I’ve had a couple of different conversations with the teachers at my child’s preschool about some of the aggressive behaviors a few of the children have been exhibiting. It has been most alarming to wake up in the morning and have my three-year-old say to me, “I am a robot, I’m going to eat your brain and peel off your skin.” I was also concerned to learn that when a child brought in a Ninjago book, the teachers read the book to the children even though Common Sense media reports that this series is best for children seven and over, and rates it 0/5 for educational value, 2/5 for violence, and 5/5 for consumerism. When I have expressed my concerns about some of these issues, every conversation has ended the same way, with the teacher saying, “Oh you know, boys will be boys.”
That statement effectively ends the conversation because it leaves me too stunned and flabbergasted to respond. I bite my tongue each time because I don’t want to be THAT parent who is viewed as oversensitive and disengaged from reality. I also want to have a productive dialogue that will allow the preschool to hear my concerns in a way that may allow them to shift their thinking about how they address these issues. This blog is my attempt to organize my thoughts and gather some relevant research in order to help other parents and teachers who may find themselves perplexed by the same situation. So why is “boys will be boys” dangerous?
I want my child to grow up in a world that allows him to explore his strengths and express his personality in ways that are true to him, not in ways that society believes boys are supposed to behave. I hope that by sharing some of this research here, other parents and teachers may be able to work more actively to combat this misinformed approach to working with children, and allow our kids to explore and express themselves in ways that are authentic and healthy for them. This will hopefully minimize some of the academic gaps reported on here, as well as reduce some of the violence that many young men engage in, and allow gender-creative and transgender youth to be affirmed and supported in their home and school environments.