Being a Dad for Boys

I have to admit that being a dad to 2 boys was easier than the role of dad for my daughter. It doesn’t mean that they were better behaved, oh no no no. There weren’t as many parts. Let me explain. I believe that girls are so much more complex. Boys are like old muscle car engines. Girls are like new computerized, fuel injected engines. To me, there is just less that you have to figure out about boys. With girls, emotions, reactions, and communication require a more in-depth read of the owners manual.

Is this sexist or barbaric? I don’t think so. It definitely isn’t intended to be. I think boys are a bit more predictable. Therefore it makes interaction easier…for me. Boys are hungry. Boys are usually smellier than girls. They get dirtier. They are very reactive. Their feelings are usually written on their faces. There is not as much to decipher.

This aside, I understand that there are different traits and personalities. This observation is based on my experience. Let me tell you what I mean. My boys are very different personalities, but there are foundational similarities. My eldest son is an artist. My second boy, not so much. Both of them are physically strong. My younger boy is the star athlete. The older boy is quieter. The younger one never shuts up. They both respond to conflict the same. They both can be escalated to a physical altercation. They both are very direct about what they like and dislike. Their words are blunt. Both are more interested in the facts, not feelings.

Perhaps it was not so much a complexity or lack thereof with them. I should accept the responsibility of feeling differently about their emotional health. Well, that sounds horrible. I did and do care about all aspects of them. However, I never had to be careful about my words to them as I was with my daughter. I don’t think boys respond to sharp words or quick correction the way that girls do. 

Perhaps this is being tribal. Perhaps it is what it is. My kids are by the book (literally). The book I am referring to is Why Gender Matters, by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D.  My boys have very boy like mannerisms. They are more likely to argue and fight. However, they get over contentious issues easily. My daughter, however atypical she can be in many issues, chooses a team for life. She keeps mental records. Trust gained or broken is rarely reversed.

There is a contentious issue among parents concerning stereotypes or in some cases, the facts. American essayist Anais Nin was quoted saying, “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are”. Emotions can run high if the facts conflict with your convictions. I just have to be honest and say that my children fit what studies have shown to be factual. If you disagree, you are always entitled to your opinion.

Boys are in need of dads. They especially learn by example. They are visual creatures. What they see is vital. You can’t just tell a boy. You must show them. Perhaps that is why so many girls are deemed as more intelligent. Perhaps they don’t have the same needs. Boys must be shown. I remember all the lessons of “manhood” that my father showed me. He showed me how to fish. He showed me how to hunt. He showed me how to fight. Everything was by example. Then, I would mimic his actions. This is why our actions as dads are so vital. How we treat other people, especially ladies will show our boys the way they should treat others. Girls do benefit from examples but to me, its the boys that have to be “shown” what, how, when, where.

Boys and girls can both make you proud. However, it’s our boys that pump up our pride while girls have our hearts in their hands. There is no less love. However, it is different. In Dr. Sax’s book that I mentioned earlier, he suggests that girls draw nouns and boys draw verbs. Not to dive much into that heavy topic, I am curious as to why dads have a tendency to focus on a boys’ performance and girls’ state of being. To qualify this, I find myself asking my sons how they are “doing”. My tendency towards my daughter is how are “you”.

Dad’s, our boys are going to emulate your character and behavior. We are responsible for “showing” them how to be men. What kind of workers, husbands, and dads they become will be greatly inspired by your performance. Realize the importance of this relationship. Realize that you are being watched. Be the best dad possible.