behavior, Blogging, Blogs, boys, Child Development, child-rearing, children, Fatherhood, Parent Development, parenting, Public Image, Public Relations, Rotary, Young boys
by Paul Kiser
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I am a Father three times over, but my first two were girls, which were relatively simple to raise and well-behaved…at least that is what I choose to remember. But the young boys I have known in my life are anything but well-behaved and I was nervous about being the Father of a boy. My son will turn five in a couple of weeks and I have realized that my nervousness was justified. Here are a few of the things I didn’t expect about being a Father to a 4 year-old boy:
- I didn’t know I would have to justify which route I took home from Starbucks. When the little guy in the back seat says, “Dad, why do you go home this way?,” you have to either play the ‘I’m-the-adult-and-that’s-why’ card, or you have to try to explain the subtleties of traffic, time of day, and the desire to travel on surface streets with the sunroof open. Wise or not, I usually try to explain things, because I’m a teacher at my core … but I’m rethinking that approach.
- I didn’t know I would have to answer questions that force me to defend the stupidity of our language, like, “How come we say the alarm is going off, when it is on?” (i.e.; making noise). It’s a great question. Anyone want to field that one?
- I didn’t know that going to the bathroom is a wait-until-you-only-have-seconds-before-disaster event and under no circumstances is possible upon suggestion by a parent.
- I didn’t know little boys really did ask, “Why is the sky blue?” and expect an answer that they can understand. Have you ever tried to be the first person to explain the concept of a planet, the sun, photons, the atmosphere, and light absorption to someone? It is worse if someone else is present because it is like making lasagna, everyone has a better way of doing it.
- I didn’t know that a four-year-old boy could flirt … and he’s really good at it … when the girl is at least three times his age.
- I didn’t know how well a boy could manipulate …uhm, his Mom. This one happened today. “Mom, could I have another treat…because you love me?” Fortunately, I’m immune to such ploys!
- I didn’t know a boy could have such joy over catching grasshoppers and bugs. It seems a cliché about a boy and bugs, but the desire to catch and detain anything smaller than him is hardwired in his behavior.
- I didn’t know I would become aware of every child around me even when my son is not there. Why should I care? These other kids have parents keeping watch on them, but when I see a child about to do something hazardous the urge to usurp the other parent’s authority is sometimes overwhelming.
- I didn’t know I would have to wait to mow the lawn until he would be there to ‘help’ me. This was a recent quote, “Dad, I’m glad you waited until I got home to mow the lawn because I would be really angry with you if you had done it when I’m not here.” I have my orders.
- I didn’t know that I could be attacked and beaten on with such zeal. I’m really hoping he learns to pull his punches before he gets too strong.
- I didn’t know that a boy could change my attitude … about being the Father of a boy. Still, if you’re about to be a Father of a boy, we need to talk.
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My little boy (first child) is on the way, but I’m hoping that, in addition to everything else I need to know, I won’t have to understand photons or light-absorbtion. Do you think an explanation involving “cloud people” and blue dye will be enough…until he hits 19 or so? More to the point, what was the difference between his questions, and the ones your girls asked?
Paul Kiser said:
🙂 Yes, by all means try the ‘Cloud people’ and ‘blue dye’ and let me know how that works out for you, but be forewarned, a son is liable to brag to everyone in preschool about what he learned from his Dad about why the sky is blue. Then you walk in and get strange looks and snickers from the school staff and you won’t even know why they start talking to you like you are five years old!….not that it ever happened to me….
Seriously, I’m not sure there is much difference due to gender in intelligence or types of questions they ask. The difference I’ve notices is in energy and aggressiveness. Alexander is typical of many boys I’ve seen. He loves to compete with me (who will be first to the car, etc.) and he wants to understand everything. My daughters are adults now, but as I recall, they often were content to play imaginary games on their own. Alexander wants to be involved with everything we do and/or have us play with him in order to observe how we ‘play’. He likes to mimic what we do and I don’t remember that as much with my daughters. Today, when I was taking him to school in the car I reached back to tickle his knee and he laughed and said, “You need to pay attention to your driving.” That is a statement he did not come up with on his own, but it was funny to hear him say it.
Congratulations on your new child! It will be fun!
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