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“Mom, all the girls in class are perfect. I’m the bad one.”

A 7 year-old boy

Girls are so often encouraged by the world to go for it! …

While too many boys are being told to dial it down!

 

Today, many boys have an increasingly narrow path to find their place in the world.

 

Boys are more likely to be expelled from preschool or drop out before high school graduation than girls. Along the way, their grades and their self-confidence suffers. And they are medicated or disciplined for ‘lack of attention’ and ‘behavior problems.’


What’s going on here?  

Because there is nothing wrong with our boys.

If they aren’t wrong – who is?

It isn’t them – it’s US.

 

We are nurturing, compassionate mothers.

We are hard-working, inventive educators.

But very few of us are born understanding boys!

Yet, from birth through middle school, we are the most prominent influence in their lives.

 

87% of primary teachers in the U.S. are women.

Mothers spend twice as much time parenting than fathers.

25% of American households are led by women-only.

 

Are we, as women, evaluating boys through our OWN feminine expectations?

Through our own feminine ideas of what is acceptable and normal?


We can no longer afford to ignore the real, hardwired differences between boys and girls. These tangible differences are the framework for how each learns and interacts with the world.

But, how often have you caught yourself saying or thinking…

  • Why can’t he just sit still?
  • Why won’t he listen?
  • Why is he so difficult?

Increasingly, we want – and expect – boys to be LIKE US.

To behave and communicate LIKE US.

Is this realistic?  

Most women are highly skilled in understanding emotions and relationships. They just naturally make sense to us. It’s human nature to prefer – and reward – those who express themselves in ways that we find comfortable and familiar.

 

But in doing that, we leave out many boys. Through both words and actions, we tell boys constantly that they are wrong – that they just don’t measure up.

 

Especially in the classroom, where success can make or break the boy. The statistics are undeniable and breathtaking. Boys are failing in ways we did not predict.

 

Preschool boys are expelled 4.5 times more than girls.

Boys are 4-5 times more likely to be diagnosed with and medicated for ADHD.

Advanced Placement (AP) classes are 70-80% girls.

55% of all high school drop-outs are boys.

ALL of these grim statistics increase for boys of color.


Ignoring the differences between us continues to disadvantage ALL of us.

 

As long as we make boys wrong for the distinct ways in which they learn and engage, the gap grows between meeting our own needs – and meeting theirs.

 

Girls learn they can be feisty, while boys are told they are too aggressive.

Boys learn they are distant, while girls see themselves as emotionally intelligent.

 

Our preferences are subtle – but profound.

Our preferences – and our words – matter.

 

Because we tell our boys – often – that something is wrong with them.

That they are too much – and simultaneously – not enough.

But it’s not them.

It’s US.

 

What can WE do to encourage ALL children?

ALL students?

Can we lift up our boys with the same breath that we empower our girls?

Absolutely, we can.

Click here to learn how.

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