Naughty. Destructive. Impulsive. Socially immature – I’ve been guilty of using that one but what does it even mean when you’re four? It’s only since having a daughter I’ve noticed the labels that get assigned to boys. Rowdy, aggressive, withdrawn. Sometimes they’re cry-babies, sooks, or soft. Other times, they’re bullies at two and a half and I wonder about the impact.
Maybe it’s because the universe blessed me with a streak of lightening that tap-danced out of the womb, but surely I’m not the only parent who thinks there’s no tolerance, no room, for catching up anymore. Do we celebrate boy’s tenderness, their gentle side enough? I don’t think we always do from where I’m standing (and granted I’m rarely standing, more like chasing).
Small boy, small worries but from boys emerge men and I don’t personally know any who are aggressive or destructive. Most aren’t. Recently Mia Freedman inflamed debate with an article about rape prevention and as much as I’ve discovered I occasionally learn more by shutting up, reserving judgment and listening to those who probably know better, I did find myself questioning if men were inadvertently being portrayed in a negative light.
My son can be gentle, affectionate and sensitive. He has a killer laugh, is blessed with my husband’s open and friendly nature and tells me “You’re beautiful mummy” at least five times a day and I haven’t been able to locate a seeing eye dog anywhere. I don’t consider myself unique because most people I know have an abundance of positives to say about the boys they know too. Today I just felt like sharing mine.