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"Boys Will Be Boys" is a cop-out

Posted Feb 20 2009 7:24pm
The phrase "Boys Will Be Boys" keeps tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of boys from being successful. When a boy gets in trouble in school, "Boys Will Be Boys" is the excuse. When boys have social issues not making friends or not interacting well with peers, "Boys Will Be Boys" is the excuse. When boys enjoy watching/playing action adventure games, cartoons, and movies, "Boys Will Be Boys" is the excuse.

It's time to dig deeper and look for a cause. The fact that a child is a boy is not a cause for inappropriate behavior and school failure. Kids who can't stay on task in school or act out in the classroom could have a learning disability, ADHD, etc. If they can't do the work, they create attention in a different way to cover up the fact that they don't measure up to their peers. Kids with ADHD often have trouble interacting socially. Kids with Sensory Integration Disorder often withdraw from activities with peers because they are "painful" for them. Children may enjoy "action" because they need more stimulation to focus.

Saying "Boys Will Be Boys" is an excuse that keeps boys with deficiencies troubled and in trouble. Unless a child has a lower than "normal" IQ, a mental retardation of any degree, they should be able to be successful in school (successful is dong their best and achieving grade level or above in academics without being a disruption to the classroom). If a child is not mentally retarded and is not successful in school, THERE IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT about that child that needs to be discovered and addressed.

I focus on boys because I am on this journey with my son, Luke. All of this is certainly true for girls as well.

During kindergarten last year, I was baffled by Luke's troubles in school because I knew how intelligent he is. Just about anyone I spoke to about it said "Boys Will Be Boys." His teacher said he needed to work on his behavior and how to be "in control of his body." If only I had known that not being in control of your body is a sign of Sensory Integration Disorder, ADHD, poor motor skills, etc. At the time, we decided he just didn't know what was expected in a school environment since he had not attended preschool or day care. Or maybe it was what we considered to be an inadequate school environment. But when he went to a new school this year and had a new teacher in 1st grade and still struggled with all the same issues, I searched for something more than immaturity, more than classroom environment, more than "Boys Will Be Boys."

And now, here we are with an ADHD diagnosis. Once the ADHD was treated successfully, Luke has found school success. He has made an improvement in all subjects (some substantial) and is thriving in the classroom. He still has some motor skills and handwriting issues to overcome, but he has come so far already in 3 months. Imagine where he'd be right now if I had accepted that his behavior was due to his gender. Imagine where he would be in 10 years if I still thought his actions and his struggles were all due to being a BOY.

We owe it to each and every child to look for real answers to their problems -- it doesn't serve anyone to make excuses. If your child is struggling in school, request that the school evaluate them. If you make a request in writing, they are required to do so.
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