We would all like to say that we treat our sons and daughters completely equal, but most of us would probably be lying.
I would never say I have a favorite child, but I do tend to have different expectations of the two children I love equally.
Sometimes I'm harder on my daughter, not only because she is the oldest, but also because I'm a woman and I know what we can do. I know how strong we are and I know that what made me so tough and strong was having parents who never expected me to be a docile sweetie. I expect great things from my daughter in the same way I expect great things from myself.
My son, on the other hand, is a bit of a mystery.
I don't know what to expect from him, I don't know how he will react to things, and I don't know how his mind works. From my experience with men, they're just not as capable of multitasking as we ladies are. They spend less time truly making things perfect and sometimes make decisions that baffle me -- what's up with golf (most boring sport ever), anyway?
Because I have these preconceived notions, I coddle my son far more than I do my daughter. Now, this could also be because he is my baby. But they're 18 months part, so "baby" is relative. Really, I think it's because on some level I think boys are helpless.
The worst part of all this is that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more I coddle, the more helpless my son really will become.
Here are some ways I'm trying to stop this:
- Equality: I try to dole out the same amount of hugs and kisses. When he gets a Popsicle, so does she. My husband and I have quickly learned that whatever one wants, the other wants, too. We never give her a gift without giving him at least one, too, and vice versa.
- Teach a boy to fish: I'm now very conscious of letting my son take care of himself more. My daughter can climb into her car seat and buckle herself part of the way. I'm trying to also encourage my son to do so. Every time he says he wants to "do it myself," I let him go for it. I even allow extra time so he can.
- Coddling the daughter a bit: When I coddle my son, I pay attention and then am sure to do a little bit of the same for my daughter. One of my biggest fears is that she will be mad at me for expecting more of her, so I try to expect the same amount even when it doesn't come naturally.
Do you have a son and a daughter? Do you treat them the same?