Tags Posts tagged with "boys"

boys

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I think as moms we all have this idea of how “the talk” will go, or how we will handle sensitive questions that our children throw at us… but the moment almost never goes as planned, because usually the moment is totally unpredictable and happens when we least expect it!! Such was the case when my 9-year-old son asked me about periods last week.

 

 

 

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I honestly wasn’t ready for this talk with him! I have two teenage daughters who I literally sat down when they were 8 or 9 and very carefully explained everything to them. I planned for it. I bought books and everything! Maybe it was easier for me because they were girls? I was a girl, so I felt like I could relate to them! But when my SON came to me one evening while I was working and told me my 17-year-old daughter told him “girls have something happen to them every month that hurts and makes them grouchy”, I kind of went into panic mode.  This is how the conversation went:

My son: “I want to know EVERYTHING, mom”

Me: “Are you… sure?” (Kid, this is your escape. Run for the hills!)

Son: “Yes. Everything.”

Me: Deep breath and silent prayers…”Uhh, ok”

“Well, as you know, girls and boys have different body parts, right?”

Son: “Yeah! I have a penis!!”

Me: “Right…well, girls have other parts that help them carry a baby inside their body.”

Son: “Like, their stomach right? I have a stomach too.”

Me: “No, babies don’t grow inside stomachs. They grow inside a ladies uterus, which is like a pouch down here” (motions where it is)

Son: “Ohhh, like a sack?! I have one of those too!”

Me: (heaven help me) “Well, actually this is on the inside of a woman’s body, down here (motions to where it is) And every month it gets ready in case a baby starts growing there. It gets really soft and comfortable and pillowy, the perfect place for a baby!”

At this point my son is completely intrigued. He looks as if someone just handed him 10 packs of Pokeman cards. And I’m patting myself on the back because I’m totally rocking this talk! Everything is going so smoothly…

I continue: “So, if a lady doesn’t get pregnant that month (please don’t ask me how she gets pregnant or I’ll poke my eyes out) her body gets rid of the old stuff in her uterus and it starts all over again”

My son: “Cool, ok, so how does she get rid of the old stuff?”

Me: “Well, that’s a period! It comes out as blood and stuff, from her vagina. She bleeds.”

My son’s expression instantly changes from intrigue to horror (I caught the moment with a photo. See below)

 

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Me: (nervous laugh) Yep, so that’s a period. Aren’t bodies amazing?!! And sometimes it hurts and sometimes it makes girls a little grouchy. And that’s why we buy lots of pads and tampons around here…

Son: “Oh my gosh!” (makes connection) “the pads and tampons catch the BLOOD?!!”

He looks equally disgusted and mesmerized at the same time.

Me: “Well, yes. But even though women don’t like getting their periods, they are very grateful that their bodies can grow babies. Women’s bodies are beautiful and sacred and special.”

Son: “Well, that’s for sure”

This is where I felt like I might cry a little…

Me: “So, how are you feeling about this??”

Son: “Well, I actually feel really grateful that I am a boy right now. And I have something I would like to say to the girls…”

I wasn’t expecting what happened next.

He ran upstairs, found his sisters, and very sincerely and seriously said “Girls, I AM SO SORRY! I am so sorry you have to have periods every month for like 3 or 5 days, and I understand why sometimes you don’t want to talk to me.”

They giggled and laughed, but he was super serious about it, and it was slightly adorable.

Our talk may have been a little awkward, a little unpredictable, and a little messy, but we survived, and it went ok. I don’t know that there is a “right” way to have these talks, because every child and every parent is different. I think the important thing is to know that they will happen so prepare yourself as much as possible! And be sincere about it when they do happen. Talk to your child on their level, using ideas that they can understand and relate to.

The best part is watching my son revel in this new found information. He has a little more confidence now, like he’s discovered a hidden level on a video game. It’s cute, and he’s totally diggin’ it. I also love that it taught him compassion and respect.

And now this mama can breathe for a while…until he wants to know EVERYTHING about how babies are made…

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Target recently announced on it’s website Friday that it will be removing all gender specific signs from most of it’s children’s departments after receiving multiple complaints.

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently customers are mostly complaining that toys should not be gender specific, and there is a general push to move away from the mentality that certain toys are only for girls or boys. The children’s bedding section at Target will no longer feature boy and girl signage, and the toy department will no longer have gender specific labels or pink/blue paper on the shelves.  Target says that gender labels will have to remain in the kids’ clothing section because of sizing and fit differences.

“As guests have pointed out, in some departments like toys, home or entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary,” Target said. “We heard you, and we agree. Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance.”

Retailers in general are moving away from gender stereotypes, and many companies are working hard to lessen the divide.  Some schools are also steering away from boy/girl stereotypes by changing their language in the classroom.

What are your thoughts?  Do you feel this is a necessary change? 

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There are many girls that enjoy some superhero with their princesses,  and if this describes your child, you may be excited to learn that DC Super Hero Girls, which is a collaboration among DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Mattel, is planning on launching an entire line this fall geared towards girls.  The line will include Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Bumble Bee, Poison Ivy and Katana in their teen years.  Look out for action figures, clothes, books, and videos based on these characters.

The new line will feature “storytelling that helps build character and confidence and empowers girls to discover their true potential,” says DC Entertainment in a press release. “Each character has her own story line that explores what teen life is like as a Super Hero, including discovering her unique abilities, nurturing her remarkable powers and mastering the fundamentals of being a hero.”

Reactions have been mixed.  Superheros have always been primarily seen as “boy toys” even being segregated in to the boys section of most toy stores.  Many parents are pleased with the refreshing line which encourages girls to experience the superhero world, while some are annoyed that this is only furthering the gender stereotype by gearing it to “girls only.”

“Targeting them as ‘for girls only’ is just another way to be exclusive,” says writer Jenna Busch on female-focused sci-fi site Legion of Leia . “Look, I appreciate the effort, but drawing yet another line between men and women is not the way to go. So, where are you going to put these products in Target? On the pink side of the toy section or the blue side?”

I have to agree with Jenna.  I believe toys need to stop being labeled as “boy” and “girl”. Gender defined aisles at the store can make some boys and girls feel embarrassed if they have a desire to play with a toy that is not in their “gender assigned” section.  Girls should be comfortable playing with superheros and Legos if they choose, and boys shouldn’t be uncomfortable if they want a doll or craft kit.

What are your thoughts?  Is this new line just creating a larger gap between gender lines by pushing more “exclusivity”, or is it a good start?

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Swedish illustrator and cartoonist Linnéa Johansson decided to use her talents for a different purpose when her three-year-old son tried to convince himself to stop crying.  “Superheroes don’t cry,” he had told her.

At that moment she was inspired to change her son’s perception of gender roles by creating a ‘special’ superhero coloring book.

 

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The book captures superheroes doing what we see many men and dads doing today, baking cookies, dancing, wearing baby carriers and potty training with their kids.  It’s a great lesson for boys that being a man isn’t just about being rough-and-tumble, it’s also about being compassionate, nurturing and loving.  It’s an important lesson to teach boys that it’s ok to be in touch with their feelings.  It’s ok to cry.

 

“Boys learn from their role models to act tough and aggressive and that showing vulnerability or emotion is equivalent to being weak or ‘being a girl’ (which is considered an insult in today’s society),” Johansson wrote on her blog. “They are taught through these role models to ‘man up’ and that ‘boys don’t cry.’ Girls on the other hand learn early on that their greatest asset is to be beautiful….I had to take action.”

Johansson is also working on a book for girls to help combat girl stereotypes!

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I have a son that just turned eight, and I feel like we are at an awkward stage when it comes to public restrooms.  I also have two daughters, and when we are out and about and someone has to use the bathroom, we all file in to the restroom together.  When my son was younger, no one would look twice when I brought him in with us.  I don’t feel like women particularly care now either, but he is definitely becoming more aware of gender etiquette and I feel it is starting to become uncomfortable for him.  Unfortunately, I am still not comfortable with the idea of him being alone in a male restroom at this age either!

So, the question is, how old is too old for young boys to be using female restrooms?

Recently a photograph of a sign started making it’s way around social media.  It was placed in a public facility and asks that all boys over the age of 6 use the male restroom.  It’s not a demand, and they are asking nicely, but to be honest, I would still take my son in with me.  Am I the only one who does this?

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IMAGE SOURCE: OKLAHOMA CITY MOMS BLOG VIA FACEBOOK

Many malls and public venues now offer family restrooms which is wonderful because it takes the guesswork out of everything!  However, there just aren’t enough of them.  It was very awkward when my husband would take our girls out by himself because he would have to take them in to the men’s room.  This is something he avoided like the plague!  Another issue?  What if Dad needs to change a diaper?  Men’s rooms rarely (if ever) offer the convenience of a changing table!

Share your thoughts! How do you handle it in your family, and what age do you feel it’s appropriate for boys to stop using the female restroom?