Sunday, June 24, 2007

daughters and sons

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I treat my children differently. Of course, age is a factor. My son is two and a half years younger than my daughter, but I've come to the conclusion that that is not the only factor in determining how they're treated.

Often, I expect more of my daughter and I'm much harder on her than I am on my son. While this is a painful realization, it is one of utmost importance as I try to uncover the roots. Part of me believes that I'm subconsciously getting her ready for the struggles she'll endure as a woman, but does that struggle have to begin at home? I'm so bothered by this.

Do I actually believe that life is truly easier for attractive, Caucasian males? I almost snicker at my answer because, um, yeah, I do. Though it makes for a poor excuse to allow these mores of society that I detest to make their way into my microcosm. Clearly, it's not ok.

So, I stand at a crossroads moderately aware of my misgivings. I have to figure out how to offer equal treatment, while educating them about the realities to be faced. It seems as though it would be easy enough, but it requires thoughtful effort on my part. I have to look within to see just how much my beliefs have been shaped by my experiences in a patriarchal society and squash those that don't make rational sense. It's an ongoing thing. One that is made even more pressing as I raise my children.


  1. I still have a few years before my mommy days, but from what I see with my own family, cousins, friends, etc., it seems that parents are always more strict with the older child, regardless of gender.

    There's an eight-year difference between myself and my little sister, and man, she has it easy. I'm sure gender plays a very big role, but I wouldn't discredit the small aspect that she is older.

  2. i do think the oldest has it the toughest. we are the first, the child that our parents expect the most from, pin those "new parent" dreams on. we are the "trial and error" children.
    that said, i also think that mothers are harder on daughters, easier on sons and the opposite is true for fathers and daughters and sons.
    we as women understand our daughters better in regard to their femaleness, fathers understand their sons. we were once little girls, fathers, little boys.
    then again, it also depends on how "normal" or how disfunctional our upbringing was and if we have the notion to overcompensate or to clamp down hard on our own children going by our expereiences.
    there's no easy answer and no answer that fits all but yes, i believe that moms are generally tougher on daughters and easier on sons.
    perhaps we have been conditioned to let males in our society slide a bit, not expect as much.
    that shouldn't be. we can be our own worst enemies and do our sons a great disservice if we do not expect them to do and be the best they can be and hold them to the same standards as our daughters.
    yes, men and women are different, but they are equal. we might have to go about differently getting the same results in raising sons and daughters tho.