The trouble with "Boys will be boys"

I know a mother who laughs when she tells stories about taking her three sons to Target — watching them get into wrestling matches, hurl items through the store, and scream as they chase each other around the aisles.

 She has literally taken photos of this mayhem, posted them on Instagram, and hashtagged them with #boyswillbeboys.

Sure, she finds it embarrassing sometimes — when they get really over the top. But mostly, she accepts it as commonplace. They’re just being boys, you know?

 No. No. No. I have seen boys like this, at indoor playplaces, playdates, and playgrounds. I have seen the way their parents chuckle at their behaviour, or call out a lighthearted “Careful!” and then turn away again. I have had to intervene with a firm “No hitting, guys!” when my own kids are walloped — and I’ve seen the dirty looks from those parents.

 When friends of mine — who only have daughters — exclaim that my son is so gentle and polite, I’m proud of him. They go on to tell me horror stories about rough little boys terrorizing their daughters on playdates, knocking them down on purpose and grabbing toys from their hands — while their mothers shrug, laugh, and offer up a “Boys will be boys,” or “He’s such a boy.” This happens so often that girl-moms sometimes expect this kind of behaviour during a playdate with a little boy — and that’s not right.

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, “The Mom Scene” … 

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