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A friend and I had a debate as to whether or not you need to be more cautious with girls as opposed to boys. We were actually discussing it in terms of toddlers on the playground - climbing, getting dirty, falling down, etc. I argue that they should both be able to climb and get dirty all the same as I was a total tomboy. She disagrees. So, I really want to hear all of the moms out there and what their opinions are!!”

16 replies so far...

  • It does have alot to do with how children are raised.....some parents handicap (sorry for use of word) by the way they bring them up...girls should be able and encouraged to do all and anything they want...even things that are usually what boys with truck...get dirty...etc, etc.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by eileen b on 20th July 2009

  • I find it very interesting that her rationalization was that it's somehow human nature. My daughter is naturally drawn to dirt and sticks and rocks and bugs. Is We don't discourage it, we don't actively encourage it. We simply let her play. So, is she going against nature even though we didn't teach her to play with these things and it's what she naturally did on her own? I think it's against human nature to force a child to live up to antiquated social norms and mores of many civilizations that dictate that women are incapable of handling the rougher side of life and must be protected at all costs. Those are not natural, they're imposed.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Phe on 20th July 2009

  • Oh, please. Ridiculous. I would really like to hear what her rationalization is for this. She somehow thinks there is something physiologically different about girls that would justify not allowing them to get dirty or play rough? Like, for example, their bones are more fragile or something?

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mom2Rylie on 20th July 2009

  • Sounds like she is just rationalizing her personal approach or why her own daughter isn't as open to physical play as your son. Chances are that if her daughter was a natural climber, she'd be quite proud of it. On the other hand, if her daughter just isn't into it, that's OK and she shouldn't be pressured. My niece didn't learn to ride a bike until she was 9 (!) but she is a very gifted and talented young lady. Her brother rode his bike (without training wheels) before age 3, but he's on the public dole. So keep in mind that the physical stuff is only one aspect of life, which doesn't prove anything about the child's overall competence.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 20th July 2009

  • The only logic behind her argument was that it was human nature. I don't have a girl so she says that I have no idea but I am a girl and I think that counts for something! I went out with another friend who has a girl this weekend and her girl was doing everything my son did so I think you gotta go by personality and not gender.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by oceans mom on 20th July 2009

  • I have twin toddler daughters. One is a drama queen, the other is not. The drama queen doesn't care about getting dirty--she loves it. The non-drama queen hates messes and dirty clothes--she needs to change if she drips on her shirt. Both girls climb and swing and run and are allowed to get as messy as they want, unless we're going someplace where they have to look neat.

    They self-regulate in how much they want to be protected. The drama queen is more cautious when it comes to new things. She hangs back until her sister tries a new slide or a new toy, for the most part.
    Let kids choose their own ways, boys or girls.

    FWIW, I let both girls run naked in the yard. They love it. Somehow the terminology for this is "a chicken nugget" as in, "Can I be a chicken nugget?" which means take off all of one's clothes and run around fully nude. We just had a wonderful sprinkler afternoon yesterday with two chicken nuggets. (We started with swim suits, but when they got wet, the suits came off.) I don't see what is wrong with this either.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by spacegeek on 19th July 2009

  • Why would you even WANT to be more cautious with a girl as opposed to a boy? To NOT let them do the same things is sending the absolute WRONG message to begin with. And IMHO any parent who treats them differently is just plain dumb. Yeah, a girl could get more dramatic, but you know, they learn it, imho, because of the parent's attitude. If you simply treat them getting dirty or falling down and scrapping a knee as normal, then they'll follow suit.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by JKLD on 18th July 2009

  • There is no difference.
    If hurt, a girl may be more dramatic. But my boys can outcry most girls over a skinned knee any day.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by DebR on 17th July 2009

  • All my girls played with trucks, cars and baby dolls when they were little. Loved to play in the dirt...that is what baths are for.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by eileen b on 17th July 2009

  • I do believe there are more logical differences beginning at puberty. For one thing, women can get broken facial bones more easily. For another thing, they can hemorrhage (sp?) if they overdo it during the wrong time of the month. They may need some guidance if they are the type to really push themselves physically.

    Oh, and of course there is the sexual preditor thing - both boys and girls can be victims, but it seems most prudent that a parent not be lax about covering their girls up. I assume this is not what you were talking about, though.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 17th July 2009

  • What was that person's logic?

    I would support only very limited differences in kids before the age of puberty. For one thing, while I might have considered letting a boy run naked in the backyard during potty training, I would not do this with a girl because of the differences in plumbing. I can't think of any other examples off the bat.

    My daughters are allowed to do whatever they want on the playground, short of flying headfirst off the equipment (which they haven't attempted so far). At 2.5, they tackle the biggest climbing equipment, including rock climbing walls. However, I do not "push" them to do something they don't feel confident to do. (And I don't "help" them to do something they aren't capable of doing themselves.) If I just wait until they observe a few other kids doing things, they eventually come around. My older daughter is a little skittish by nature, and hates the feeling of being swung/flung around. She needs time to build up the nerve. There is no hurry! Some of the things she does are pretty amazing and I couldn't do them myself. But personality differences need to be respected.

    I was a tomboy as a kid and am none the worse for wear. I'm also quite an introvert, though I have plenty of inner strength. So I don't think being a tomboy automatically leads to charisma or whatever else people believe. I just don't see any logic against it.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 17th July 2009

  • Let the kid decide. My daughter has enjoyed jumping off ever-higher perchs from the day she learned about the concept "jump"! She'll pretend to run into a wall for the excuse of falling down. She comes home from camp dirty as can be most days. She seems somehow sad when she isn't.
    If a child prefers the swings to the jungle gym and slides over rope ladders, boy or girl, they ought to explore that.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mich on 17th July 2009