Felicia has one son and I have two. Felicia has two daughters and I have none. Felicia has read many parenting books. I have read one parenting book, Dr. Spock. It was an older version I loaned to a friend of mine when Older Son was in 1st grade so it has been, hang on I have to do some math here…a long while since I read a parenting book.
What I remember from Dr. Spock is that most problems stem from parents overreacting. This has proven true for me on more than one occasion. So my parenting style has been to try and stay out of my kids’ way. This is not to say that I am a cool parent. I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be, a cool parent. I am embarrassingly affectionate and strict. I demand ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ not only for myself but for others. I constantly use the phrases, “I don’t like your tone” and “I am not doing this with you.” That last phrase is usually spoken at close range and in the unsettling tone moms use when they are both hungry and have badly mismanaged their time.
So I do not mean that I get out of my kids’ way in a laissez-faire fashion. I attempt to do it in a thoughtful fashion but there is no real way to know when or even if I have ever gotten it right.
Then it occurred to me to wonder, do I parent this way because I raise boys? Would I raise a girl differently? Would I hover more? Ask more questions? Trust her judgment less?
And there is no way of knowing. So I am going to ask Felicia because, as I said earlier, she has raised both boys and girls. I asked Felicia and she said that she gets out of her daughters’ way more than she does her boy. This is interesting. It also makes sense because, as an adult woman, Felicia knows what will be expected of her daughters and so parents accordingly. Maybe her husband is the one who expects more from their son.
This is something to think about. Gender based parenting is absolutely a thing I know I have done. Example: Older son is 23, 6 feet tall and broad across the shoulders. He just drove halfway across the country to his new job in Missouri. I really wasn’t worried about his personal safety. Would I have worried if he were a she? What if I had a daughter and she was a badass? Would I have worried less or more?
I don’t know. What I do know is that Older Son is gainfully employed less than a month after he graduated from college. I’m going to go take a victory lap around the apartment.
See you next week.