If this year has taught us anything, it's that men and women are closer and closer to equality. Hearing all the stories about the differences between men and women, girls and boys, and their opportunities in life is kind of bizarre. The good thing about these tough conversations is that they're bringing change. Talking about the differences in treatment is making everyone more aware, even if they weren't aware of it before.
Funny enough, these differences aren't just the salary amount at jobs or cat-calling on the street, they start at home. The way our parents treat us and our siblings have a lasting effect on us as we age. (No pressure, right?) If two parents have a son and a daughter, they may try their best to treat them equally, but there are subtle differences in the way they go about it. Unbeknownst to them, these differences aren't as equal as they think.
Most moms tend to praise their sons while criticizing their daughters. They may give their son fewer household chores because "he doesn't do them right." And they may even focus on athletics more than they do for their daughter. We can blame it on society all we want, but these are 20 things moms do for their sons, and rarely for their daughters.
Please note, this is, of course, not how every mother parents. However, through research and forums, these are the things some young adults have experienced from their own childhood with siblings.
20 Praising Vs. Criticizing
A few daughters have mentioned that their mothers praised their brothers more than them. Perhaps it's because mothers see too much of themselves in their daughters, making them harder on them? Or perhaps it's because a mother wants their son to be a well respected young man, and tries to encourage them in that way. Nevertheless, there are many daughters who have a strained relationship with their mother, just as there are daughters who have a close relationship with their mother.
As women, we know what it's like to be growing up female. This could be why moms expect more from their girls because they want them to be thick enough for the outside world.
19 Fewer Household Responsibilities
Growing up with two brothers, my mom didn't really expect much from us in terms of household responsibilities. As a minor control freak, I think she knew that whatever she asked us to do, she'd have to do it again after we tried. However, I was definitely doing more chores around the house than my brothers. Maybe that was just me seeing how hard my mom worked, and I wanted to help her out. Or maybe it was because my mom was a stay-at-home mom, so I figured that's what women were supposed to do. Nevertheless, in our household, it was definitely the women who cleaned up after the boys. And I know many other girls can relate.
18 A Later Curfew
Has anyone else noticed that parents seem to be way more lenient with their son's curfew than their daughter's? While some may protest that it's unfair, I know why most moms do this: safety. Most parents feel the need to watch out for their daughters more than their sons. When it's late at night, there's a notion that women can't defend themselves, which is why they make their curfews earlier than their sons. Is this fair? Not necessarily, but I can't say I blame parents. Every household is different but when it comes to your child's safety, you'll do anything to ensure it.
17 Push For A Profession
All a parent wants is for their child to grow up to be a successful and independent part of society. After raising them for 18 years, we hope they attend college, get their degree, and get a well-paying job. But do you think parents push for their sons to think about their soon-to-be profession earlier on than daughters? Some women mentioned their moms encouraged their brothers to start thinking about what they wanted to be when they grew up while teaching their daughters about homemaking. Is that all a woman is good for, making babies and raising a family? Of course not! Women can be anything they want to be, just like boys can. It's high time we encourage the same future possibilities for our daughters as we do for our sons.
16 Focus On Athletics
My parents were both athletes growing up. They both saw the positives athletics had on a child and how it shapes them in more ways than one. From teamwork to communication to health, signing your kids up for sports is a stellar idea. However, some people think parents push athletics on to their sons more than their daughters. Could this be because there are more chances for men to become professional athletes than women? I mean, just think about all the professional teams people watch on TV every day of the week — how many of those teams are women's? Not many, folks.
Just because the chances to go pro aren't high for women, doesn't mean girls don't want to partake in sports as much as boys.
15 More Sympathy
I've noticed this in my own family, but I've also been told similar situations from different families. Moms seem to have more sympathy for their adult sons than their daughters. Why do moms expect so much from their daughters? In my family, my parents get so upset when they don't hear from me. They take is so personally when I'm too busy to come home or don't call them that day. But when it comes to my brothers, they "understand" that they can't come home or can only call once a week. The annoying thing is there is absolutely no difference between our lives, so why do they get a petty pass and we don't?!
14 Hunting Ventures
My husband comes from an area where there are a ton of hunters. It's not even like it's a rural area with plenty of land! It's a normal suburb nearby a medium-sized city. Being in his hometown quite often, I've met many hunters and their families. When I ask if their kids accompany them on their hunts, many say only their sons. It's not that their daughters aren't interested in the sport of hunting, they simply don't even ask. Then again, many of their wives won't let them take their daughters, but they'll let them take their sons. Can girls not take the guts and gore like boys can, or are we just creating a stereotype?
13 Homework Honing
My parents did what they could for us without having a college degree. In their days growing up, a college degree was a true privilege; it wasn't as needed as it is today in 2018. Nevertheless, they provided us with an amazing childhood. But when it came to homework, my parents couldn't really help us with too much. They tried, of course, but lessons have changed so much over the years. When it came to projects though, my mom always "helped" my brothers do theirs.
A mom at The Guardian tried to explain her side of the great homework debate. After saying she helps her sons more with their homework than her daughters, she justified it by being a case of interests. "The girls couldn't wait to learn to read. The one book Sam read, I had to pay him to do so."
12 Furniture Shopping
Let's talk about when our young boys turn into adults and are ready to live on their own. Do they go furniture shopping themselves or do they ask their parents to help them? To be fair, I feel like most mothers don't expect their sons to create the "homey" kind of space they expect for them. Most young men are completely fine with having a flatscreen TV, a mattress on the ground, and some kind of gaming chair. But that's not a home well made — that's a man cave. To make sure they're living well, most moms will take them furniture shopping and try to help them. But girls? Most of them would rather venture on their furniture shopping journey solo.
11 Excuse Naughtiness
"I may be repeating my own upbringing. My mother expected me to be a 'good girl' and excused any naughtiness from my brother," one woman told The Guardian. As a young woman, I can relate to this. As the only girl with two brothers, I felt like my parents expected more from me. More responsibilities, more respect, more general common sense... These feelings were next expressed, but I could feel they were expected. These are things that I don't think my brothers felt, though. While some boys can get away with skipping chores, staying out later, and making a mess around the house — most girls are shunned for even trying!
Why do parents expect poor behavior from their sons but not from their daughters?
10 Get Messy
Just like parents expecting naughty behavior from their boys, they also expect them to be messier than girls. This is one stereotype I never really understood. All kids play around with their food, spill things, and play in the mud. It's not like one gender does this more than the other. On the contrary, as a woman who's lived with multiple women in college, we are probably messier than boys. With all the hair products, cosmetics, and hair... our bathrooms were way worse than any boys I've seen. Sure, ours may have smelled better than the boys, but we were definitely messier.
9 Allow Them To Pick Themselves Up
I have friends with both young boys and girls, and the one thing I noticed most is how they treat them when they fall. When kids fall, they immediately look up at mom and dad to see if they're okay or how they should react. How their parent reacts is most likely how they're going to react after the initial surprise of it. What I noticed, however, is that when a little boy falls, most moms and dads tell them to "dust it off" and get back on their feet. But a little girl? When she falls, most moms and dads scurry after her and pick her up like she's a tiny China doll. Why do more parents think they need to coddle their daughters than their sons?
8 Responsible For Their Sisters
In a house with both gendered siblings, have you noticed that it's the boy's responsibility to take care of their sister, but not the other way around? As a naturally protective individual, I always felt a need to protect both my brothers (even though I was the middle child), but my parents always told my brothers to keep an eye out for me. But why? Why do we treat girls like they're going to break? If you're a parent who has both gendered children, raise them to take care of each other — not necessarily as the boy taking care of the girl. A female kid is just as capable of taking care of her brother as her brother is.
7 'The Talk'
We all know what "the talk" is referring to. And truth be told, my family was pretty open with this subject, but I don't think my mother ever really sat me down and laid out the ground rules. However, they did have a conversation with my brothers. Their concern was them accidentally getting a girl pregnant. But why don't girls get the same talk? It's not like that kind of activity doesn't equally affect them! It's a conversation that needs to be had with both genders. It's not all about pregnancy either, it's about safety and boundaries. It's about knowing your personal limits and what can happen when you do or don't partake in it.
6 Taught Not To Express Themselves
If you're a fan of the recent season of Narcos, there was one scene where Mika Camarena was mourning the disappearance of her husband, Kiki. She was crying next to the pool when her son approached her and asked if she was scared. She was honest with him and told him it was okay to cry; it was normal to express how you were feeling. I thought that was a beautiful moment because most parents encourage their daughters to express themselves, but don't tell their sons to do the same. Even Time notes that "Parents should try to teach boys about emotion as much as possible." The site explains, “We are beyond the point in society where boys are taught never to express emotions... We need to model for them how to appropriately express emotions. These are learned stereotypes and we are reinforcing them as a society.”
5 Video Games
The beautiful thing about video games is they can be played by anyone. Depending on the game, multiple ages can partake in it. It's one of those fun activities that can involve the whole family; it can be a bonding experience. But I think it's obvious most gaming companies market towards men — especially when it comes to that prevalent type of game. "My brother could play [battle] video games from a young age (like literally five) while I was barely allowed to play Sims 3 under 14 because my cousin told my mother there’s the concept of 'woohoo under the covers.' I had to claim I never even did that (totally did)," one woman told Quora.
4 Contact Teachers
Teachers definitely don't get enough credit in their life, nor are they paid enough. Their main job is to make sure their students get an education, and while their students' parents can sometimes be annoying, they appreciate the fact that they care. However, it appears teachers get way more emails and phone calls from parents of boys in their classes than that of girls. Even as college students, why are moms still contacting their teachers about a particular grade or assignment? Meanwhile, daughters feel compelled to approach the teacher themselves, without the backup from mom or dad.
I don't know what some boys are so afraid of, contacting their teachers themselves can show a lot of initiative and respect.
3 Respect Women
Respect for all lives should be of the utmost importance. Animals and humans all deserve love, respect, and affection. Sadly, not everyone feels this way, but it's at least a conversation in many households. Oddly enough, there are many moms who preach to their sons about respecting women, but how often do we see this conversation with women themselves? Moms need to tell their daughters to respect both men and women as well. Girls can be so catty with each other, but if their moms gave the same talk to them that they did to their sons, maybe there'd be less name calling.
2 Making Appointments
My husband is a grown man and even he dislikes contacting other adults. When it comes to reservations, appointments, and customer service – he cowers away, nervous to say anything. I never understood why he was too timid to simply ask a question or request a service, but I realized it's because he guilts his mom and me to do it every time. He never has an opportunity to do it himself because he always asks before attempting! Being the flawless women that we are, we typically make the call for him because we don't think too much about it. However, while writing this article, I realized that many women deal with similar things when it comes to the men and boys in their life.
1 Dress Them
Just like furniture shopping, cooking for them, and giving them more sympathy, moms also seem to dress their sons more than their daughters. Do moms help their daughters change? Of course! But most women have mentioned their daughters enjoy the process of picking out their own clothes. They need some help getting into them from time to time, but they know what they want to wear. But boys? It seems most moms are not okay with their sons wearing their undies and a pool floatie to class. Making sure their sons look presentable and are matching seems to be an everyday occurrence for many moms.