There is much to be said about boys and girls and how they differ. After teaching public school (and before becoming a mom), I was sure that boys were the way they were because of the way they were raised, and likewise with girls. It wasn’t until I became a mom that I could see it really didn’t matter. Boys will be boys. Girls are always girls.
My older son was raised in what I would call a very non-stereotypical household. He was given pom poms to use when he danced to his favorite “Wiggles” song. He wanted to paint his nails and I obliged. He had his own kitchen, shopping cart, and doll.
And he still turned his toast into a gun.
There’s something about boys that makes them more physical. Something in the testosterone or other chemicals raging through their bodies that brings out the active side of them, moreso than you typically find in girls.
I have noticed in my pre-k class that boys require more space. They just do. They are more active, more physical. When we’re out on the playground, the boys are always (ALWAYS) running around and around, chasing and playing, pretending and imagining, but always running. The girls tend to clump into groups and may run some, but they are more content to stay in one place to play. Even in the classroom, the boys need more space to build and create. The boys gravitate to the big paper for coloring and painting, filling the entire sheet with bold colors and big strokes of a brush. The girls prefer the smaller paper, not wanting to do anything too big.
My boys are also more action-oriented, and my girls tend to be more verbal. If one of my boys has a problem with another child, they are more likely to grab the toy or object away from the other person or try to push to get their way. My girls, on the other hand, will argue and tattle to get what they want. No one taught them this; it is their natural reaction.
I can even see differences in storytime. The boys want the books that are full of movement and action. But, the girls want the sweet stories with colorful language and characters with emotions. That’s not to say that the girls don’t like the action stories; it just isn’t something they initially choose.
As a parent of boys, this is valuable to me. We provide our boys with sturdy outdoor toys, perfect for climbing and riding. We frequent the big park in town and run from apparatus to apparatus (running being the main goal). We hone in on the things that interest them. We do not condone wrestling or turning everything into a gun; we have limits on their physical behavior so that they don’t hurt others or pretend to hurt someone else. We also provide some of the quieter activities for outdoor play – sidewalk chalk is one of their favorites. And, when we’re reading books, I make sure we aren’t reading just “Rescue Hero” stories, but we also read “Little Critter” books and the like.
It is important to find what motivates your child and interests them in order to maximize those teachable moments. However, it is equally important to expose them to “the other side”. It is how we learn to get along with people of all types of learning styles and personalities.