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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, let me preface this by saying that I realize I'm talking in huge generalizations and that there are very calm, sensitive boys.

Also, I only have two girls so my perspective is skewed.

So, my question is, why does it seem that boys play so rough and don't respect boundaries?

My girls have several friends who are boys - some in the neighborhood, some at school. And, what I've observed is that boys are very comfortable continuing a behavior after someone has said they are hurt, or are crying or say they are uncomfortable in any way.

For example - playing chase/monster. It's fun for my kids for a while but then it gets too intense. They don't enjoy being backed into a corner and growled at. It's at that point they want to stop but, they boys don't seem to get that boundary. They continue on and on until someone is crying and even then, it takes me telling them to stop to get them to stop.

I've seen so many examples - the kids are playing ball and the boy swats the ball out of their hands. They pick it up only to have him do it again. This continues on with them asking him to stop, getting upset, frustrated and eventually crying and he still doesn't stop.

I see this with the boys we play with in the neighborhood and I've seen it with boys at their school. I see it with my own kids but, I also see it in the interactions boys have with girls in general at school.

I don't have super sensitive children. They like to play rough and tumble but, it's a struggle for them to play with boys when the boys don't respect their boundaries.

Again, I know this is a huge generalization but, I'm wondering how you guys handle things like this. I hate to constantly be involved in my children's play. I talk to them about how to handle these situations themselves but, when someone is repeatedly crossing a boundary you've set, what are your options?
 

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You know what I hate? How girls act like they want to play and sidle up to ds giggling and then the minute he chases them they act scared and run to the teachers and he gets in trouble. And then it happens all over again.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in general girls and boys generally have ways of playing that are undesirable. Our job as parents is to teach them how to respect others and protect others from our children when they get to be too much.
I think one trait boys have more commonly than girls is that they don't care as much about getting into trouble or generally making someone upset. But I think girls are just as prone to hurt others.
I know dealing with disrespectful play is frustrating and I definitely think boys should be taught to observe others' feelings and listen and perceive their own part in that. Perhaps it takes a bit more sometimes with some boys.
I remember being teased to tears and generally hurt by girls WAY more than boys when I was little though.
Why do girls manipulate and exclude from such a young age?
When you have children you realize the gender thing is little more out of your hands than you ever realized.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by plantmama View Post
You know what I hate? How girls act like they want to play and sidle up to ds giggling and then the minute he chases them they act scared and run to the teachers and he gets in trouble. And then it happens all over again.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in general girls and boys generally have ways of playing that are undesirable. Our job as parents is to teach them how to respect others and protect others from our children when they get to be too much.
I think one trait boys have more commonly than girls is that they don't care as much about getting into trouble or generally making someone upset. But I think girls are just as prone to hurt others.
I know dealing with disrespectful play is frustrating and I definitely think boys should be taught to observe others' feelings and listen and perceive their own part in that. Perhaps it takes a bit more sometimes with some boys.
I remember being teased to tears and generally hurt by girls WAY more than boys when I was little though.
Why do girls manipulate and exclude from such a young age?
When you have children you realize the gender thing is little more out of your hands than you ever realized.
Yeah that.

I do think boys sometimes have a harder time just knowing that someone isn't enjoying the game anymore. Sometimes it takes something very obvious (like crying) to let them know its time to stop. I'm teaching my boys to stop as soon as someone says stop, but sometimes I have to step in when I see the other kid getting frustrated and my boys aren't recognizing that.

Right now, my son is having some issues with a couple girls in his class. One laughs everytime he falls or gets hurt and the other has a huge crush on him and obviously doesn't know how to handle it and he doesn't like it.
 

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Well, the OP described my ds for sure. He doesn't understand how name calling can hurt since it isn't physical. Chase games do get too intense for him but since I'm usually around, I'll be "it" and we have a long standing freeze feature where kids can freeze me if I get too close for comfort. That way they can control the intensity.

The problem we would run into when ds was younger (4-5) was that girls would be mean (by being exclusionary, not letting ds on the play equipment). Then ds would whack them and it would be a huge issue that ds hit them as if they had nothing to do with it, never mind that the girls were blocking him from climbing on the play equipment. Sure he should "use his words" but that isn't how most boys react instinctively to hurt feelings.
 

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Yeah, I see this in my two boys (5 and 8) in their interactions with their (boy) friends and with each other - sometimes even with me. They just seem to have a really hard time getting that the fun has ended for someone.

My mantra is: "When someone tells you to stop doing something to their body you stop. The very first time they say it. Right away."

It's going to take some time, I think, and for sure some direct intervention from me and dh until then, but it's going to sink in, eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by plantmama View Post
You know what I hate? How girls act like they want to play and sidle up to ds giggling and then the minute he chases them they act scared and run to the teachers and he gets in trouble. And then it happens all over again.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in general girls and boys generally have ways of playing that are undesirable. Our job as parents is to teach them how to respect others and protect others from our children when they get to be too much.
I think one trait boys have more commonly than girls is that they don't care as much about getting into trouble or generally making someone upset. But I think girls are just as prone to hurt others.
I know dealing with disrespectful play is frustrating and I definitely think boys should be taught to observe others' feelings and listen and perceive their own part in that. Perhaps it takes a bit more sometimes with some boys.
I remember being teased to tears and generally hurt by girls WAY more than boys when I was little though.
Why do girls manipulate and exclude from such a young age?
When you have children you realize the gender thing is little more out of your hands than you ever realized.
Yikes...I knew when I posted this someone was going to get really defensive. It wasn't my intention to slam boys - I know neither boys nor girls are perfect and I wasn't implying that girls are better than boys.

I was just curious about the lack of respect for physical boundaries I see in boys.

Sure, we could name off all the negative traits boys have and girls have but, that wasn't my intention in posting this. I was just curious about how to handle play situations where boys don't seem to understand when whatever is playing isn't fun anymore. This particular situation I haven't seen in their play with other girls. Sure, I've seen other issues, but not this particular one.

But, I do think you're right that maybe boys don't really care as much about the consequences of crossing the boundaries. For girls, it's more emotionally impacting for them to "get in trouble". Getting in trouble doesn't seem to be as big a deal to boys maybe?
 

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I've noticed, gender aside, that kids in general have a hard time stopping when someone else isn't having fun anymore. My boys tend to play a bit more roughly, so it's a bit more apparent when the boys are pushing boundaries. But the girls do it too.

As an example from my own household in the last day- the boys were roughhousing and one boy decided he wanted to be done. But the other boy wanted to keep wrestling. The result? One child pinned to the ground and upset. Yesterday, the girls were playing 'school' and one girl wanted to be done while the other wanted to keep playing. The result? DD1 bossing DD2 around and telling her what to do (while using some not-so-polite words), which understandably upset DD2. So it's something that both the boys and girls stuggle with, but it's easier to visually SEE when it happens with the boys because of the more physical nature of their play.

We do talk a lot about respecting other people's boundaries and being respectful. But for any child, it takes a lot of repetition and practice before they are able to truly put themselves in the other child's position and act accordingly.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by amcal View Post
I was just curious about the lack of respect for physical boundaries I see in boys.
I do understand what you're talking about, because in general I do notice the same thing. But I think that (again, in general) girls tend to have a lack of respect for emotional boundaries. Even at a young age (preschool!), I see boys hurting each other physically and girls hurting each other emotionally when they are upset.

Quote:
But, I do think you're right that maybe boys don't really care as much about the consequences of crossing the boundaries. For girls, it's more emotionally impacting for them to "get in trouble". Getting in trouble doesn't seem to be as big a deal to boys maybe?
I haven't noticed this phenomenon.
 

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Michelle, I agree that there are huge generalizations we could make on both sides of the gender issue. I think much depends not only on the child but on the environment (school/ large groups/playground) and the circumstances (child is tired, feeling left out of play?) I admit I supervise my sons play more closely than I do my daughters because ds is more active and more prone to getting really excited. I have also seen him be very sweet and caring when someone does get hurt or feel bad.

Maybe setting up a plan with your dd's regarding what to do when play gets out of hand. Help them learn some coping skills and ways to set that boundary. They will likely need those skills with both genders eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I feel like I'm not explaining myself well and I just really want everyone to know that I'm not slamming boys. I have a step son, I have nephews that I adore but, even my 16 year old step son and my 12 year old nephew engage in the behavior I'm talking about. They just don't seem to understand the cues that the play has gone too far.

I absolutely agree that there are again, very generalized, traits that girls more often have like emotional boundary crossing. I definitely see that as well.

Again, I know that we could go on and on about all the negative traits each gender generally possesses but, that wasn't the point of my post. The point also wasn't to slam boys. It was simply to discuss this one aspect of boyhood that I see over and over.

Mom4tot - we do that. I talk with my kids all the time about setting boundaries and what to do when someone crosses your boundary but, it's hard when you're being physically cornered by a boy who is growling at you or when you're trying to use your words or trying to walk about but you are physically unable to because the boy thinks you're still playing and hasn't gotten the cue that the game is no longer fun.
 

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...and boys are impacted by emotional bullying from girls too.

My 3.5 yo last night said A.wasn't friends with him because she plays with someone else and won't play with him. He notices exclusion at this young age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by klt View Post
...and boys are impacted by emotional bullying from girls too.

My 3.5 yo last night said A.wasn't friends with him because she plays with someone else and won't play with him. He notices exclusion at this young age.
I know this. If you read through my posts you will see that I wasn't saying girls are perfect.

Really, there doesn't need to be this tit for tat. Neither gender is perfect. I get that, I've said that. I'm talking about this one behavior of SOME boys seeming to not understand when they are crossing physical boundaries.
 

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So you are looking for specific ways to help the situation. You want to know how best (certain) boys will respond to ways your girls will say 'no I don't want to play that way'.
?

I don't have any answers
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by amcal View Post
Again, I know that we could go on and on about all the negative traits each gender generally possesses but, that wasn't the point of my post. The point also wasn't to slam boys. It was simply to discuss this one aspect of boyhood that I see over and over.
I do understand what you're saying. But what I'm saying is that children of BOTH genders have trouble with respecting boundaries. With active boys, that manifests as overstepping physical boundaries. With less active girls, that manifests as overstepping emotional boundaries.

Regardless of whether it's physical or emotional boundaries that are being crossed, my advice to my kids is usually the same: "if you're having a hard time dealing with something, or if your playmates are ignoring your plainly stated wishes, take yourself out of the situation."

**

I just had another thought: one reason that MY boys are more likely to ignore other people's wishes when roughhousing is because saying, "no! stop!" is sometimes part of the play. My DS2 is notoriously bad about this. He loves wrestling and playing physically. He often will tell the other person to stop, that he wants to be done playing (especially if he feels he is at a disadvantage in the playing). What happens is that the other child stops, and then DS2 immediatly reengages and starts the physical play again, trying to gain the advantage. So for DS2, "stop" doesn't always mean "stop." Sometimes it means that he wants a do-over. It can be hard for other children to know if DS really wants to be done playing or if DS is just saying "stop" in an attempt to gain the upper hand.
 

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I think many parents let that kind of behavior slide with the excuse that "boys will be boys." It's even actively encouraged sometimes. My son is one who does NOT like rough play and has had other parents on the playground call him a "wuss" or "mama's boy" because of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ann, I completely agree and have said that both genders engage in boundary crossing. I'm just wanting to discuss boys and crossing physical boundaries because that's what my children are dealing with. Certainly if girls crossing boundaries is an issue for you or anyone else, a separate thread would be appropriate. And, I can tell you if you posted a thread about girls crossing emotional boundaries, I would not post in indignant response about how boys cross all sorts of boundaries too (not saying you did this, just saying this was done on this thread and I don't quite understand the purpose)

Dawn - I guess, yes, I'm sort of looking for ways to help my kids deal with this. We talk about using your words, being firm in your tone, walking away etc.... but, boys are typically physically stronger (I know, I know, again I'm generalizing) and they physically over power girls. Not in an aggressive way but more in a "I'm still playing even if you aren't" sort of way.
 

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My solution to this sort of problem is to be very present and hands on when the play starts to spiral downwards. I'm not sure the mother of typical girls or less active boys are as used to having to be completely *there*, not chatting with the other moms or knitting or whatnot. I really don't mean that to sound snarky and it is only in the past year or so that I can somewhat reliably be more removed from the play. I do still need to keep an ear cocked and be ready to redirect the play, usually by starting a chase game so that I'm "it" and all the kids can be on a team together (no enemies).

IME, boys like my ds don't stop when someone says so. He simply can't change gears that fast. He needs help to do so either by having me enter the play and guiding it somewhat, or being relocated (going outside if we're in, inside if we are out, car ride, etc). Pulling out a snack can work for most kids, too (not mine, though, he doesn't care much about food when he is wound up).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
My solution to this sort of problem is to be very present and hands on when the play starts to spiral downwards. I'm not sure the mother of typical girls or less active boys are as used to having to be completely *there*, not chatting with the other moms or knitting or whatnot. I really don't mean that to sound snarky and it is only in the past year or so that I can somewhat reliably be more removed from the play.
Not snarky at all! If only more moms were completely *there* when things get rough!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by amcal View Post
I feel like I'm not explaining myself well and I just really want everyone to know that I'm not slamming boys. I have a step son, I have nephews that I adore but, even my 16 year old step son and my 12 year old nephew engage in the behavior I'm talking about. They just don't seem to understand the cues that the play has gone too far.
I believe that in that case, its more a fact of not being taught earlier to respect the wishes of those they are playing with.

And we have to take into account that some parents honestly believe that their sons need to be rough and tumble and ignore their own unease or pain because it's not 'manly' to be hurt emotionally or physically.
 

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I struggle with this myself.
My ds has trouble stopping when someone asks. He gets overstimulated easily.
Because of this, I watch him and try to intervene. I also talk to him endlessly about it, I think eventually it'll sink in.

Luckily the girls he plays with are older, and generally more aggressive than he is. They have no qualms about putting him in his place!
 
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