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Male/female traits and characteristics

(40 Posts)
kittylester Sat 13-Oct-12 09:23:32

I wonder if you think there are definite male/female traits and characteristics?

Having two sons and three daughters, I have observed that generally, in conflict, boys thump and forget, girls chunter and stew!

But, all of my children have varying degrees of male/female attributes. One son is more 'in touch with his feminine side', one is very intent on being macho.

Of my daughters, two are instinctive home makers, cooks etc and would love, if finances allowed, to be stay at home mums. My other daughter is less instinctive at traditional girly things and is not happy being a stay at home mum?

What do you think?

Lilygran Sat 13-Oct-12 09:55:59

My DDiL said she had always thought 'male' and 'female' behaviour was taught until she gave birth to a family of sons. I think it's probably 50/50 nature and nurture. What I do think is a bit alarming is the extent to which kids are confirmed in those roles so early. When I look for craft projects for my DGSs it's very difficult to find one that isn't girly. Pink, pink and mauve everywhere. Little boys like glitter, too. It wasn't like this when my DS were little!

Oldgreymare Sat 13-Oct-12 10:14:43

Kitty, it's a fine day here so one for tackling outside jobs.I am therefore not going to the talk given by Oliver James (Wells Festival of Literature) unless I get off GN and get on with those jobs!
The talk is entitled:
Not in your genes: your offspring are different but why?
Apparently O.J. believes it is how you are cared for in your first 6 years that crucially affects the rest of your life, and that is determined by your own parents' histories. (Quoting from the blurb)
I have 2 sons who are very different, and I am now wondering whether I 'parented' each one differently.
I know No. 1 son had my undivided attention until his brother arrived then had to share so I suppose there must have been differences, as No. 2 son would have 'shared' from the word go! hmm

nightowl Sat 13-Oct-12 10:48:51

OGM I would love to be close enough to go to that talk by Oliver James. I really like him.

Enjoy it, please feed back sunshine

glitabo Sat 13-Oct-12 11:27:19

Before my first GD was born my DiL was determined that she would not be channelled into female activities and she would have just the same toys and activities as her 2 older brothers. However, that was not going to be the case. I had previously bought a doll and buggy for GS1 when GS2 was born and they are the toys she honed in on. Yes she plays football and with lego and water pistols and cars but she loves her dolls and she mothers them intuitively. She is also much more independent than the boys when it comes to personal things such as getting dressed. Her bedroom is a pink fluffy palace. She goes to karate with her father and brothers and is progressing through the grades, but she also loves her ballet classes.
On a more general note, little boys are obliged to make car or aeroplane noises no matter what game they are playing and little girls squeal and giggle..

annodomini Sat 13-Oct-12 11:30:55

I have seen my GD climbing a tree dressed in her pink princess outfit. Girls can have it both ways; boys who embrace 'girly' pursuits are seen as 'cissies', though I haven't heard that term for many a year - but you know what I mean.

Faye Sat 13-Oct-12 11:47:48

On my mobile I took a video of my youngest granddaughter who had just turned ten months, she is sitting on a blanket, holding a little doll that she loves and she rocks it, then kisses it. It's very sweet, I wonder if that is nature or nurture.

glitabo Sat 13-Oct-12 11:49:59

annodomini I can picture the image of your GD climbing the tree in princess
I agree with you about girls having it both ways, but does this only happen when they are little? I still feel that the odds are loaded for boys when they get older with career opportunities etc.
I am pleased that both my GDs have strong female role models to encourage them to reach for their goals.
I am going to contradict myself here because many adolescent boys are confused about their role, especially as girls get stronger in theirs. the suicide rate in adolescent boys is increasing.
it is a bit of a minefield once stereotypes become expectations. How often do we hear someone telling a crying hurt little boy to be a man (implying that men don't cry).

Lilygran Sat 13-Oct-12 11:52:27

Like girls joining the Scouts but boys can't join the Guides.Faye perhaps your GD has a loving and caring personality and has seen how adults behave with babies?

nightowl Sat 13-Oct-12 11:54:51

My DGS aged two has a little toy fox that he cuddles and kisses; I'm sure he would love to have a doll but his daddy doesn't like the idea. DD would be happy with it. We start their socialisation very early sad

vampirequeen Sat 13-Oct-12 11:55:31

I think it's part nature part nurture. Girls who don't conform are tolerated and called tomboys but boys who are more sensitive are called whimps and told to toughen up.

Granny23 Sat 13-Oct-12 14:29:39

Having grown up in a 2 girl family and then having 2 girls myself, when my first DGC turned out to be a BOY I was somewhat surprised. It took a bit of getting used to (fell victim often to the deadly accurancy of his 'pee in your eye' technique) and the sheer size and weight of him came as a shock. He was followed 6 months later by DGD1 and his wee sister, DGD2, came along after a couple of years - giving me a fascinating opportunity to compare both genders, being brought up virtually identically. The similarities vastly outweigh the differences. All 3 love music, stories, dressing up and performing and show little interest or skill at sports - not at all surprising in our family which is full of singers, dancers, musicians, film makers. All 3 play with the same toys and enjoy computer games, but then differences start to appear e.g. GS will invariably choose a fighting, demolishing or agressive computer game, whilst the girls like games which build things, make cakes, furnish or dress up. Woody and Jessie from Toy Story are great favourites but again our boy makes them fight each other while our girls tuck them up to sleep in a shoe box. We noticed from a very early age the STICK effect - for Grandson all sticks are weapons, swords, guns - our DGDs use them as musical instruments, cutlery, magic wands, or put found sticks in the log box.

An anecdotal exception: - DGD2 found a small wooden cross with a pointed end and a poppy attached (sent to us by Earl Haig Poppy Fund). She considered it carefully and then announced that it was a GIRL's SWORD because it had a flower on before discarding it, uninterested.

GS uses a torch as a Death Ray, the GDs think they are sunbeams. They only other major difference I see is in attachment. When GS is tired or upset he wants Mummy or Granny, GD2 is very much Daddy's or Granpal's girl but then DG2 shows no preference really, is equally cuddly with all. I think there are really 3 influences - gender, personality, upbringing/expectations and the greatest of these is - IMVHO - PERSONALITY.

goldengirl Sat 13-Oct-12 14:59:38

My GD played with 'boys' toys - as well as 'girl' toys which noone commented upon. My GS played with 'girls' toys eg a doll and teaset -as well as 'boys' toys and a neighbour told me I was turning him into a cissy! Me being me I ignored her comments because when her little boy came to play what did he play with????? Our GC have been brought up in a similar way thankfully and seem well balanced re: toys and hobbies.

whenim64 Sat 13-Oct-12 15:06:14

I was determined to bring out my children's caring and daring sides as they went through childhood, and would encourage them to engage in activities that often stereotype children by gender. Result? Two girls who are terrible cooks, two foodie sons, boys who can iron and sew, girls who are good at DIY and shifting heavy furniture. The only thing is, they should all be able to do those things, but there's still a gender difference!

Frankel Sat 13-Oct-12 17:51:07

I think women are more social and men can be more solitary, more individual even when in a group. I think our chemicals make a big difference to men and women. I don't think skills are male or female although, sometimes, men and women have been assigned roles so it seems as though some skills are male or female.

I'm probably quite domesticated but I am not sure I'm in touch with my feminine side - not sure I know what it is. My Mum died when I was 13 so I learnt some domestic skills early. It just made sense at the time. It was better to learn to cook than eat bread and cheese smile.

crimson Sat 13-Oct-12 18:09:48

I think women deal better with imposed solitude than men, though. My son was born after my daughter. Everything that looked at all pointy became a gun and he dismantled everything he could before trying to put it back together again [even his push chair one day]. He loved space ships and robots, but did have a bed full of cuddly toys. I couldn't believe how different he was to my daughter. Treating both of them [I thought] in a non gender sort of way, she did tend to have toys such as technic lego and wasn't all that bothered with dolls, although she loved her dolls house. They were both very creative. He was [still is] the tidy one.

Hunt Sat 13-Oct-12 23:27:15

DD was our first born. DS was determined to do everything that DD did. Consequently he can sew, Knit, crochet and embroider. Funnily enough DS's DS does crosstitch although I don't think he has ever seen his Dad do more than sew buttons on.

Faye Sun 14-Oct-12 03:07:42

I just saw your post Lilygran and I think you are right, youngest granddaughter does get lots of kisses and hugs from family and friends. She definitely is a people person and will go to anyone. On that same day (we were at a country football match) she was being held by a woman she doesn't know and was hugging this woman around her neck. On the other hand her brother (4) is not the friendliest of children . He often scowls at all the grandparents and tells me I am not his girl, occasionally I am but only if he is very pleased. He tells his father he is his best friend, but if he is annoyed with him he tells him he is not his best friend anymore. Funny kids. smile

Oldgreymare Sun 14-Oct-12 13:48:56

Nightowl where to start. This is it in a nutshell.....

The talk was superb, and quite political, enough for one member of the audience (making assumptions, male and right wing) who complained that he had come for a talk on genes not politics!

Saying that, Oliver James' contention that nurture plays by far the greater role in our development as people, has huge political implications (95%-5% nurture/genetic influence).

The first 6 years of a child's life influence the person he/she will become and the traits he/she will develop. (Obvious really!) In fact, the moods of mothers' in the third trimester of pregnancy influence the baby. A stressed mother to be produces more cortisol and this has a detrimental effect on the baby.

He believes that abuse is the main cause of behavioural problems, it has been shown that the hippocampal part of the brain is reduced in victims of abuse.

The 'big picture', where and how we live and not placing too great an emphasis on material possessions; and this is where it got political as he mentioned 'Blatcherism' which he believes 'blighted our nation'; also have a huge effect.

He ended by saying that we need to provide good quality care for children under six, to put this ahead of the profits of a few.

I'm sorry if I have left 'bits' out, and that this is only my memory of what was said. hmm

crimson Sun 14-Oct-12 14:00:58

Oh, I get it now; it's Oliver James who used to write for the Observer. I can't believe it's 95% nurture, though.

kittylester Sun 14-Oct-12 14:20:42

Nor me crimson

Oldgreymare Sun 14-Oct-12 17:55:51

I was surprised too! But he was very convincing. Methinks I need to read his books, sadly negelected thus far!

nightowl Sun 14-Oct-12 17:57:53

OGM Thank you for that excellent summary - I have been out for Sunday lunch and have only just seen your post. I wish I could have heard him. I'm not sure about the 95 - 5% but I imagine he has some evidence to back up what seems to be an extreme position. However I can't argue with anything else you have written. I have certainly seen the effects of abuse and would agree that after 6 it becomes almost impossible to reverse the damage it causes. Hence the complexities surrounding adoption of older children (and I would say those difficulties arise much earlier than 6). I have heard before about changes in the brain - I have some difficulties with this as I feel that in some ways it 'writes children off' but I suppose I have just argued something similar myself. Interesting stuff, very sad.

Oldgreymare Sun 14-Oct-12 17:59:03

Hrmph! neglected!
I wanted to ask a question about the differences observed between siblings ostensibly brought up identically ( as mentioned in this thread) but there was no time.

nightowl Sun 14-Oct-12 18:09:14

I can't pretend to be Oliver James OGM grin but I have heard it argued that siblings can never be brought up identically however much we think they are. Parents change with each child, circumstances can change, the new child's place in the family is different etc etc. Not sure about twins.