Is Raising Boys Different to Raising Girls?

Posted on October 14, 2010


Raising children is never going to be an easy task and any parent will be able to tell you that.  I only have one child and I don’t have any brothers or sisters so for me it is difficult to understand whether there is a real difference to raising boys than to raising girls.  I know from my perspective how I thought and felt growing up but I am starting to believe that because I’m ‘a girl’ I’m missing something.   I know the obvious differences and if you look at all the books out there to give guidance and advice, how many of them differentiate between raising a boy to a girl?

I like to read and research things, I like to open up my understanding of how I can improve on the things that I do and one of them is about how I am as a parent and how that has an effect on my son. I have read many articles and books and generally they give lots of advice about how to raise children but my one gripe is that it is all very generic.  Well my son isn’t generic! Apart from being a boy he has his own personality, temperament and doesn’t always play by the ‘rules’.

I know that girls and boys think differently, my friends little girls always want to make things, their role play involves shops, princesses and baby dolls, my son and my friends boys seem to always want to destroy things, its all about guns and tanks, and dinosaurs that eat people.  

Parenting is definitely a lot harder for me now my son is getting older.  Don’t get me wrong I love it and I love the challenges and there are a shed load of positives but he seems aversed to doing anything that may involve being tidy and clean (I’m not saying he doesn’t wash, because he doesn’t get that option but he’s at the age where he doesn’t see that it’s a priority) and looking at the girls in his year group at school they are all about the ‘look’ and are immaculately groomed compared to the boys who turn up in the morning with the parental stamp of perfection but usually are quite dishevelled and disorderly by the time they finish school. 

There was a conversation recently about the fact he put green socks on for school (I know I can see the raised eyebrows and hear the sarcasm “and your point is exactly?”, he knows he has to wear grey but it doesn’t seem to enter his head when he does stuff that there’s a wrong result to not taking a little more care about certain things.   This gets applied to his school work, he is fortunately a very bright boy and academically he doesn’t struggle because he remembers everything, he catches on quickly and a lot of things naturally come easy to him, but this has made him very laid back and quite thick-skinned about it.  Is that a boy thing?  Is that something I may have caused? Or is it just the way that some children are?

So when I look at the things I need to do and have as a parent to raise a well-balanced, happy child with the base fundamentals such as love, respect, etc.. Are there factors that I am missing with him not being a ‘generic’ child or is it as simple as he is a boy and there are things that I need to do that I wouldn’t if he was a girl?