Do we Parent our Boys Different from our Girls?

Cute Little Girl Play On Couch" by photostock

We live in a family focused townhouse complex where the number of school age boys far more out weigh the number of girls.   This is great for Adam and SUCKS for Caity.     This gender unbalance has totally spoiled me when it comes to dealing with play dates and sleepovers.  I love the fluidity of the boys days where planning of play and sleepovers is instantaneous as they race from one kids house to the next.  My role in all the planning  is to merely say yes or no or to make sure I actually know who the parents are of the kids involved. There are always kids to walk to and from school with and he also has a large posse to hang with online too.   From a mom point of view this makes life pretty simple for me.   There are always boys in my house and I am happy to entertain the hordes.

Except where are the hordes for Caity? Neither of them have made a true ‘Best Friend,’ the kids come and go when it comes to popularity, but Caity seems to have a harder time connecting with other girls in a deeper way than someone to play with at school.  For someone like me who had a best friend throughout elementary school that I hung out with on weekends and so on, this is a bit sad.  I want them both to have the same sort of experiences I had. Apart from the gender disparity on our home turf, I also wonder if our parenting comes into play differently with girls and boys, even if we don’t realize it.

Every time I try to get a playdate or sleepover organized with Caity’s friends, it seems so ‘complicated.’  The girls all seem to have far busier calendars than the boys, so there is much back and forthing and calendar sharing.  Then there seem to be always allergy or diet restrictions to make a note of too.  Then there are my animals, some kids are afraid of dogs or allergic to them or the cats.    For an introvert like me, this forced one one one ON AND ON contact with the parents is a bit exhausting and overwhelming.  Any contact with the boys parents is usually down to ‘Is it okay with you?’ and “when do you want them dropped off or picked up?”  If the boys are at my house, pizza is ordered and pop offered.  Done.    I also get the impression that this is totally the same at the other boys homes due to the amount of spontaneous sleepovers and playdates that spring forth on a regular basis. So what is the deal with micromanaging the girls lives?

Would I have been the same if Caity had been my first and Adam second?    Am I truly blessed because my kids don’t appear to have any allergies?  Am I a slacker mom because she isn’t in twenty billion after school clubs?    Are we all too casual about sleepovers and so on?  The rule of thumb with girls seems to be that I have to develop a friendship with the girls parents too in order for our children to interact.  Again, as a bit of an introvert, I  find this a bit stressful, so now I am concerned that my attitude is totally spoiling childhood for my daughter?  Don’t get started on Tara, our preschool drop out who is signed up for NOTHING and has NO peer friends.

Is it me or are parents way more casual about their boys interactions than their daughters?

I suppose that because it IS more difficult for Caity to connect with other girls, then I do have to step up to the plate a bit more.  But the negotiations feel exhausting and  sometimes fruitless when the potential friend has so many clauses and issues to overcome to see if the friendship is viable?   It is hard to not negatively judge the other girls ….girls who don’t see Caity the way I do… and it is just a hard to not judge their parents either when it is made to feel so complicated.  Why are so many kids on specific diets or schedules and so on.  It all feels way to difficult.

I guess I am really one of those free range mothers ….the types other moms frown upon.    I feel bad if that has alienated my daughter from other girls.

About Kerry Sauriol

Mother, Blogger, Social Media Consultant.

Comments

  1. I’d never thought of gender differences in terms of scheduling but you bring up a great point- we teach girls from an early age to have a more complicated, regimented approach to freindship early on. It’s as if we’re teaching them to be mini-multitaskers and pack as much in on one play date as possible. Whereas boys are allowed to run wild and free and take it as it comes.

    Hmmmmm

  2. My youngest is a girl, so I have yet to encounter playdates with other girls. But as far as my boys are concerned, I agree, people seem much more lax about their schedules. It seems like parents “protect” their daughters more from potential predators. Ie. being much more selective about sleepovers etc. unfortunately according to trends and statistics boys are at risk just as much as girls. It freaks me out to let my boys stay over at someone else’s house. I have to be sure I know them well and can trust that my sons won’t be in harms way. I think I’ll be just as freaked out, if not more with my daughter. I think that maybe part of the reason parents of girls require more relationship with the other parents.

  3. This is really interesting because we are going though the opposite problem at our house. My daughter (in KG) is always making plans, the girls always want to get together. On the other hand it is really hard to find things for my son to do. I keep trying to encourage street hockey or having the boys over at our place but it never seems to work.

    Raj

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