Understanding the Difference Between Boys and Girls

Can You Cut Me A Little Man Slack, Please?

Man Slack Defined

What exactly is ‘man slack’? Good question. The Mommy-ness Dictionary of Handy-Dandy Sayings for Tween Boys (aka the Selena report) outlines the definition as the following: “the act of loosening or easing chore burdens and household responsibilities for tween boys for the expressed purpose of leveling the playing field since said boys are inferior in such areas.” {yes, I typed that up with a straight face–mostly}

Man Slack Analyzed

When my soon to be 13-year old son pulled the man slack card he simply said this: “Mom, could you cut me a little man slack? I’m saying, you ladies are superior to we feeble men when it comes to dishes and cleaning. I think a little man slack is warranted to level things out. Don’t you?” Aside from laughing hysterically and shaking my head in utter disbelief, it really got me thinking about what I expected from my son and how it stacked up against the expectations of my daughter.  Did I need to cut him a bit of man slack? Was I indeed expecting too much when his “feeble, inferior” nature was really to blame?

All of these questions lead me on a hunt to really understand the differences in the way boys and girls process information and are motivated to do chores or homework. Here’s what I learned:

  • Boys like action ~ I know this seems like a no-brainer especially given who my son is. But I failed to realize that in order to motivate my son to do chores, I had to make chore-doing into a contest, a game or something that involved a chance to win something, beat a record and even have bragging rights. Money didn’t motivate him to wash his dishes; but telling him he’d be called “the man” for the next two days did. I had a clean kitchen and his ego went through the roof which leads me to the next point.
  • Praise Trumps Nagging, Hands Down ~ Honestly, I did this when they were little and I guess I sort of decided that it wasn’t needed as much. Would you believe I thought they could reach into a “praise reserve” and remember all the “great jobs” that I’ve touted over the years? Surprisingly, I’m the praise reserve and the older they get, the more they need it. At the very least, it reaffirms who they are and reminds them of how much I value and respect them.
  • Girls Mimic, Boys are Taught ~ Girls mimic what they see us do. Boys more often need to be taught how to do something. So, expecting my son to use a broom, mop or washing machine just because he’s seen me use those things was unfair to him . Boys typically learn by doing where as girls by seeing. Taking the time to do a quick, step-by-step “tutorial” will save you from the many headaches I had before I implemented this change.
  • Correct in Private ~ nothing tramples the ego more than a public “tongue lashing.” When I would correct him in front of his sister or a family member, he would become sullen and withdrawn. So, I asked him about it and he said he didn’t like his sister knowing he was in trouble because he knows she looks up to him and he felt as though he failed to be a good example. THAT touched me and from there on in, I did my corrections in private and he stepped up and took his chores more seriously.

In the end, I did cut him some man slack but not because he was feeble or inferior {still shaking my head at that one} but because he’s male and he thinks differently; and as his Mom I owe it to him to accommodate that. If I didn’t, I’d be sending the message that my way of thinking is the best way and we all know that’s not true. Parents, we’re learning just like they are. Let’s listen, adapt and parent.

Thanks for visiting,

Selena

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