Having had my son young-ish, I was often told when he’d act up, “Boys will be boys.” While I would look at them and reply that I like to run, jump, climb, and rough house too, they would imply that boys somehow do this differently than girls. I have an issue with this. I was reading a study recently that looked at how moms responded to their newly walking and newly crawling children. For the boys, they would sit back and watch before responding with assistance to an ever increasing inclined surface. For the girls, the moms would almost immediately go to help them. Our girls being more cautious is taught, not inherent.
I have always taken a wait and see approach with the kids. With Dude I would intervene a little sooner simply because he was my first, and I felt like I was being watched a lot more being young-ish. Ish. At a year and a half, I founded a club at my university that required a few meetings outside of the school, and one day at a coffee shop we went outside to let him run a bit while we talked. My friend implied that he had far too much energy. Certainly far more than her daughter and certainly more than the average child.
Later on in JK, Dude was given his ADHD check mark. Now that he’s 12, I really don’t know if he does have ADHD or was a bored, more intelligent, and unstimulated child. We introduced the Feingold diet with him, and we saw immediate results as far as self control, but we refused to put him on medication. Ritalin is artificial cocaine, and I have no desire to literally drug my child into submission.
Six years ago it was brought up again, does Dude need to go on meds to help him regulate his behaviour. Again, we refused. I sought the help of a friend who makes custom essential oil blends, and with that we were able to help him calm down and regulate his outbursts that much better. After all, hubby and I both have tempers, and we realize that growing into your emotions is all a part of growing up. You can’t just put a bandaid on a problem and expect it to go away.
Now that I have a 12 year old who is getting his work done, not disturbing the class, and shows no signs at all of having ADHD, I am quite certain that he never had it. As a kid completely uninterested in writing (he does have a writing disability but a huge vocabulary and excellent reading skills), he simply wanted to do something else, and not sit there to write.
The next hurdle will be teaching him consent. This is a big thing for us, and we start teaching the kids consent right away. You don’t want to hug so and so? No problem. They can wait until you say it’s okay. You don’t want so and so to pick you up, hold you, kiss you, put on your shoes. Fine. That’s your choice.
There is a problem in society that no one wants to talk about though. The boys will be boys turns into well she didn’t say no so I kept going. And the girls are taught to please, please, please so they are afraid to say no. This turns into sexual assault and rape by omission. There was a case a few years ago where a college girl was barely conscious and the boy advanced on her. She couldn’t say no, so it was ruled that she wasn’t raped. Uh, sorry, but he should have known not to assault her.
There is a new sexual education document being released in Ontario for children starting in grade one, and there is a huge issue with the parents right now about teaching consent. My stance is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching consent in grade one. It’s not consent to have sex. They don’t need to know about that yet, but they do need to know how to say no. Our girls especially need to know that it’s okay to tell anyone no, I don’t want you to do that, or that she doesn’t want to do something either. Girls are taught to please, and there are a lot of girls who feel pressured to show a boy their breasts for example and don’t say no because they’ll be the prude or what have you. This too needs to stop, and education can help with that.
I have a lot of issues with society that I cannot fix. What I can do is teach my girls to stand up for themselves, watch them take risks and let them fail. I can also teach my boy that if you ask and she says no, then that’s it, and teach my girls the same thing. Girls will be girls, and boys will be boys, but some day hopefully kids will be kids, and people will be people who treat each other with respect.