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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am constantly thinking/worrying about how to raise Q so that he will not be trapped by our society's definition of a 'typical' or 'normal' male.

At first I focused on the exterior things: sports/trucks/cars/construction etc etc etc stuff and the ad nauseum "big boy" "strong" "tough" language that so many mothers I know use. These are all fine and dandy.

But just the other day, I realized that DS will reap *awesome* rewards by the simple fact that DH and I practice attachment parenting. (Not that girls won't reap rewards, too, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that APing is *especially* important for boys.)

The babywearing, the family bed, the extended nursing: they have all helped (and will continue to help) him forge a deep emotional (and physical, too, LOL) attachment. He hasn't been forced into early independence like so many other children. You know, the old saying about "cutting the apron strings". He has a deep and strong attachment to his mama and daddy!

The fact that his physical and emotional needs are met quickly of course helps him realize that these needs are VALID. And what better way to help a boy grow up to be emotionally open and secure than to acknowledge and VALUE his emotions from day one????

Like I said before, I think *ALL* babies, girls included, benefit from AP. But when I think about how our society expects men to keep their emotions hidden, that their feelings are not important, that they should be tough guys and not need to rely on anybody else and aloof and if they cry they will be ridiculed.... well, I think that the way DS is being parented will be a wonderful 'counter charm' to these spells.


What do you mamas think???
 

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I don't have any links right now and I can't articulate this very clearly, but here goes. I have read that some of the differences in the ways boys and girls are treated in our culture compared to many of the families here there are going to be more benefits to boys because they have a lot further to go.

You mentioned a couple- expressing emotions, forming attachments, but missed one of the biggies. Many boys are just not touched- not hugged or snuggled or kissed the the ways that even very mainstream parents touch thier girls- especially as preteens and teens.
 

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I never really thought about it that way, but I like the idea!
In parenting my son, I've worked very hard to keep things balanced that way; most of his toys are gender neutral (blocks) but he does have a "boy" toy and a "girl" toy. (We don't have lots of anything
).

I'd like to think that his strong attachment to Mamma and Dadda will foster a healthy emotional future. What a nice thought!
 

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Qtopia, I have thought a lot about this myself. I have a 3 year old son. He nursed until he was 2 years and 8 months old, and we are still co sleeping. I think that what Mallory said, about physical closeness, is really important for boys. My son wipes away all of my kisses, literally, he gives only a couple of hugs a day, and plays the "tough guy" all the time. At night in bed, this same child practically sleeps in my arms! I'm so glad we have that time to be close, because for whatever reason, he has already decided that the physical display of affection is not for him during is waking hours.
 

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Boys are more fragile than girls. Ashley Montagu wrote a book about it, The Natural Superiority of Women. In every way boys need more care, attention and nurturing than girls, especially very early.

It's a shame that our culture (and parents!) force them to become what they are not - a shadow of a real self built on a flase belief system.

Kudos to all AP mamas of boys - I hope my DD finds one when she is all grown up and ready to start a family of her own (when she's 50 of course)
 

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I read the book "Real Boys, protecting our sons from the myths of boyhood." Wonderful book by the way, and he talks a ton about the boy culture and how typically parents tend to distance themselves from their boys subconsciously at a young age to toughen them up and how that is so harmful. They hold them less, talk to them less, don't respond to their cries the same, and that is so sad. I also believe boys are more emotionally fragile, and in some ways need this more. So yes I think AP parenting is wonderful for counteracting this "boy code" that exists in our culture. I have a son who is naturally obsessed with trucks and has been and I let him have all the boy toys he wants, while also buying him a baby doll, and stuffed animals, which he loves as well. He may be my tough guy running around using pretend guns and screaming during the day, but when he comes to me and tells me "want hug; want kiss" and wraps his arms around me, or at night when he holds my hand as we fall asleep I know I am doing my part to counteract the "boy code."
 

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I don't think I would have known how to hold him less, ignore his cries or talk to him less than I did. Who looks at a 3 day old baby and thinks of toughening up this 7 pound human? (Or in our case, 9 pounds!) There is something wrong with that thinking, and I am just naive enough to find is hard to believe!
 

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teachma- I have read studies that even before birth boys get treated differently. Girl bellies get carresed more, boys get patted and generally touched much less. When the baby is moving if it is a boy he has quite a punch or a strong kick, while girls are more likely to be streching.

Like momatheart23 said this is a subconsious way many react to males or females.
 

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I've heard that stuff, Mallory, and I saw an excerpt from a study where they took the same baby and dressed (and I think it was a girl) her in pink and then in blue to see how adults responded differently to the baby.

It surprised me a little bit, because I don't behave that way (I decided against it while I was a Feminist in the second grade :LOL). At the time, I was bouncing my niece around, playing a "rough" sort of game with her that most people apparently would only consider reasonable with a boy.

I've gotten one comment that I remember about holding ds so much and talking to him and comforting him when he cries. My FIL said something about him "being a man" when he was a month or two old. I looked him in the eye and said, without a hint of a smile, that I had no desire to put hair on his chest just yet. He got the point and I have never heard anything about it from him since. Of course, I have it very easy because my ds is very happy, calm, and independant; I think if I had a screamer or a high-needs, "velcro style" baby I'd have a much more difficult time defending my parenting style, especially with a boy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thank you mamas for all the replies! i feel like i'm back in my college anthropology of gender class.


bloodrayne: LOOOOOVE the website. Have it bookmarked now. Cool!

teachma: how wonderful that you are still able to provide that affection for your DS under the cover of night as the case may be, thanks to the family bed! And I agree with what Mallory & eilonwy said: it is sad but true, but people immediately (i.e. pre-birth, even) and subconciously treat boys differently than girls. The gender stereotypes and expectations are just so ingrained in our culture.

luckylady: I'm going to have to get that book... it reminds me of Real Boys, he says similiar.

momatheart23: that Real Boys book is fabulous. I read it while I was pregnant and have been meaning to read it again. And what you said about your DS struck a chord with me: I think it's totally great that you let your son play with all the trucks he wants, but you also provide dolls and stuffed animals. What you are doing is right on, IMO. Give our boys OPTIONS that are equally enticing and respected, i.e. no one yells at DS to stop playing with the doll.

eilonwy: we, too, got comments when DS was very very young like the one your FIL made. ours were of the snide "mama's boy" variety.


rock on mamas!!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Qtopia
bloodrayne: LOOOOOVE the website. Have it bookmarked now. Cool!
I'm so glad you liked it.. I think it is a wonderful site, and I signed up to be notified of volunteer opportunities.

I cried as I read through it, for the things I had felt that were put into words finally. As much as Dan and I wanted a girl, I think we were meant to have a boy to be a part of the people changing the world for boys for better. He jokes and calls me a "man's libber" because it is one of my soapbox issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by bloodrayne
As much as Dan and I wanted a girl, I think we were meant to have a boy to be a part of the people changing the world for boys for better.
I feel exactly the same!! I had my heart set on a girl, to the point where the only reason I had an ultrasound was b/c I was worried that I would need time to get over my disappointment if we were having a boy. Which actually was pretty ridiculous b/c as soon as the tech told me it was a boy, this incredible feeling of *right* washed over me. I, too, feel like we were meant to have a boy to change the world for better.
 

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I know exactly what you mamas are saying. I wanted a girl at first but then have felt a calling in raising my son. My boss went to a psychic and asked if my baby I am carrying now was a girl, because I wanted one bad, and the psychic told her I see her getting what her heart truly desires, and I am having another boy. We want four kids total and I would like at least one daughter, but I also feel that my calling in life may be to raise a group of awesome men to fight the macho man code out there. It was so sweet last night we went out to dinner with my dad and brother and my son just kept wanting me to hug him all through dinner and asking for kisses, telling me he loved me. How is that for terrible twos and typical boys. So I just smile as he bashes his trucks together and wrestles with Daddy, knowing that he has a wonderful balance. Being a mom of boy challenges me more I feel than a daughter would have, because I know how to raise a girl, I am one and my mom did a awesome job, but raising a boy lets me see into what males go through, how they function and society's expectations of them and helps me empathize more with the men in my life.
 

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This is a neat thread.
I've since rejected the ideas taught in my college courses on gender--I do not believe that gender is mostly constructed and that we should strive for a gender-free society-- but acknowledge that we do push boys' emotions away far too much and too early.
AP is such an important part of shaping tomorrow's men. I do so want my boys to be capable of emotional intimacy with their future wives, and I want them to have the joy of being deeply involved with their children. I want then to feel affirmed as males even as they are tender-hearted and relationship-oriented.
I feel fortunate that both my father and DH are more cerebral/artistic types; this might help my sons feel accepted as men regardless of their particular strengths and abilities.
 

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Sparklemom, I've often thought about the fact that we could be raising each others' sons-and daughters-in-law. That's kind of an exciting feeling!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Qtopia
I feel exactly the same!! I had my heart set on a girl, to the point where the only reason I had an ultrasound was b/c I was worried that I would need time to get over my disappointment if we were having a boy.
I could have written this exact statement. But I'll have you know I caressed my belly til my arms got sore! and I was never happier than when I first fell in love with my son.


And yes, ds seems to have some genetic attraction to trucks, trains, planes, etc, that was not encouraged by us, his loving parents. I let him indulge those interests as he chooses. But I am MOST proud of him in my heart when his baby doll falls off the bed and and he says "Baby hurt. Bumped her head." and gives her a big kiss to make it all better.
 
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