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10 Things Parents Should Never Tell Their Boys

10 Things Parents Should Never Tell Their Boys

Imagine parents bringing up their boy as a boy and a girl! One British couple has decided that all the gender stereotyping has gone far enough. They will let their boy play with dolls, play rugby or do whatever he wants. He can also wear a pink tutu, if he so wishes. The only problem here is that this boy will go through hell at school as he will be mocked and bullied when he does not fit in with boy stereotypes.

Now this is one extreme view of gender stereotyping. It’s also a selfish one as the parents are putting their political and social beliefs at the top of their agenda, rather than the boy’s welfare. But what can parents do to raise boys so that they have a more balanced and tolerant view of their own sex and their female counterparts? They should also be made aware that there are alternatives to the classic negative stereotypes. In this way they will not grow up sexist. They will make better partners and fathers. Here are 10 things parents should remember to tell their boys.

1. What a great boy you are

There is some very good advice in the book by Christia Spears Brown called Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue: How to Raise Your Kids Free of Gender Stereotypes. She recommends that parents should avoid always pointing out the gender differences, rather than the similarities. The problem here is that if parents always refer to their sons as boys, they are laying the seeds for gender stereotyping at a very early age. It is a better idea to call them ‘kids’ and also call him “What a smart kid” instead of “What a smart boy.”

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2. Let’s invite only boys to your birthday party

If parents start on this trend, it will be difficult for boys to mingle and socialize with girls. Mixed birthday parties are perfectly natural and a preparation for having female friends. Encouraging mixed-gender playdates is also a good idea. Boys will be drawn to more creative games and girls will do more outdoor play. The same principle holds when parents are considering sending their sons to a boys only school.

3. Women have to stay home and look after the kids

When a boy comes home and tell you that all “Girls are stupid”, ask him why he thinks that and what exactly happened. If parents never question these early erroneous stereotypes, they can easily lead to prejudice and it will be difficult to eradicate. It is also a good idea to encourage kids in role play activities to let boys take the role of the stay at home dad who is looking after the kids. Remind them that there are lots of working moms. This helps to break the mould of gender stereotypes.

4. Touchy feely stuff is only for girls

Boys are usually not encouraged to touch each other in a playful and affectionate way because that is considered a girlish thing to do; unlike Italian kids who are taught from very early on to express their affection physically. I remember a British father warning his boy not to hug his Italian male playmates. “Just a handshake will do”, he told his son! Parents need to show that touch and physical affection is healthy and reassuring.

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5. Boys don’t cry

Our society is so rigid that boys simply do not cry. There is no healthy outlet for their emotions. The fear of letting a boy cry is paramount to raising a “Mommy’s boy” and that is disapproved of in our sexist culture. Peer pressure also plays a big role in that boys have to be seen as tough and stoic. That is cool. It starts at the age of four or five and lasts right through to adolescence and even into adulthood. But this attitude does not build emotional resilience to fear, disappointment and pain at all. It actually stunts their emotional growth and it is a false bravado. Figures show that boys are at greater risk of suffering from depression and low self-esteem.

What can parents do? They can be much more supportive and show the boy that they will always be there when things get tough. This will encourage them to talk about their problems. There is nothing wrong with talking about fear and disappointment. Fathers can also tell their boys “Sometimes, I feel like crying too.”

6. Arts and crafts are only for girls

Boys can be creative. We may be limiting their potential by not letting them play at arts and crafts which are traditionally considered a female preserve. Girls and boys should be allowed to try all activities. I read recently about a male British journalist who was introduced to the wonderful world of butterflies by his father. He had to keep his collection top secret so that his male friends would never find out!

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7. Men don’t have to cook

If household tasks are rigidly divided from early on, then boys will grow up with the idea that certain tasks are only for the men, such as repairing things and doing more manual jobs. Boys will therefore never learn to cook or even bother to do any household jobs. The best way is to be good role models where all the household jobs are shared and there are no fixed boundaries. Everybody, including the boys, has chores to do and the tasks are equally divided among the siblings.

 8. Girls always look nice and cute

As boys get older, you can talk about how the sexes are always portrayed the same way on social media, video games and especially on TV commercials. This only reinforces the message of negative stereotyping. Talk about this and ask your boy if decorative and pretty females are truly representative of the real world. There may be some very clever girls in his class. Ask him to think about how men are frequently pictured as being in charge, competent and tough. Is this always true?

9. Don’t play with those girly toys

The Australian Greens party ran a successful campaign , called No Gender December, in the run up to Christmas and the mad dash for buying kids’ toys. The reason they did this was to prevent gender inequality setting in at an early age. Later on, this can lead to unequal pay for women and even domestic violence. It just makes sense to think of kids’ toys rather than girls’ or boys’ toys but this will take time. Watch the video here where one father encourages his boy to play with traditional girls’ toys. Buying kids toy blocks will help them develop spatial and math skills and nobody cares what color they are!

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10. Boys have to protect the girls

Why does the Prince always have to rescue the Princess from the dragon? Finding stories and books which portray a less sexist view of the world is not easy. But the story by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko called The Paper Bag Princess is an excellent example where Princess Elizabeth rescues Prince Roland from the dragon. She also walks into the sunset by herself! But there are other ways we can raise awareness among boys that it is not always a pink /blue world. Show them examples of female astronauts, male nurses, female mechanics and male violinists.

Have you been able to make your boys aware that pink and blue worlds are extremely limiting? Let us know in the comments.

Featured photo credit: Everett – Ten Months/ Kevin Stanchfield via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Freelance writer

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Last Updated on August 21, 2018

30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

Ah, camping. The great outdoors, the campfires, the food you’d never eat in civilised society: it’s a wonderful experience.

That said, things can get a little bit tricky when we are left to the mercy of Mother Nature. Here are 30 fantastic camping hacks you can use to make your camping experience as wonderful as possible!

 1. Use sage to repel mosquitoes.

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    photoshelter.com

    Place some sage in your campfire and the smell is sure to ward off any pesky mosquitos.

    2. Liquid soap + cotton balls = no ticks.

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      crateandbarrel.com

      If you or one of your fellow campers is having trouble with a tick, place the soap-soaked cotton on the tick for 20 seconds. The tick will eventually stop chewing and will come away with the cotton ball. If the tick was attached for a lengthy amount of time you may want to consider keeping it in a container so that you can test it for Lyme disease later.

      3. Use an acorn cap as a whistle if you get lost.

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        smallhomebigstart.com

        It’s remarkably easy to get lost whilst camping. Here’s a full tutorial on how you can transform an acorn into a whistle!

        4. Corn chips for kindling!

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          Doritos are a great way to start a fire, just be careful!

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          5. Use the rest of the chips for nachos.

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            buzzfeed.com

            Nachos are easy to pack, light and simple to make. Plus they’re incredibly tasty.

            6. Use compact, microfibre towels!

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              rei.com

              These towels are incredibly easy to store and dry within an hour of use. Buy them here.

              7. Wrap duct-tape around your water bottle for emergencies.

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                briangreen.net

                You never know when you might need some.

                8. Make lamps out of jars and solar disks.

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                  campwander.com

                  Get all the info you need here.

                  9. Sangria!

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                    gastfamilyrecipes.blogspot.co.uk

                    We know what’s really important. How to here!

                    10. One water bottle will hold eight eggs.

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                      cookiecrumbsandsawdust.blogspot

                      By keeping all your eggs in a bottle you save time and hassle. Plus, no need to carry extra bowls or a whisk!

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                      11. Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil is a surprisingly good mosquito repellent.

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                        buzzfeed.com

                        Keep the bugs and the bug repellent smell at bay.

                        12. DIY shower.

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                          instructables.com

                          All you need is a watering can and a large jug. Here’s the full instructions.

                          13. Keep sandpaper handy to light matches.

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                            craftaholicsanonymous.net

                            Glueing some sandpaper to the lid of a tupperware box where you can also store matches is a foolproof plan.

                            14. Make s’moreos easily.

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                              snackhacks.org

                              15. MarshJell-o shots.

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                                tablespoon.com

                                Learn how to make these delicious things here!

                                16. Or dip those marshmallows in Bailey’s. 
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                                  Toast the marshmallow first and then dip it in Bailey’s.

                                  17. Turn a bottle into a spoon.

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                                    buzzfeed.com

                                    It’s that easy!

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                                    18. Grits repel ants.

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                                      sleepychef.com

                                      Just sprinkle grits wherever you see ants.

                                      19. Deodorant can be used to combat itchiness.

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                                        wikihow.com

                                        20. Wrap your meat in cabbage to stop it from burning.

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                                          That’s not an innuendo, it really will! The moistness in the cabbage creates the perfect barrier.

                                          21. Foam noodles will stop any injuries.

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                                            andybaird.com

                                            For any fellow clumsy people, you know how possible it is to smack your head and cause serious injury. Placing a foam noodle on the awning strut narrows down at least one accident waiting to happen.

                                            22. Carry some essentials in a small tin with you at all times.

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                                              fieldandstream.com

                                              You never know what you’ll need and when.

                                              23. Take toothpaste dots instead of a whole tube.

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                                                ruggedthuglife.com

                                                Let the drops dry out over 3 days, add a little baking soda and put them in a resealable bag.

                                                24. Use a stick to secure your tent.

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                                                  survivormedic.com

                                                  By placing a stick in the main centre line you ensure the pressure is even throughout, which will stop the grommets being pulled out.

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                                                  25. Vacuum seal your food before you leave.

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                                                    livingonalatte.com

                                                    26. Popcorn on the campfire.

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                                                      kookyculinary.com

                                                      Popcorn that you can place on the stove at home can also be popped over a campfire. You can also make your own using this tutorial.

                                                      27. You can even make bacon and eggs over it.

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                                                        realfamilycamping.blogspot.co.uk

                                                        That’s right! Full instructions here.

                                                        28. Keep your toiletries handy.

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                                                          myshowerline.com

                                                          Buy this magnificent contraption here.

                                                          29. Compact, unbreakable cups!

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                                                            reuseit.com

                                                            Get them while you can!

                                                            30. Tic-Tac boxes are great for storing ingredients.

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                                                              seattlesundries.com

                                                              With these 30 camping tips and tricks, you can work DIY magic into nearly every aspect of camping, and make your next camping trip a comfortable, easy blast. Good luck!

                                                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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