25 February 2008

Boys will be Boys

Before I had kids, I would look at parents with boys about the ages of my boys, and I would kind of shake my head. Most of the time, these boys were bouncing off the walls! The boys were loud, running around when they shouldn't be, wrestling, punching each other, trying to trip each other...I could go on and on. And the parents were not doing or saying anything. I noticed a lot of these things more than most people probably because I was a preschool teacher and because I went to college to earn an Elementary Education degree. So, I was kind of more aware of kids than most people who are childless, I suppose.

And even though I was a preschool teacher, and I knew that boys go through stages--that the phrase, "boys will be boys" is a pretty valid phrase--I was still somewhat amazed at what some parents put up with from their sons out in public...before I had kids, that is. I would see parents letting their boys stomp their feet as they walked through a store--and the parents didn't say a word. Boys would be spitting at their brothers, and Mom and Dad didn't even comment, let alone scold. Take that picture above, for example--the kid on the right has flung water into the face of the kid on the left...is that acceptable behavior? Shouldn't the parents speak to the kid on the right, put him in time our or something? That's the kind of mindset I had before I had kids.

After I had kids, though--my perspective completely changed.

After I had kids, especially after my boys got to be about preschool-age, I began to notice the same types of behavior that I used to notice in other people's kids long ago...but this time, it was MY kids behaving that way. And you know what? This time, it was me who wasn't saying a word. This time, my boys were stomping their feet and wrestling and punching each other--and I was one of the parents who was not doing or saying anything.

This time, though, I knew why. Apparently, parents of boys pick up a new skill as their sons get older--these parents learn the art of how to ignore. It is a specialized skill, one that requires a great deal of practice to know when to implement it and when not to. Basically, this skill involves ignoring anything that isn't life-threatening to anyone. But, you have to be at-the-ready to intervene at a split-second's notice just in case innocent play takes a turn for the worse.

So, this skill isn't one to sneer at--it takes a great deal of practice before a parent can claim mastery. And I've seen many parents who think they have the technique down pat fail miserably when really challenged by their sons.

But, since I have had sooo much practice with my three sons (as well as lots of their friends), I believe I have mastered this skill. I'm going to stay on my toes, though--boys will be boys, after all, so they are always getting into something new...and I want to be ready for it.

And by the way--that picture up there? That's a picture I took of my sons...so, not only did I not scold Xander (the boy on the right), but I took a picture of him splashing his brother Damien. Damien wasn't hurt; yeah, he whined a little, but he was fine. Perfectly fine to ignore that, right? I'm sure all the parents of little boys would agree.


Dee said...

Mich I notice you are opening daycare in your home have you visted the daycaredish site. she has some very good tips.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the tip, Dee--I'll have to go check that out! I've never heard of that site, so I'm glad you mentioned it. :)

DD said...

Hi Michelle,
Thank you for the feedback on my site. I will definitely add you to my list. Your blog is a lot of fun to read. I love the "boys will be boys". It's incredible how much more physical they are than girls! At least in my experience. I am also going to try the St. Ives. I am in desperate need of a good moisturizer. My hands are like sawdust.
Keep in touch.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the nice comments, DD! :) And do try the St. Ives--I'm sure you'll love it!

katy said...

This is so true! I was the same way before I had kids - I was critical of other parents. Now I understand and just smile