for your girl” comments started. Tons of “you’ve got your hands full” comments for us. I had two preemies. There were many concerns with my second pregnancy and we held our breath the entire pregnancy. Healthy was our one hope. People need to get a clue.
    for Carmen

  10. #10
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    Sometimes I think people just say things to talk without stopping to think. After having 2 boys (and losing 2 boys during pregnancy), I thought for sure DD would be a boy. We were hoping for a baby. It was hurtful to say the least when strangers and friends assumed I was going for a girl. Lots of "I'm sure you are hoping it's a girl" and then "Aren't you so glad to be getting your girl?" They would even say it in front of the boys. In some ways, my kids follow traditional gender stereotypes but in others they do not. DD is loud and physical, DS1 is calm, responsible, and a dream student, and DS2 is very sensitive. It's hard even for me to break out of my conditioned gender thoughts but I'm trying.
    Mom to Two Wild and Crazy Boys and One Sweet Baby Girl

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