Thursday, 4 February 2010


I've been musing about boys and attitudes towards boys.  In part this is prompted by a few daft groups that have been set up on Facebook and common phrases like, "that's men for you".  I remember being told too that I have a great responsibility to ensure my boy grew up to be a decent man because there are so few in the world.

I laughingly told a dear friend a few nights ago that men aren't great at communication.  Afterwards I felt annoyed with myself.  Utter tosh, men can communicate, they can express themselves, otherwise we wouldn't have the fantastic artists, writers, inventors etc that we do have, and have had. I began to wonder if its the expectation that they can't that stunts the ability in some men?  Or, perhaps we haven't learned to listen in the way men need to be listened to.  I think one of the greatest inequalities of the ideal of equal opportunities is that it's taboo to admit there are differences between the sexes.  Although when it comes to expressing emotions and expressing needs culture has a lot to answer for; "big boys don't cry,", I've found this phrase nearly parting my lips occasionally and had to bite it back. 

Having a son for a child, is forcing me to look at this cultural influence and sterotypes and challenging my own biases, perhaps even arrogance?  Rye as a 3yr old is emotional, loving, energetic and he expresses his joy and love physically.  He is a big into cuddles, he liks to give and receive kisses, he loves to cuddle in bed nad to sleep with his head resting on my arm.  I think the lady who told me my challenge is to ensure I teach Rye to be decent, was wrong, I think my challenge is provide an environment where he can safely continue to express those emotions, that joy, along with the tears, the shouting, the scowling and huffing.  Where his hugs are received with joy, his kisses with appreciation and his tears, his expressed needs with understanding and love.  And also to combat to some degree the culture influence that "big boys don't cry".


Dawn said...

It's funny only yesterday at a group thing we go to a Mom told her son he had to be more gentle with girls, and I thought it was funny we still have these stereotypes. Why not be gentle to everyone?

Big boys can (and do) cry x

Fiona said...

A really thoughtful post.
I love the fact that you can see Rye doesn't need to learn to be decent - of course he already is, and being raised in such a gentle and intuitive way, I am sure he will grow up to be one of the 'good ones'.

Joxy said...

My job is to love him, to help him learn the social expectations and responsibilities he has being a citizen in this country, and to love him some more. The rest is really up to him. I can guide, I can make clear my own expectations; but at the end of the day he is an automonous person who will choose the path(s) he'll follow in life.

LesleyA said...

I agree Jacqui- what a lovely, lovely post. I have two big grown up boys of 24 and 20 XXX