Raising Boys

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Natalie _ | 6 comments


 "What's it like having boys?"

It's a question I'm asked a lot.  I should point out, I only have two children.  It's not like I'm raising a rugby team.  But in my family where girls tip the scales, having two boys and no girls is a novelty.  And my friends and acquaintances, well they probably think I'd hoped for at least one girl - I have the 'girliest' job ever - editor of the largest beauty website in New Zealand, but in my house, that's about as exciting as being an accountant.

All the parenting books say boys need raising differently to girls.  Well I can't compare raising boys to raising girls - I know nothing of the latter, and to be honest, the thought of raising anything scares the bejesus out of me.  

But here's some of the things I think about having sons.

1.  I'm so ruining them for their future spouse.

Ladies you know the demon to whom you will never be good enough for her son?  One day that will be you.  And here's the thing - being married to a mummy's boy is like having another child.  But when you have your own son, you want them to be mummy's boys.  And so the circle perpetuates.

2.  You should tell your boys they are beautiful.

Everyone says a newborn baby, regardless of gender, is beautiful.  But I get repeatedly told not to call 3.5 year old Milky Chops, beautiful.  'Call him cute or handsome'.  Well let me tell you - those gorgeous curls, that button nose, them grey-blue eyes, the little pot belly.  They are simply beautiful.  Beauty has no gender.

3.  Don't assign Dad the 'boy' tasks.  

Learn to build a kick ass train track, learn to pump up a bike tyre, learn to drop kick a ball.  There will be days when Dad isn't around.  Likewise teach them to cook, encourage them to help you clean and put things away.  If they want to learn to knit, teach them.  If they want to do ballet, let them.  Don't perpetuate the standard of men's tasks and women's work.  Of boy's toys and girl's games - we want our boys to appreciate gender equality.  Show them.

4.  Long hair isn't girly.  

But don't be surprised or insulted when you're told what gorgeous curls your daughter has.  Milky has had one hair cut ever, and that was about 0.5cm to take the frizz off.  He loves his hair, it's his thang!  

5.  Don't put yourself, or other women down in front of them.  

You are shaping their expectations and opinions on women.  Me saying 'don't show mama's fat belly' when he lifts my top in public will only make him think - fat isn't good.  Fat shouldn't be shown.  Mamas shouldn't be fat.  Teach him to see the beauty in others and he'll make the world feel more beautiful.

6.  Big boys do cry.  And it's a bloody good thing.

I've never used the words 'boys/big boys don't cry'.  Why?  Because we're always moaning our menfolk are crap at emotions.  Our menfolk are a nightmare to get to the doctors.  Our menfolk don't express themselves.  Well maybe if they'd been encouraged to cry as kids, instead of being told to 'stop being a girl', we wouldn't be dealing with a generation of the emotionally inept.

7.  Willies.

They're very much there from day one.  I've been peed on from a distance.  Oh, and I had to be told to 'point it down' when putting a nappy on.  And it erm, works from day one. 

8.  Boys like dolls.  

Milky loves Dolly (it's so creepy thing - it has a heart beat and breathes) and even though they're selling for like $150 used on Trade Me right now, I could never trade her in for a more 'manly' toy as The Husband suggested.   Besides, boys that play baby are learning to be good caregivers!

9.  They like makeup too.

And no, it won't make them gay.  And even if it could, so what?  They'd be gay and look fabulous.  Let them explore things - kids do not think in terms of gender, it's one of the reasons they're so freaking cool.  And god, can you imagine if one of mine becomes the next Wayne Goss?  Mama gonna be looking fine in her old age.

10.  Teach them to respect themselves and they'll respect others.

This one is genderless.  Don't be telling me you'll be waiting with a shotgun when one of my boys comes to pick up your daughter for a date.  Don't put all the responsibility of respect on boys - you are doing your daughters a disservice.  Why don't we all teach our children to love and respect the people they meet, including themselves, that way we'll all sleep easy right?

Whether you're raising boys or girls, mama deserves a treat.  I recommend the Great Ball Box - which is actually amazing for women of any age!  





6 Responses


June 28, 2016

I love having boys, they’re a hoot, but they’re already getting smelly and I’m not loving that LOL. Your boys are so gorgeous.


June 27, 2016

I have 2 girls and one boy and this is such a refreasing read…..at times he even reminds me its ok to call him cute! :)


June 24, 2016

I have 2 girls and a boy. I raised them on my own and treated them equally. My son is a kind and caring guy with a big heart, and he will come shopping with me and even hold my bag if needed. He lives with his sisters now, one happy bunch of kids I have. They are 33, 28, 21 years old. He is also the middle child. He was different to the girls, not better or worse, just different. I am so proud of him.


June 24, 2016

My eyes are wide with fear with point 1 – so you’re saying I don’t stand a chance haha. Billy Bean and Milky Chops are beautiful – the cheeks and hair get me every time! With an island background, I’ve seen the importance placed on separating the girls and boys so everyone knows “their role” – I’ve never agreed with it. Thanks so much for sharing this great read xx


June 24, 2016

Amazing article. As you said there is no difference to rising girl or boy I agree with that. People make boundaries for girls and boys. Like girls can do certain things and boys do certain things. I hate this kind of thinking.


June 24, 2016

Awww these photos just make my heart melt! You have 2 very beautiful boys <3 This is an awesome read, in my household it is always a war when it comes to the what my son does compared to my daughter. Where my husband comes from it is a shame for a boy (or man) to like or play with anything that is made for girls or women, eg. Makeup or toys. It makes things hard when in my upbringing it was normal to play with anything your heart desires.

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