Stereotypes Don't Always Hold Up
"Typical boy behavior" can manifest itself in either sex, and the same goes for "girl behavior." How difficult you find it has as much to do with your own temperament as your child's. The key to successful parenting, whatever your child's gender, is to figure out what makes him tick and how to make his personality work with your own. You also need to recognize that behaviors you find challenging may have positive qualities. For example:
- Is he loud and rowdy?
The upside: Your son is physically active and outgoing, two qualities that will stand him in good stead when he's older. To keep the behavior from driving you crazy in the meantime, kid-proof your house and make sure he gets a good airing out at the park every day. If you've got a backyard, require a certain amount of outdoor play time.
- Is she always wheedling and trying to talk you into changing your mind?
The upside: Your daughter is persistent, and her verbal adroitness may turn her into a very skillful attorney one day. Until then, try to maintain your cool and do not yield, no matter how fiercely she argues. Instead, engage her in conversations on topics that you both find interesting.
- Does she break her delicate toys or take them apart?
The upside: Your daughter may be trying to figure out how they work, a sign of intellectual curiosity. If so, there are toys designed just for this purpose. If it's simply the joy of smashing that she's relishing, box them up until she's ready to keep them intact as she plays.