The Kids

5 Myths About Raising Boys, Debunked

by Carla Wiking

Photograph by Twenty20

If I see one more viral video slinging the “hilarious,” filthy, fart-filled life of a “boy mom,” I’m going to scream. Declaring that all boys are rude, aggressive heathens is offensive enough. Laughing it off as if it’s acceptable and relatable to all who raise them is even worse.

As the mother of two boys, I'm technically a card-carrying member of the “boy mom” crew but I’ve got to say, I really don’t feel like my motherhood experience is defined by the gender of my children. I would like to take a moment to debunk a few misconceptions that seem to be widely accepted as fact. If we could all agree that gender stereotypes are invalid for both genders, we would be in a much better place. I'm here to say that if you find yourself raising boys, it doesn't have to be a miserable, dirt-filled, testosterone fest.

Myth 1: Boys can’t get enough of bodily functions

When either of my sons pass gas or burp, it's followed by "excuse me." They are not allowed to fart or belch on or at anyone and, quite frankly, they've never tried. We have had to address the occasional poop joke, but neither of my sons would ever dare burp in my face.

Myth 2: Boys are only interested in video games

Or maybe sports. My boys interests are wide and varied. They love to play outside, ride bikes, draw, read and pretend to be everything from pirates to wizards. My 8-year-old does like "Minecraft," but it’s not an obsession. And my 3-year-old is definitely really into swords, but fencing isn't his only activity. My boys and I have plenty of things we can talk about and enjoy together that don’t involve screens, great hand-eye coordination or weapons.

Toilet seats left up, milk chugged from the container, messes everywhere—these are supposedly common actions all moms of boys have to put up with.

Myth 3: Boys don’t care about their appearance

I’m sure that some boys, just as some girls, don’t care about their clothes or hair, but that's not the case in my house. My boys have fashion opinions and hair preferences. They care how they look and feel in their clothes. Things need be both cool and comfy. And the hair—it must be styled just so.

Myth 4: Boys have no manners

Toilet seats left up, milk chugged from the container, messes everywhere—these are supposedly common actions all moms of boys have to put up with. Nope, this boy mom is having none of it. I’m here to say that not all boys are hardwired to be complete slobs with no regard for anyone but themselves. Occasionally, I find the toilet seat up or an unwelcome dribble, but these are exceptions, not the rule. And while the 3-year-old still needs some table manner training, the 8-year-old is welcome at the finest of dining establishments. Messes are a universal problem in my home with the woman of the house an equally guilty party.

Myth 5: Boys are violent

At times, all children are rowdy. Sometimes my boys roughhouse, but I don't spend my days breaking up wrestling matches. My boys—and I believe many other boys as well—are sweet and kind. They may have fun pretending to get bad guys, but they don’t maliciously attack each other or their peers. They love to sing and dance as much as they enjoy wielding foam swords. Boys aren't inherently violent or aggressive, and accepting this behavior as normal is dangerous.

Every child is different. I’m not here to say that there are no differences between the genders, but I would like to say that perpetuating these male stereotypes isn’t doing anyone any favors, especially our boys and the women they may someday partner with.

Instead of accepting a rudely placed fart as part of being a boy mom, maybe we could work harder to raise gentlemen who know that is inappropriate behavior.

RELATED

Why Are So Many Healthy Kids Dying From the Flu?

More from kids