Friday, July 06, 2007

Pampering Sons to Keep Them Close FAILS

A great point raised in the Daily Mail about mother's expecting more from daughters and pampering their sons so much that they aren't prepared for the basic tasks of managing their own places as adults.

When I queried this disparity, she told me it was "easier this way" and, besides, her daughter was "more helpful". That may be, but shouldn't her son have been encouraged to develop such behaviour?

While this may appear to be a trivial observation, it is indicative of the whole sorry arrangement between mothers and their sons.

Girls are still more likely than boys to be shown how to load the dishwasher and sort laundry into piles. Boys are treated with such a reverence around the house that they end up with the most cursory knowledge of dirty crockery.

Linda Hamlin, a child psychologist says: "Parents project their own attitudes and values onto their children. If a son doesn't have to help with housework but his sister does, that impacts on him by feeding him a false sense of power."

In light of recent research that claimed women are still doing the lion's share of housework despite holding down their own jobs, it would make sense, surely, if these very women nurtured their own sons' domestic abilities.

Not a bit of it. Mothers encourage this behaviour - it makes them feel needed - and the boys are only too happy to go along with it.
This last, I think, is a very important point. How long has the old adage "marry off a daughter, gain a son; marry off a son, loose a son" been around? What if some mothers are trying to keep their sons beholden on them so that they will feel grateful and continue to be around for the rest of their lives? They don't have to do that to daughters because they know daughters generally have a better connection with their moms. I posit that keeping their sons dependent will only lead to the sons being more likely to cleave that much more to the next person they're dependent upon--their wives.

I actually have some old-fashioned notions about boys' jobs and girls' jobs. I certainly don't like doing disgusting chores and I don't assign them to my daughters either. I let my husband deal with the trash. And when it comes to labor intensive outdoor chores, my husband does them as well--mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, digging up garden beds, etc.

With my own son on the way, these are some ideas to consider.

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