I have a daughter and she’s perfect. She does all the right things. She is obedient. She is mindful and kind. She plays nicely with friends. My son, on the other hand, is a stinky whirlwind of destruction. He’s a great kid but he does stupid things. His friends do stupid things. Boys are a challenge. They’re easy to love but hard to tolerate. And I know we wish all kids could be as easy to raise as little girls, but I’m sorry moms, you’re little boy is not your little girl. Seriously, let your boys be boys!
Moms: Let Your Boys Be Boys!
My neighborhood Facebook page is bursting at the digital seams with mothers who are freaking out over boys doing things that boys tend to do.
“But Nik, you true north on the compass of parenting,” I hear you say. “What do boys tend to do?”
Boys fight. They wrestle around and hurt each other. They use the worst insults you can imagine, and by “worst” I mean in foulness and also quality. This kid was trying to punch my son and my son kept holding his backpack between them. The kid said, “Why you gotta hide behind your backpack, you little wuss?” To which my son replied, “It’s called self-defense, stupid.” I still don’t know if that’s the best comeback ever, or the lamest.
Recently, a mother posted about two boys who appeared to be fighting in a field beside our school. I don’t believe she really knew what was going on. She didn’t know they were fighting, but she just knew they were fighting. They could have been wrestling, or she might have been right, they might have actually been going at it. But there is nothing wrong with either. Let them fight. As a kid I used to fight with my friends on a daily basis, and as an adult I’ve only had the cops called on me three times. Not bad.
But mothers can’t stand to see kids fight. It’s not in a their nature. Mothers nurture and protect. They soothe and calm. They literally create life. So to see a 4th grader knock another one to the ground sends a natural panic straight through their brain like that robot from Lost In Space. “Danger! Danger!” But there is no danger. A gangly, bucktoothed dork isn’t going to really hurt anyone, I don’t care how hard his mom frosts his hair (And why are moms frosting their boys hair? Do they really want these kids to look like a member of 98 Degrees?).
In the end, it doesn’t matter if there was a fight or not, once the mother posts on Facebook, suddenly everyone wants to be a part of the story. You’ve got other moms posting stuff like, “I saw a boy on the ground, trying to put on a shoe. That might have been your boy!” Really? A kid missing a shoe? Who gives a crap? Some times shoes come off, the world’s an imperfect place, but now a picture is being painted that this stretch of road beside our school is some lawless, Mad Max universe where kids are cage fighting and shoes are flying off, and the ducks! Sweet Christmas, the poor ducks!
Four or five ducks live around this pond beside the school. One day some boys were skipping stones across the pond. Another mother posted that a group of boys were throwing rocks at the ducks. You know, the great thing about ducks is that they can literally fly anywhere. Assuming the kids were actually trying to hit the ducks, the ducks are free to leave. If you’re winged, migratory foul, you’re never in danger of being hit with rocks.
Because of these posts, we need to have a conversation with our son, who has never been in trouble, never picked a fight, but is now a victim of this “nanny state” mentality. Just this morning I had to remind him; don’t play with other kids, don’t play at the pond. Just come straight home after school. People are watching.
How sad is that? Think about it. You’re a kid. You have a twenty-minute window between school letting out and when you’re expected home, and you can’t enjoy it. You can’t play around a pond. You can’t explore the creek. You can’t roughhouse with your friends. You can’t be a boy exploring your world, because nosy mothers with cell phones will take everything you do out of context and blast it on social media.
Boys are physical and they’re mean and they want to figure this stuff out. They can’t do that with you breathing over their shoulder, judging them for everything you’re not comfortable with. It doesn’t matter if you’re comfortable with it, or not. You don’t know how a boy is feeling, you don’t know what a boy is thinking, so stop raising him with your effeminate world view.
And you know what? After all of this has been said, I don’t blame the moms. I blame the dads. Where are these guys? It’s a dad’s job to push the kids, to make them get out and go be something. Are we so lazy at raising our sons that we’ve just outsourced the whole process to women? In 20 years we’re going to wonder why our sons still live at home and don’t get out of bed until noon. We’re going to bitch about how they can’t hold down a job. They can’t keep a girlfriend. Heck, they can’t change a tire without calling AAA. And we’re going to complete ignore the fact that it was easier to let the mom do all the heavy lifting while the dad checked out in front of a TV.