10 Assumptions We Should Stop Making About Boys

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One of the things I have learned from raising 4 boys is that each child comes into this world as a completely unique person with their own personality and interests.  But, I have found that there are several generalizations and assumptions that people make of boys.  Today I want to share 10 Assumptions We Should Stop Making About Boys.

Assumptions about boys

10 Assumptions We Should Stop Making About Boys

My boys are as different as they could possibly be.  I have boys who are reserved, and a boy who lives for attention and makes friends with everyone.  I have boys who are athletic and a boy who would rather read. I have seen that even within the same family, kids are born with unique identities and we need to stop assuming that all boys are the same.  

Here are some assumptions that we should stop making about boys.

1- ALL boys are athletic

One huge misconception that people have about boys is that all boys live for sports. Newsflash!  Not all boys like sports.  My oldest son loves sports and would play every sport under the sun if I would let him and if time and money allowed, but my other boys are really selective of which sports they want to play or if they want to play any at all.  Now, I will say that I think sports are great for both boys and girls.  I lived for softball when I was young and I’ve even written about The Benefits of Playing Sports, but not every child likes sports and that is okay. If a boy doesn’t like sports, there is nothing wrong with him!  We should help our children to develop the interests and talents that they have, not the ones we think they should have.

2- Boys need to be tough all the time

Research shows that boys are just as vulnerable and sensitive or even more so than girls and we need to stop diminishing their emotions by telling them things like, “Man up”, or “Take it like a Man.”  They are not men,  they are boys, and when we minimize the emotions that  they are feeling they might learn to hold them in and may have problems expressing themselves later on in life.  It’s okay for boys to show emotion and it is okay for them to be sensitive.  We should be encouraging our boys to work through their emotions and express them in a healthy way.

3-All boys are rough and tumble

Not all boys love to play rough.   My oldest son was never aggressive and would much rather build something cool than wrestle/play with other kids. My third son has always been an energetic kid and loves to play rough. It is fun for him to get down and wrestle.  He always has scratches, bruises, etc but, I have had to explain to him that not all kids like to play rough.  Having four boys has made me realize just how different each boy can be.

4- “Boys Will Be Boys”

One of the main types of comments I get on my blog is that people appreciate that I can show the “good” side of raising boys and that boys are not just little hellions who can’t control themselves and who destroy everything on contact.  Even the most energetic of boys can learn what is acceptable behavior and learn to be respectful of house rules and other people’s property.  Boys can be taught manners and common courtesy and definitely can learn to control their “wild tendencies” if they have them.

5-Because my son doesn’t say much, he must be shy

I consider myself an outgoing introvert.  I love people and I love socializing,  but I can only take so many people at a time before I need my space.  A couple of my boys are the same way.  They aren’t shy, but they just might not be comfortable with people that they don’t know being in their space.  Now, because I know the feelings they experience in those types of moments, I have coached them on how to be polite, even if they are uncomfortable, and they are improving as they get older.  When they were younger, even extended family dinners were a nightmare for us because they would get very overwhelmed with people.  But, that doesn’t mean they are shy and people constantly telling them that they are can make them feel as though something is wrong with them.

6-If a boy plays with a doll, it will affect his gender identity

I will never understand the assumption that letting a boy play with a doll could somehow affect his gender identity.  My husband is very hands-on with my boys and I want my boys to be like him when they have their own children.  Each of my boys played with a doll at one time or another and they loved to dress, feed, and push them in a stroller or swing.  Normally this came right before or after I had a baby and they saw me and my husband doing those things with their brothers. Playing with dolls will not change their gender identity and teaching boys to be nurturing is a good thing.

7-All boys like to be dirty

This is definitely not true!  I have two who love being dirty and I have two who would flip out if their hands had a little bit of dirt on them when they were younger.  I still remember a visit to the beach when one of my boys was about 3 year old.  He had a miserable time because he hated getting the sand on him.  Some boys like things clean and some don’t mind getting right in and rolling in the dirt.  My youngest loves to make “angels” in the dirt since we don’t have snow.  He would live in a dirt pile if I let him, but that doesn’t mean all boys like being dirty.

8-If you are raising all boys, your family can’t be complete or Moms without girls must be so sad

I’ve already written about this topic in my post, Yes, I’m Raising Boys and No, I’m Not Sorry!  I do not understand where the idea comes from that a mom of all boys is spending all of her days disappointed and longing to have a girl. Now, I understand that some moms of all boys may feel disappointment about not having a girl, but I am yet to meet a mom who would give one of her kids back in exchange for a child of the opposite sex.  Never assume that moms of all boys are somehow feeling that their family is incomplete. I love my boys and wouldn’t trade them for anything and I would never want them to think that they are somehow not enough because they are boys.

9-Boys aren’t as smart, cool, fun, etc as girls.

You don’t have to look any further than pop-culture to see that boys are portrayed as less than girls in terms of smarts, wittiness, popularity, etc.  Now, I am thrilled that there are wonderful movements out there that are working to empower girls, but can’t we empower girls without putting down boys?  If you look at many of the popular shows among tweens and teens, you will see that the girls are often portrayed as popular, funny, smart, etc while the boys are the class clown, the nerd or the joke of the show.  We should be just as concerned about a boy’s self-esteem as we are that of girls.

10- Boys will all grow up, leave and never come back

I know that I am not at the point of life where my boys will be moving out any time soon (thank goodness) but one thing I hear over and over is how I won’t have anyone to take care of me when I am old because all boys move out and never look back.  Luckily I have good examples in my life to show me that this doesn’t have to be true.  I watched my own father serve and take care of his parents everyday until they died and I watched as my mom treated them as she would her own parents and how they embraced and loved her as their own.  So, even though I don’t have experience in this subject yet, I have hope that we will stay a close family as they get older, even if we are separated by distance.

Assumptions about boys

I think it is safe to say that boys, just like girls, are all different and we need to stop making assumptions about how they “should” be.  I hope that I am teaching my boys to be confident in the things that make them unique and that society can’t determine their interests or the way that they should live their lives.

What can you add to my list?  What things should people stop assuming about boys?

Raising boys can be fun and challenging!  Here are a few top-rated books on how to raise boys that can make things easier:

Books on how to raise boys
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This post is a part of our series 31 Days of Tips for Raising Boys. Each day throughout the series we are discussing a different topic regarding raising boys.  I’d love for you to follow along and share this series with other parents of boys who may need some support or just to hear that they aren’t alone in their journey of raising boys.

Find all of our posts in one place on our series home page:  31 Days of Tips for Raising Boys

Tips for Raising Boys

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Yes I’m Raising Boys, and No I’m Not Sorry

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  1. Nicole says

    Wonderful article written by an even more wonderful mom
    My 5 boys who are similar in many ways are also unique in more ways. Some like sports though I don’t feel they need to play every sport out there. We have baby dolls and to me boys who play with dolls are more likely to grow up to be nurturing fathers who will help his future wife and mother of his kids with those not so fun tasks like diaper changing. Believe it or not we own the movie frozen and I have no problem letting my younger boys watch strawberry shortcake, they also like rescue bots. I let them play mine craft and other video games expectations are games like grand theft auto or other similar games. My boys are smart and my oldest is extremely smart. He was tested and is in the gifted program. Many adults have come to us astonished at how smart he is and he has lots of friends, in fact he acts like a normal teen. He uses instagram and kik to talk to friends when not at school. So I think people need to stop stereotyping boys after all there was a whole super bowl commercial on how we shouldn’t say “you run like a girl, or throw like a girl.” We shouldn’t raise up one gender while putting down the other.

  2. Kristi says

    I love the idea that we should be careful how we portray boys in the media and how that affects their self esteem! As the mother of 4 boys, I have thought all of these things numerous times. I would love to add one about drama/emotionalism. I think you touched on it in #2 but I’d go even further. I am constantly told I should be thankful I have boys because I will miss so much drama and escape the teen years. I AM thankful I have boys, but I think we will have our own share of drama! My second is a passionate guy who struggles a bit with containing big emotions. Not all boys are emotionally “simple” just add not all girls are dramatic! We need to stop Pigeon holing children!

  3. Nicole says

    Great article. My husband and I were just talking about #9 yesterday. I feel sometimes society wants to put the achievements of girls above the same achievements of boys, like it is a bigger deal if a girl achieves a goal. I think this is counter productive to the whole idea of girl empowerment. Girls achievements aren’t better than those of their male peers. Rather, we are striving for equality regardless of gender. All children should be celebrated for what they can achieve .

  4. Amanda says

    Wonderful article! The only thing I would add is I constantly hear “Oh you only have boys? How nice not to have the drama that comes along with little girls!” I wish! Boys can have just as much drama as little girls. My oldest is very sensitive and he will cry over things like a skylander figurine has his head on backwards, some other boys didn’t want to sit next to him on the bus, somebody said his hair was too long, etc. I do think girls are worse after puberty, but I definitely get my share of drama right now. 🙂

  5. says

    I just wonder who in the world comes up with these assumptions anyway.

    We have 2 boys and a girl and all 3 are equally different. My boys are night and day. Furthermore, my daughter and I are completely different.

    It’s a shame that any personality trait has to be defended but you did a beautiful job in this post. Thank you!

    We are BLESSED to have children, regardless of their gender.

    Again thank you for this heartfelt and beautiful post!

    • says

      Thank you Brandy! As a mom I think it really was a bit shocking to see just how different my boys are. I don’t know where the assumptions come from but I agree, I am just so blessed to have my boys with their fun and unique personalities.

  6. Pepper Colwell says

    This is a great article! I highly enjoyed reading this. I found this on Pinterest and will be repinning. I have one boy and he’s 7 years old. He really isn’t into sports, only soccer, and he is very sensitive. He’s a Lego building, Minecraft loving boy. I used to be strict on him when he would cry or get really emotional. And then one day he told me that just because he is a boy, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings and that made me open my eyes. Thank you for this great article!

    • says

      That would definitely be an eye opener. I have one son who is a lot more emotional than any of my others. I have to constantly remind myself that it is okay for him to express emotions in his way, especially when weare home and he is in a safe environment. Thank you for your comment!

  7. Ashaki says

    Great read, I am mother of two boys and share many of your same ideals for raising male children. Thank you for making valid points about lumping all boys into one category even when it’s not a healthy thing to do. They are all individuals who deserve to be loved and respected for who they are. I will definitely share with other Moms that I know.

  8. Kim Huckerby says

    Absolutely love this article!! definitely one to share around. As a mum of two boys, I know that they came into my life for a reason and they teach me something magical everyday… Couldn’t imagine my life without them. Thanks for sharing!!! xx

  9. Michelle says

    I have two grown boys/men now and yes, it’s a long story but I was sad when they weren’t girls at least one of them. But as the years went by and I saw the challenges from friends having girls I felt blessed. They are my pride and joy and I do hope for granddaughters but I can’t imagine it different. The misconception I’ve observed is that boys are more well behaved than girls. The father that had this mistaken idea became father of two boys first. He experienced mostly compliance with the rules. Enter two girls next they were all about doing their own thing and wasn’t interested in rules. I told him about my two boys. They are polar opposites. The first one was easy and laid back and followed the program the second was all about pushing and questioning. Yet they were boys. They were proof that appropriate behavior is not gender specific it’s parenting specific.

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