Your sweetness was your strength, your strength sweetness
That drew all men and made reluctant hands
Rest long upon your shoulder.
Firm, but never proud…
It was, like victory rising from defeat,
The world made well again and strong—and sweet.
If we’re lucky, the sweet boys and the fierce girls will grow up to save us all.
No matter what no parent wants to make a difference between their children while growing up and during their upbringing, every child merely develops differently depending on the gender and personal characteristics. The individual development is often incompatible with neatly within gender lines, but we can’t ignore the influence of hormones. Anyway, there are things I would like someone had been told me before I gave birth to children of different sex.
Table of Contents
How to Raise a Daughter
Well, I don’t know about you, but I find it necessary to try to calm down my sweet little warrior girl from time to time. Otherwise, she would blow the house up! That doesn’t imply that I want to quench her personality or to block her interests. I call that – parental guidance. Without that, I assume that my dear female child would sleep in the dog’s kennel, eat mice my cats regularly bring on the doorstep, and walk around dirty, smelly, and overgrown in the bush of her hair.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I find it necessary to try to calm down my sweet little warrior girl from time to time. On the contrary, she will blow the house up! That doesn’t imply that I want to quench her personality or to block her interests. I call that – parental guidance. Without that, I assume that my dear child would sleep in the dog’s kennel, eat mice my cats regularly bring on the doorstep, and walk around dirty, smelly, and overgrown in the bush of hair.
Princess vs. Warrior
Like we that or not, we still live in the ‘male’s world’ and the way how to raise a good daughter is not always clean and simple. Ideas of feminism are stronger than ever, but there are actually two opposite parental attitudes. Some moms raise princesses, and another chooses to make them warriors.
Well, I am a medium-solutions supporter. I would like my daughter find a balance and become a beautiful, kind young woman who will become confident and thrive in the career she chooses. I don’t know if I will be successful in doing this, but I will try to do the ‘mother’s job’ in the best way I can. It is my way.
1 – I enjoy her imperfection
I am not perfect and can’t have such a request for my little girl. A few times in my life I got the best things only after I had managed to screw up everything before that. Therefore I believe that making mistakes is not a disaster but the way my girl can build her confidence. One more thing! Whenever she fails, I have a strong desire to fix the problem for her. Then I say to myself that the best help I can give to her is to let her solve the problem by herself.
Although it seems to me that she is just a helpless child, it is not really that way. Children are resilient and able to cope with life. It is only up to us to create good foundations for them on which they can build their future. If these bases are suitable, any delaying because of a few ‘bricks’ collapses’ won’t bother them at all.
2 – My daughter deserves a good role model
It is not true that a strong woman should be ugly dressed up, neglected, and without makeup. Also, carrying excessive red lipstick and dizzying high heels are not synonyms for a successful woman. I would like to see my daughter elegant and ambitious, how successfully finishes her job after making a hairstyle.
Well, she can’t become like that if I spend my day in a torn and worn gym suit. Also, my daughter knows that I can drive a truck, knock on the nail, and bake the best cakes in the world if necessary. This picture is her foundation. I firmly believe that I have the right to demand something only if I can do the same.
None of us has the right to force the child to realize ambitions that we didn’t know or didn’t dare to achieve on our own. Of course, the fact that I graduated from three faculties doesn’t mean that she must do the same. But, she certainly has a good example. I think this is enough for a start.
3 – My daughter needs support and the freedom to find her own way
When I want to teach my little girl something, I always start with how I felt when my parents behaved harshly and rude, and when they were not ready to hug me and comfort me when I was hurt and sad.
Well, who can know more than me how hard it is to become successful and to find the strength to believe that I am worth enough for someone to love me. I don’t want my daughter needs to build her base alone as I had to. But, that doesn’t mean that I want to fight her battles. The point is that my child knows that she has a mom she can rely on, but that she needs to fight for her dreams come true by her own.
4 – My daughter has no reason not to be proud of whom she is
I believe that you, like me, don’t want to raise insecure and vain beauty who won’t handle her life on her own. I wish my girl is aware that she is beautiful and pretty, but that it is not the only thing she’s got. She is smart and talented little girl who needs to discover her potential through her life and to use it on the appropriate way. Nothing more – nothing less.
I am aware that my role is to give her best guidelines I can to foster her confidence. And, yes, I know it sounds like a cliché, but the only way I know that wholly and always works is that I love her unconditionally, to support her when she decides to accomplish something and to hug her if she doesn’t succeed. And, of course, I need to show her that failure is only the first step toward success.
How to Raise a Son
Every mother who has children of different genders knows that raising them represents two entirely different stories. When I got a girl, I was the happiest mom in the world who spent time combing my little beauty, tying her strips and hairpins, making a collection of necklaces and bracelets, and so on. As time passed, we spent more and more time selecting shoes and combining them with colorful dresses and flower hats. Everything was smooth and familiar. But, then HE came – My beautiful son.
While he was a baby, dealing with him wasn’t much different from raising his older sister. But then he started to walk, and things began to be new and unrecognizable. Some parents believe it is the same whether they are raising a little girl or a boy forgetting how different they are physical, mentally, and with different interests and preferences. Gender equality implies equal respect for both sexes, but I can’t ignore the fundamental differences between my daughter and my son. In order to raise two healthy, progressive and happy babies, I have had to make some variations in approach.
How to Raise a Boy to Be an Officer and a Gentleman
I once read that it is pretty hard to raise a sweet son in the world full of angry men. It has sense, you know. It seems that so many aggressive and bad-tempered men walk among us. In the entirely upside-down world, I want my son becomes a decent human being who will respect other people, love women, and try to be the honest and successful man.
1 – My son deserves the right to tears
I have to admit that I don’t like whiny and weepy boys, but that doesn’t mean that I should convince my son that ‘real’ men don’t cry. Oh, yes, dominant, masculine, and successful men can cry when sorrow is too intense. Maybe they don’t do it as often as girls thanks to testosterone or their nature, but showing emotions is no shame.
For some reason, today’s parents try so hard to raise strong and powerful girls and somehow forget to explain to their sons that it is equally OK to be self-confident and sensitive at the same time. It seems that parents behave as if it is assumed that old prejudices for boys should continue to exist while the world around them changes inexorably.
2 – My son doesn’t stop moving
When your first child (like mine) is a daughter, you won’t be ready for all that chasing, scuttling, jumping, running, bouncing, and so much energy power. Even though he is ‘calmer’ child in the family, I feel from time to time that my little son run around the house 24/7 without any single sign of tiredness.
Yes, he spends time reading and playing with his cars and doesn’t climb trees like his sister, but he doesn’t sit down either. Everything he does, he has to do on standing or running in three tempos – fast, faster, the speed of light. Unbelievably, but he can read a book while running around his room! That means that my assignment as a mom is to find every possible way to beam all that energy in the useful direction.
Well, I got Tom Sawyer’s role and made all the job fun. Throwing garbage is not an obligation. After all, he is still too young to be able to carry a big bag, but we have turned the ‘run to the trash can’ in a race on the athletic track. Can mom put a jam on the pancake faster than he can carry an empty bottle of milk into a trash can? When I have to wash dishes, we race too. Who can do the job faster – me to clean a plate or he to wipe it? Don’t need to mention that we still use aluminum plates.
3 – My son’s clothes are always stained
My daughter has changed her dresses very often, sometimes two or three times a day, but I actually didn’t know what dirty laundry meant until I got my son. He is still not keen on sport much and spends a lot of his time in the house, but somehow he finds a way to stain and soil his clothes as soon as he goes out.
Don’t mention his socks. They are always so dirty that they usually can’t be washed even at the highest temperature. And somehow, at the end of the day, there are a bunch of socks everywhere in the room and bathroom. Every single day! I have only one solution – to wait. I hope that it will pass. Well, at least after puberty. Uhh.
The Differences between Raising a Girl and a Boy
Regardless of whether you raise a girl or a boy and despite all differences which we can expect, there is no possibility for generalization. Things depend upon the particular child. Neither all the boys are boorish nor are all the girls gentle and delicate. For example, my little girl is noisy; she adores hanging out with boys, loves climbing trees and wrestles with big dogs.
On the contrary, my son loves the picture books and the peace of his room, and he is always ready to help me. The thing is that you get to know your child and guide her (him) to develop the most profound qualities they hide inside their young souls.
Things to Know About Having a Baby Girl and a Boy
One thing is sure; both of my children need an equal amount of love. But, there are no reasons for trying to use the same parenting techniques for both of them. I need to respect the differences between my little girl and a baby boy and to raise both as the unique individuals.
It seems that the main contrast between girls and boys appears due to the way of upbringing and cultural differences. Plus, parents’ expectations for their children depend on their gender. You know the cliché – give the boy a car, and a girl should play with dolls. Or – girls can cry, but boys should be ‘a man’.
Given that I grew up with a bunch of brothers, male relatives, and male friends since I was a toddler, it seems that I’m not a typical mom. My children play with what they want (though they play with our dog and cats instead of toys most of the time) and both cry when they are in pain or sad.
Love Them Equally, but Be Prepared For Differences
I have to admit that there are cases when the gender is important and when biology and physiology laugh in my face and my efforts to treat my children in the same way.
1 – Milestones
If I recall their first year of life, I can give you the first example of differences. Both of them began to use their potties as early as they learned to sit – approximately at the seventh month of their lives. The difference was at the attitude.
After the second attempt, my little girl realized that she would be free as soon as she finished her ‘job’ on the potty. From the beginning, she didn’t really like her potty and finished everything very quickly. Unbelievable how barely she waited to start using the toilet like an adult. Even today it seems incredible to me how fast she is all over.
My little boy equally hated his potty as his elder sister, but he refused to realize that he can get up only after finished. Nope. He cried at the very beginning for half an hour, he complained to his stuffed toys, cuddled cats, and looked for the consolation of a dog, a dad, and anyone in the room. Can you imagine that he hasn’t given up till today? I just can’t understand how he doesn’t get bored after months of trying.
Talking – My girl started talking before her first birthday. And she hasn’t stopped yet. My son takes his time and barely says a few words even though he is already a ‘big boy’.
Walking – It seems to me that my girl began to run as soon as her legs were strong enough to hold her. Then she went for a walk, and she hasn’t liked to sit until today. She even enjoys eating while standing (when I do not see her).
My little son retook his time. He preferred sitting, lying down, spending time in the car, resting. He actually walked only when he had to. I really hoped that scientists were right and that my son was just a little bit lazy during the first year of his life. Believe me; now I often wish that he has remained so calm.
2 – Emotions
Well, according to my experience, girls are more in tune with other people’s emotions. For my girl, it is enough to see someone’s facial expressions (especially mine) and to recognize the current mood. She knows without making mistakes if it is time for ‘begging’ for something or for avoiding the person for a while. It seems that she has finished our cats’ school.
My boy has learned from the dog. He never looks at people faces, always meets me with a smile, and asks what he wants regardless I am in the mood or not.
But, when it comes to the child’s emotional side, it seems that it is true that boys are more sensitive. You know, it is really fascinating. Every woman wants a sensitive guy by her side but tries to raise her son like he should be ashamed of his own emotions. It is pretty weird if you ask me.
3 – Behavior
No matter if you have a daughter or a son; it is essential being careful about their choices in the early years of their lives. Although my daughter prefers ‘male’ activities, she still enjoys looking at her in the mirror and changing her doll’s dresses. On the other hand, even though my boy adores books, he prefers playing with planes, destroying cars (to see how do they work), and likes his orange basketball ball.
I have to admit that these preferences don’t affect their established daily routine, instilling values, and how do they behave. I only spot various ways they accept what I require them to learn and do, and different speed of a reaction. She tends to mimic more, and he prefers finding out the solution on his own. I conclude that I should do everything possible to develop their confidence and self-esteem, and that’s it. I just can’t affect the biology.
4 – Preferences
My daughter is interested in people and their behavior. She is an energetic individual, and sometimes I think she looks at people only to study their way of acting. Or maybe she just learns to value conversation and sharing which will lead to close relationships in life.
My son prefers things that move and, even though he can be pretty shy, he adores being in crowds. It seems that his interaction with all kind of people (despite his natural shyness) is a way to learn to be a team player.
To be honest, I am not pretty sure if there is a natural tendency for children to behave differently depending on gender, but some experts say so. We will see over time if it is true.
5 – Toys they choose
I have noticed that my little girl doesn’t care about the type of her toys. She can play with everything. My boy prefers moving toys. So, I decided to figure out if there is any truth in the prejudice that dolls are for girls and cars for boys. I switched toys and gave her a toy-car, and a doll to him.
Surprisingly, she played with a car in the same way as she usually does with a doll. She ‘washes’ it and puts her favorite baby-doll to drive. He destroyed the doll in an attempt to find out how her hands were hooked to her body. As I have already said – we can try to do our best, but we can’t do anything against physiology!
One thing I can say with confidence. Contrary to what the researchers say, both of my children enjoy having ‘conversations’ with our dog and three weird cats. When they are punished, or I say –‘No’ when they want something inappropriate, both my children find solace while hugging our pets.
What can I say to you in the end? I try to let my children grow up equally. They can make their own choices according to their ages and by the norms of decent and fair behavior.
I surely don’t follow stereotypes and general beliefs, but the fact is that girls and boys are not equal. Sometimes it seems that my son doesn’t listen to what anyone says and my daughter behaves as if she knows in advance what someone wants to say.
They have the same genetic heritage, I raise them both to be good people, they receive the same moral and religious guidance, and both live in the same home. But they are not the same. When I think better, maybe that is how it should be. Beauty lies in diversity, right?