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Raising Boys

If you’re reeling from the results of a gender scan or have recently given birth to a boy, don’t worry – it’s going to be just fine, says Bryony Sutherland.

I’m one of those weird people who always wanted to know the sex of my unborn child. I needed to be prepared and couldn’t cope with the idea of an unexpected ‘surprise’ – I wanted to ‘bond’ mentally with my baby; choose an appropriate name. So once, twice, then three times my partner and I attended a sexing scan, to be told each time not to inv

  • • Cooking – what boys may lack in perfectionism in the kitchen, they more than make up for in enthusiasm, so develop those life skills from an early age! Here are some tips to bake with kids.

est in any little pink bootees.

If you’d told me a decade ago I’d be a proud mother to three members of the opposite sex, I’d have run screaming (sometimes I still do!). I had no experience of brothers or nephews, and my two cousins had six girls between them. I had such a strong sense I’d have a daughter, perhaps because of my close relationship with my mother. I was wrong.

When I first found out I was expecting a boy, I took a neighbour out for coffee to quiz her on life with a lad. She’d spawned two fine blond versions of this alien species and I’ll never forget her expression of utter bewilderment when I explained why I wanted to speak to her. In her eyes boys were brilliant and why would anyone ever think otherwise

Listed below are some of my preconceived ideas about boys and the reality I experienced. Of course not everything I have learned along the way will apply to your little man. But in very general terms, you may find the following to be true…

Things I did expect from raising boys

  • Noise – oh yes, in my house boys are definitely louder than girls. This does not change and in fact the level only increases as they get older. Try to embrace it as best you can; I’m sure the silence after they fly the nest will be sweetly deafening.
  • Energy – I’ve always compared my sons to puppies. Not because of their wet noses and shiny fur, but because of their insatiable appetite for exercise. Go with it and enroll them in the sports in which they show an interest. Try and get them out and about at least once every day, even if it’s just kicking a football around the garden. You’ll notice the difference in their behaviour.
  • Bundles – this was one of the hardest things to adjust to, but now I barely bat an eyelid. Boys will jostle to be the alpha male, and even if they’re not fighting they can be very physical in their play. I keep a watchful eye from the sidelines but generally allow them their rough and tumble within the safety of their own family.
  • Appearance – OK, so my middle son is a neat freak and I love him for it, but the other two literally couldn’t care less about the tidiness of their bedrooms, the state in which they leave the bathroom or the clothes they wear. For this latter issue I hear how my friends plead and cajole their daughters into preferred garments and I find it hard to comprehend. Dressing boys is easy – just make sure whatever you choose is machine washable and hardwearing!
  • Mud – invest in the best washing machine you can afford. ’Nuff said.

Things I didn’t expect from raising boys

  • Affection – I still have the dreaded teenage years to experience on my parenting journey, but so far my boys are fiercely loving and protective. They give the best cuddles and never hesitate to tell me they love me; I hear them saying it to each other too. Long may it last.
  • Maturity – it’s rather drummed into parents that girls are more advanced when it comes to emotional maturity. I disagree. It depends entirely on the individual. Don’t be surprised if your son seems more grown up than you’d expect.
  • Intelligence – again, the stereotypes suggest that boys fall behind girls academically. I found that teaching my sons to read early helped balance any learning discrepancies between the sexes. Writing should also be encouraged, as experts will tell you that boys’ motor skills develop later than girls’.
  • They’re cute – it’s not all about slugs, snails and puppy dogs’ tails, believe me!

Things boys enjoy that you might not expect:

  • • Nature – anything and everything from a walk in the woods discovering wildlife to endless animal documentaries.
  • • Art and craft – not all boys want to get busy with a glue stick, but there’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t spend a happy Sunday afternoon indulging their artistic side.

 

Interesting facts for mums of under-1s:

Other than the anatomical differences covered by their nappies, boys and girls are actually pretty similar prior to their first birthday. No need to go down the blue vs. pink route just yet.

And actually, a note on the nappy-changing front – as long as you’re prepared to duck/protect yourself with tissues during those early weeks, it’s actually easier to change boys. No awkward crevices to worry about…


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