Boys are considered rough and tough. They are go-getters, bold, fearless. Boys must play pranks, be ready to fight at the drop of a hat, don’t hesitate to throw a punch or two. They need to be macho.
Why didn’t you fight back? You are a man, behave like one, the little boy is told. He is totally at a loss. What does that mean? You will not cry. Be strong. Crying is for girls. Again the boy is lost. If tears are for girls, why are they welling up in my eyes? I am strong, but I don’t like fighting with others. Is that bad thing?
You are letting someone else rule you? You are the boss, learn to call the shots. No talking softly, be loud. Be dominating. That’s how men are. And the boy who isn’t all the above, how does he feel? The cocoon around him, tightens.
Is it his fault he is a sweet child? He loves to talk softly, smiles often. He doesn’t trouble anyone, rather help someone out. Even if he is provoked, he doesn’t want to hurt back. He doesn’t want to punch, so he is labelled, a coward. He doesn’t retaliate so he is to be bullied. He doesn’t boss around so he is walked all over.
He is sweet,isn’t that nice? He is soft, so be it. He is easily hurt, that is not his fault. Tears roll down, its ok to cry. He can be all these and still be a BOY. He need not prove he is macho just because he is born a male.
The ones who set the standard do not realize the labels and hard words pelted at a child will not make him any stronger. But pushes him down the abyss of confusion and turns his back away from the world. The effort to change the inborn character may also result in a child who grows up to be bitter and punishing.
Why make a boy feel bad about him being soft and sweet? Those are certainly not negative traits for a boy. Underneath the soft exterior may be there is someone who is brilliant, wise, with incredible talents and a heart of gold. Let us celebrate that.
Do we have to stick to these rules and bring up our boys the standard way? I will appreciate my son if he grows up to be a sweet, polite man. I certainly wouldn’t like if he is overly dominating and a control freak. I would be horrified if he picks up fight because he is angry with someone. If our boys are showing negative traits lets set them right, but why condemn good qualities?
Our job is to see that our kids grow up to be confident and matured adults. Let’s nurture their traits and characters, interests and inclinations. When they are taught to value and love themselves, they can surely grow up to face the big bad world, head on.
Let boys be boys, they will find their way to manhood, tough ones and softies alike, learning their ropes along the way.