Time Magazine Cover Article "The Myth About Boys" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 08-04-2007, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...7452-1,00.html

Great read for those of us raising boys! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

"We shape the clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want" Lao Tzu
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#2 of 15 Old 08-04-2007, 10:16 PM
 
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Great article (as a mom of 3 boys!)! Some of that really hit home with me -- the de-valuing that can go on with boys. I have 3 boys and CONSTANTLY get comments about what a saint I must be, how full my hands are, etc. etc. etc. almost always with a negative connotation. I start to take offense after awhile -- these are wonderful, special little people to me, why in the world would I wish for anyone else?????

Thanks for sharing!
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#3 of 15 Old 08-05-2007, 02:04 PM
 
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I really liked this article as well. So much of the hysteria about how our society is failing boys...I'm glad to see it's not so dire. I love my two boys, and I'm so glad for their "boyness!" I also teach middle school, and I think many of my favorite students are boys who just seem to be shining with life, activity, and energy. It is sad, though, that in our city a boy who needs a mentor has an average wait time of three years! I'd like to see a stronger adult male presence in the lives of many boys.
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#4 of 15 Old 08-05-2007, 02:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by giggleball View Post
Great article (as a mom of 3 boys!)! Some of that really hit home with me -- the de-valuing that can go on with boys. I have 3 boys and CONSTANTLY get comments about what a saint I must be, how full my hands are, etc. etc. etc. almost always with a negative connotation. I start to take offense after awhile -- these are wonderful, special little people to me, why in the world would I wish for anyone else?????

Thanks for sharing!
I agree. I have two boys that are night and day, but are so wonderful and amazing.

I will say, though, that one of the reasons I pulled my oldest out of school was because of the "girl standard". Kindergarten and first grade had a LOT more seatwork than when I was a kid, and my oldest was coming home constantly with a card pulled for squirming or talking. It was just hard for him to sit still that long, listen to presentations, and maybe have a chance to do something himself. Taking him out and giving him a more hands on education was the best thing ever for him. My child who couldn't concentrate on anything was blooming and becoming more independent. I am so glad we made this decision.
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#5 of 15 Old 08-05-2007, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree. I have two boys that are night and day, but are so wonderful and amazing.

I will say, though, that one of the reasons I pulled my oldest out of school was because of the "girl standard". Kindergarten and first grade had a LOT more seatwork than when I was a kid, and my oldest was coming home constantly with a card pulled for squirming or talking. It was just hard for him to sit still that long, listen to presentations, and maybe have a chance to do something himself. Taking him out and giving him a more hands on education was the best thing ever for him. My child who couldn't concentrate on anything was blooming and becoming more independent. I am so glad we made this decision.
I think one thing the article could have said more bluntly is that its the school system with the problem, not boys, just like it was the school system that was holding girls back years ago.

I still do worry about the "girl standard" in schools which is why we're hoping to send ds to an experiential learning charter school.

"We shape the clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want" Lao Tzu
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#6 of 15 Old 08-05-2007, 09:18 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing the article, I enjoyed it.

I'm not too worried about my 2 boys, but I do wonder sometimes about how they will be treated by teachers and schools.

I also notice when parents treat their children differently -- when the daughter can hit the son, but if the son touches the daughter he gets the sternness.

I'm glad to hear any positive news. I've also made a note of the camp featured. It looks like fun.
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#7 of 15 Old 08-05-2007, 10:19 PM
 
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3 boys, and I hear that ALLLLL the time. It IS hard to have 3 children, but I'm sure having 3 girls would be equally difficult, albeit from different angles. I do have serious issues with the "girl standard" in public schools, and I noticed in K last year that he had some difficulty with the amount of seat time.
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#8 of 15 Old 08-05-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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When my son went to school we ran into the "blame the boy" issue. In first grade he had a "girl friend". Some of the behaviors were inappropriate and we did work on him about those behaviors. But we had issues because they held hands but there were no problems with two girls holding hands. On of the final straws was the day I walked in and the teacher says "You won't believe what Xavier did today." I was like OMG what did he do now. She told me he got this little girl to get out of her desk and give him a kiss. I told her if his butt was in his chair the entire time it was HER fault. Come to find out the teacher only called/talked to this little girls mom two times.

This school also has issues with suspending boys for sexual harrassment. When both children's behaviors were wrong and both children need to be dicipline. (The vice-principle is homeschooling her 12year old step-son because of this issue.) Some of the stuff that has happen with him made her open her own eyes to her own prejudist. One situation was with a girl. Her step-son got punished for sexual harrassment come to find out this girl had said sexual harrassment many times. All the situations that she could find out about the girl was just as guilty of poor behavior as the boys. One of the situations she flashed the boy and he touch her. The reason because she thought it was funny to see the guys expression. (Not saying him touching her was OK but her flashing him isn't either). One of the last situations she told the guy to undo her bra he could have it. This girl needed dicipline and help. She gave another guy her panties....and he touched her bottom. IMO, cries for help completely ignored by focusing the wrong behavior on one party.

She made a comment that has been an uphill battle to get people to see their own prejudist. She is trying to get teachers to handle situations differently and more fairly. How some actions make some kids feel blamed or showing preferance for the other child (it isn't just gender). How that many times the situations taht are popping up there isn't just one person at fault. Many times it is fault of lack of supervission and modeling of good right behavior. That just suspending isn't teaching the kids how to behave. That to really teach them to behave it is more effective to have the kids role play (re-play) the situation and teach better interaction. This doesn't mean no suspension but a lot more work and interaction with the kids.
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#9 of 15 Old 08-05-2007, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wonder if the largest problem is that there is a lack of male teachers in schools. When almost all teachers and the administration are women I think you get a culture that favors girls' without even realizing they are.

"We shape the clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want" Lao Tzu
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#10 of 15 Old 08-06-2007, 03:20 AM
 
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I liked the article! My pet peeve is comments like "are you trying for a girl next time?" It's extremely offensive to me, like somehow if we have another boy we will be *so disappointed*. :

Mommy to THREE sweet boys & ONE sweet girl + a newb due in February!  I need a nap. 
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#11 of 15 Old 08-06-2007, 04:14 PM
 
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I wonder if the largest problem is that there is a lack of male teachers in schools. When almost all teachers and the administration are women I think you get a culture that favors girls' without even realizing they are.
My elementary school had all female teachers except in sixth grade, which was taught by two men and one woman, with each of them teaching certain subjects so that all students had all the teachers. It was suddenly a very different environment in sixth grade, without changing buildings: We did a wider variety of projects, particularly more building of 3-D things and things that actually worked, like an electrical circuit. There was more emphasis on each individual finding our own approach to an assignment and having to present and defend it to the class. We didn't have as many of the petty little "discipline problems" as before, and when we did the teachers tended to deal with the offender themselves, right away and in front of the class, instead of sending him to the principal (a man, who was rarely seen or mentioned except that "bad" kids got sent to him). I'm sure some of this had to do with the individual teachers' style and their often-mentioned intention to prepare us for success in junior high and beyond...but I think part of the difference was that the previous grades were run by women, most of them middle-aged mainstream types who placed a high value on things being "nice" and were not very tolerant of people different from themselves--which is not JUST a gender thing, but it was in general harder on boys than girls.

There have been so many programs to recruit women into traditionally male professions. I think it's about time for some in the other direction! I mean, we now have SHORTAGES in traditionally female professions (teaching, nursing, childcare) in many parts of the country, partly because women now have so many other options. Where are the programs grooming boys to be nurturers??

One thing that bugs me about this article is the way it talks about college education as if we SHOULD require college degrees for firefighters, etc., in order to get men to finish college. College is a great thing for many people, but it's not for everyone, IMO, and if slightly more women than men decide that completing a degree is the right thing for them, I have no problem with that.

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#12 of 15 Old 08-06-2007, 04:44 PM
 
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P.S. I am unlikely to pull my son out of school because of the "girl standard" unless he's having really serious problems, and here's why: My mother went to a women's college, and I grew up hearing how liberating and wonderful it was for her to be in an all-female environment where she could speak her mind and be taken seriously. I seriously considered going to that college, but I also was accepted to a 70% male university which had a much stronger program in my intended major, and I decided to go there. My mother gave me lots of warnings about how I would have to fight for my rights and speak up and constantly be on guard against sexism. This turned out not to be true: Nobody was trying to oppress me, and in fact the relative rareness of women meant that my perspective was sought out in many discussions. (A lot of this has to do with the changes in sex roles and valuing of diversity from the 1960s to the 1990s! I am very much aware of and grateful for the feminists who blazed this trail for me.) I did find that I was being held to a "man standard" in many ways, but that wasn't a bad thing! Learning to think like a man, to understand how men operate, has been very useful, in college, in my career, in my friendships with men, and in romantic relationships. As I heard more from my mother about her experiences in grad school and career (both co-ed environments), I realized that she was in fact hampered by the belief that she could be taken seriously only in an all-female environment; it didn't prepare her for a world with men in it! So, while my ideal is for my son's school to be non-sexist and foster the potential of every child, if he winds up in a "girl standard" environment I don't think it's automatically cause for panic. Being a little out of step with the standard may give him the opportunity to stretch himself and to understand girls better.

That said, I have a relatively calm, focused boy. If he were a very kinetic type and that caused him problems in school, I'd look for a different type of school--but that would be true if he were a girl, too!

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#13 of 15 Old 08-06-2007, 09:22 PM
 
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So, I talked to my friend yesterday and she is sending her son to the camp mentioned in the article. I will let you all know -- he goes in a couple of weeks.

I agree that we need more good male teachers!!!! And I HATED when I was pregnant w/ our 3rd boy people who would say "Oh, I am sorry he is not a girl." My response EVERY time was "why would I be sorry to have a healthy child????" :
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#14 of 15 Old 08-06-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
When my son went to school we ran into the "blame the boy" issue. .....

This school also has issues with suspending boys for sexual harrassment. When both children's behaviors were wrong and both children need to be dicipline. .
Oh, God help me, I wasn't even thinking about that but you bring up a very good point. I'm very concerned about this kind of thing, and I think it's very real and happens in many schools.
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#15 of 15 Old 08-07-2007, 05:01 PM
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I enjoyed the article. It was interesting and made some great points about boys being allowed to explore.

That said, I did not get from the article that we shouldn't still worry that boys are getting ignored. On the contrary, the article seemed to support all the data that boys are in trouble.

What it did say, that I agreed with
- is that boys are getting more help but are still in trouble
- it seems like this is a problem or issue that has occurred and gotten people worried over centuries
- there is a chance that some of the past studies and attitudes are working towards helping todays boys

Basically, I think the writer went around his/her ass to get to their elbow and didn't say too much that we didn't already know.....

Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby. 
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