It remains a sad and frustrating fact that the majority of adoptive parents prefer girls. Adoption agencies tell me that if given a choice about 80% of pre-adoptive parents choose a girl. In special needs international adoption where there is a list of children with special needs, almost inevitably the little girls find families while the little boys wait. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why this preference for girls exists. (See my blog Snips and Snails Vs. Sugar and Spice: Gender Preferences In Adoption.)
As the mom of 2 boys and 2 girls who are teens and beyond, I’d like to share my perspective. First, a confession: Before I had kids, I really really wanted a girl for many of the reasons I pointed out in my Snips ‘n Snails blog. I thought that girls would be more affectionate and cuddly, that a girl would remain more involved with us after she left home, that I would share more interests with a girl, and on and on. Other moms have also mentioned rowdiness, dirtiness, noisiness, and wilder teen years as reasons to prefer the “quieter” gender. Now that I have weathered parenting both boys and girls up to their mid 20s, I see things differently.
Both from my personal experience and from the research I’ve read, while I acknowledge that there are some broad differences between the genders, there are far greater differences amongst the genders. I realize this isn’t scientific, but for what it’s worth here is what I see from the trenches.
- Affectionate: Both my boys are more overtly affectionate than my daughters. One of my sons hugged and kissed me each day when I dropped him off at 5th grade without prodding from me–in front of his friends. This same boy, ends every phone conversation from college with “Love you”.
- Remain More Involved with Us after Adulthood: Too early to tell. I’ll get back to you on this one. My eldest is a girl with the traveling Jones. She’s currently living in Morocco, so…
- Shared Interests: Parenting has taught me that as the adult n the relationship, I am in the position to find shared interest with each of my children. It’s been easy and fun to do with my very different children. I’ve also found that interests aren’t gender specific. For example, I love to read. As younger children my daughters loved books more. One has continued this passion as she aged, the other not so much. Neither of my sons were “into books” as younger children; both are book lovers now, although admittedly, not as much as me. I love to run and play tennis. One son and one daughter love sports; however, the one that loves tennis, does not love to play with me. (Apparently, I’m not as much fun or as good as her friends. Plus it hurts her pride too much if I win. ) I love to cook. Only my eldest son shares this interest, and he and I have spent many enjoyable hours cooking and talking about cooking.
- Rowdiness: Well, I’m pretty rowdy, and fortunately all our kids have followed suit. By far, the least rowdy of my kids is my youngest son.
- Dirtiness/Messiness: They are all slobs, sad to say, except perhaps my youngest son.
- Noisiness: The loudest is a boy, the calmest and quietest is the other boy.
- Teen Years: I’m still in the midst of this, so I suppose the jury is still out, but although I’ve been fortunate that all my kids have had relatively uneventful adolescences (so far—knock wood), the two that have caused me to hold my breath more and talk to God more have been a boy and a girl.
My point is that boys and girls come in such wonderfully and gloriously different flavors. Parenting boys has been one of the great joys of my life. Check out this wonderful video by our friends over at Love Without Boundaries . If this doesn’t melt your heart, nothing will.