Is anyone else frustrated by what I am coming to see as an obvious bias against boys and their natural inclinations? I have three sons, ages 6, 4 and 2. My older two are sweet, intelligent, thoughtful guys who also like to wrestle, play battles, trap bugs, dig holes, climb trees and roam in a little pack. Our neighborhood is great for many reasons - kids play outside with each without most parents hovering, the houses are close together and the kids have plenty of friends, etc. But there are a few moms who are really difficult because they seem to think the boys in the neighborhood need to be scolded and supervised for what I see as normal, healthy play. And I they are all moms of girls, with no sons (I'm not saying ALL moms of girls are this way, but the moms in our neighborhood who have issues with the boys do not have sons of their own).
They are mostly well behaved out there - keeping to their friends, playing their games among those who are willing participants (picture 4 boys wearing capes and chasing each other/tackling each other in the front yard). They (and I'm talking about my sons and their 2 or 3 friends) sometimes do something they shouldn't, of course - like they were apparently playing spies and decided to creep around an elderly neighbors house looking in her windows . I heard about it and they were talked to and told not to do it and they haven't done that again. But there are a couple of neighbors, who have decided to ban their daughters from playing with my sons and other boys because their play is too violent (which seriously, it's not. They rarely if ever get hurt and the daughters in question have always wanted to play with them when they've played together) or the themes are bad, etc. Our front lawns all connect in the front because we have an alley for cars (so no driveways or natural barriers). Of course all the neighbor kids use the street as one big front lawn (there are about 12-14 kids on the street). My two sons were wrestling one day in front of a neighbors house and she came screaming out, yelling "I do not allow violent play on my property! Get off and do that somewhere else!" They were literally wrestling - not fighting - my oldest was on his stomach and my 4 year old was sitting on his back and they were BOTH laughing. There were no smaller kids around who could have gotten hurt or whatever. It was just normal play. I happened to be outside and heard the whole thing, and was so shocked by her anger that I just stood there. And this isn't the first time. There are two women who just openly say they don't let their daughters play with boys. Like they're going to damage their sweet angels.
I feel so angry, sad, protective of my sons - they are good, sweet kids who are polite (mostly) and thoughtful and all those good traits. They aren't little beasts who destroy and ravage everything in sight. And yet I feel like whenever they break into what appears to be normal, healthy boy play they get judgements and sometimes disciplined by other people. I should've said something to the neighbor, I know....and I feel guilty for not, but I hate conflict and well, she scared me a little bit.
I'm not so worried about the immediate situation - I know which neighbors appear to dislike boys and my sons have been told to stay out of their front yards. I'm more worried about the realization that there are a lot of people like that and I don't want my sons growing up in a world where they are made to feel bad for doing things they enjoy, that come naturally. I know there are some books on the subject and I'm going to read those...but I wanted to hear from other moms of sons who have dealt with this or know what i'm talking about.