Posted by: Genny Colby | March 9, 2012

Boys vs. Girls

It seems that as soon as you announce you are pregnant, after all the congratulations and best wishes, comes the question “Do you want a boy or a girl?  What does your hubby want?”

From the start, my husband and I both said what we really wanted was a healthy baby, but that even if there were some health concerns, well then we would just deal with those as them came.  What we wanted was a family, was someone to explore the world with, learn new things with, and watch grow up.  We wanted to enjoy our child(ren) for who they were, not their gender.

With our first pregnancy, when pressed, we would admit that a little girl would be great, but really we did not care.  Our first born was a girl, which makes her the first-born daughter, of a first-born daughter, of a first-born daughter, of a first-born daughter (it may go back further than this, but I am not sure).  And we love her with all our hearts.  She is truly a wonder to us each day, making us laugh, smile, and stare in wonder sometimes that this amazing little person came from us.  We are so excited to continue this journey with her to see who she will become as she grows up.

Now we are pregnant with our second, and while when pressed we would have said another little girl would be nice, since we had all the stuff for a little girl, we again, just wanted to meet this newest member of our family and enjoy the journey.  Then we learned we are having a boy, so now we will have one of each.  And while it did mean replacing a few things (like a totally pink/purple butterfly car seat and stroller) we are just excited to watch him grow and see who he will become.

I have read articles, heard others talk about how raising boys or girls is harder than the other.  I really don’t see the truth in that.  I think that each has their challenges, but that is more how we as parents approach our children and the challenges they present.  Do we stay calm or do we react quickly?  Do we use a steady voice or a raised voice?  What words do we use?  What boundaries and expectations do we set?  Are we consistent in our boundaries and expectations?  Are our consequences logical and immediate?

Each family has to find what works for them, but I must say that I find myself remembering some of my early childhood classes.  One of my favorite was Professor Betty Black at the UW-Madison.  One of the first lessons she taught us was never to get into a power struggle with a child.  You will always lose.  You will give in way before they ever do!  She also taught me so much about how to respect children, to listen to them, to validate their thoughts and ideas, to make them feel important even when you have to say no, or follow through on a consequence.  We have to remember that while they are children, they are still people, and deserve respect.

She also taught me never to lay out a consequence unless you are prepared to follow through on it!  Don’t threaten to not go to grandma’s if you know that is not a choice.  I find myself hearing these lessons in my mind as I address issues with my strong-minded, independent, vocal 3-year-old daughter.   I know I will continue to for many years to come, with both of my kids.

To me, our job as parents is to raise kind, compassionate, confident, happy, and respectful children, who know they can do anything they dream, that mom and dad will love them no matter what, and that as long as they are following their dreams, that we will always be there to support them.  But that our job is not to do it for them.  We must give them skills to be successful on their own.  I can’t do everything for them and as they grown they must take on more and more of the responsibilities.  Their gender is not the issue, who they are as people is what matters.  The mark they leave behind should be positive because of their actions, their words, their accomplishments.

So when I hear people asking anyone “So are you going to try again for a (what ever gender the baby is not)?” or “Well, guess we may try for one more to get (what ever gender they are missing)?”  I just don’t get it.  Why does it matter if it is a boy or a girl?  Why can’t we just appreciate the miracle our kids are and enjoy each day we have with them? Cherish those moments and take pride in raising amazing people?


  1. Great post! I wanted to add though – I think the vast majority of people accept and love their kids wholeheartedly even when they turn out to be the ‘wrong’ gender. You can do that and still be disappointed that you don’t have one or the other. Obviously generalizing, there are huge characteristic differences in male/male, female/female and male/female parent-child relationships (all relationships I guess) so I think it’s normal to have a preference for one gender or for having both in your life. As long as that’s totally separate from your love and support of the kids you have of course! Good luck for the arrival of your little boy 🙂

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