Double Standards for Your Kids: Should Boys Be Treated Differently Than Girls?

Posted By Eric 

Do you ever know you’re doing something wrong yet still don’t change your ways? Well, that’s how I feel about treating your son differently than your daughter.

Am being sexist? Yes, and I know it.

I have told my wife that protecting my daughter is something I am programmed to do. I can’t help it. It is not like I am the first and only dad to ever think this way about monitoring and limiting his daughter’s lifestyle. We men already know what goes on in our heads, and it is NOT pretty. If women could see our thoughts, holy crap it would be a dangerous world.

So with that being said, I will expect my daughter to be home on curfew. My son, well, he will get some extended time if he calls and lets me know he is okay. I will reward him for showing me responsibility and common courtesy. I know it’s not fair, but that is what will happen.

I received this same type of parenting growing up. My older sister’s dates barely got access to the kitchen. Even after she was 18 (I was 12), her male friends were on my parents’ watch. Seeing what she went through, I was worried about bringing a girl over in high school, so I tested it. I introduced a girl to my mom and we went to my bedroom and were able to close the door. My mom or dad did not even ask me to keep the door open. Later, I asked my parents why I was allowed to do it, and they said, “because you’re a boy.” I hugged them both. Honestly, I would not allow my son to close his door until he is at least 18 or out of high school. I know for a fact Gaby will not let doors be closed. However, I would be okay with the door slightly closed so I can sneak a peek and make sure no grandkids are being produced.

However, I only have double standards with certain things. It is not like I am going to put my son in private school and my daughter in public school or vice versa. The things they get for Christmas and birthdays will be the same. When it comes to sports, I will probably encourage my son to try more than my daughter. I will encourage my daughter to try more dancing, music, and arts. But if my daughter asked me if she could play baseball, I would sign her up with no questions asked. If my son wanted to start ballet dancing, man that would just really suck.

Posted By Gaby

I know what you’re thinking: “You married him. Why are you surprised?” I never intended on changing Eric, so that’s not why this issue is so exasperating. I just have a tough time understanding how someone who seems to be generally progressive has such old fashioned, sexist viewpoints.

The fact that Eric sees no problem with the double standards he would establish for our kids astounds me. Beyond wanting our kids to fit into their gender-specific molds, my biggest issue is his double standard when it comes to dating, curfews, and discussions about sex.

From the moment we found out we were having a boy, I knew that this baby would be treated differently than his sister, but I expected that from society and extended family, not from his dad. Saying you’ll allow your son to have a girl in his bedroom with the door closed, but will give your daughter a strict curfew is not only unfair to your daughter, but you’re teaching your son that he’s allowed certain things because he has a penis.

Eric argues that this is how the world is, but I think that we as parents are supposed to help our children understand that you should stand up for what you think is right. This is an opportunity to teach your children that men and women are equal and that they are going to be subjected to the same rules and expectations, at least in our household.

I’m not arguing that our daughter should be able to be out all night and bring boys to her room. I’m saying that if you set strict rules for one child, you need to have those same rules for all, regardless of genitalia. Jamiroquai could easily take one of those girls into his bedroom and get her pregnant or get an STD from her. A baby is a two-person responsibility and I, for one, wouldn’t allow my son to skirt his responsibility just because he’s a boy.

I understand Eric’s innate need to protect his daughter, and I am really grateful he wasn’t disappointed that she was a girl, like some guys are. My problem lies in this idea that somehow, because she’s a girl, she needs extra protection (and extra rules). With our daughter being very opinionated and strong-willed, I have a hard time believing setting stricter rules for her will be effective. Many girls that grew up in strict households like mine say that they broke the rules because they were curious about what they weren’t allowed to know about/do. If we allow her to have the same curfew as her brother, call if she’s running late, and have her feel that we trust her as much as we do her brother, then we can hopefully avoid her going behind our back and breaking rules. If we don’t, we’re teaching her that we don’t trust her as much as we do her brother and that she can’t come to us in a time of need. I personally don’t want that in order to avoid my daughter going out with boys (which you can’t avoid, and I’m proof of that).

It’s tough being a girl and it seems like nowadays it’s even more difficult. I want our daughter and son to know that women and men, while different in many aspects, have the right to be treated equally. That one isn’t superior over another and that all genders are to be respected. Those lessons start at home, and I want my children to learn that from us.

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19 Responses to “Double Standards for Your Kids: Should Boys Be Treated Differently Than Girls?”

  1. wtg22

    Well Eric, you know you’re my boy but you really missed the boat on this one. It is patently unfair to treat your son differently than your daughter. Both of your children deserve equal protection. If your daughter calls you and lets you know she’s okay past her curfew, then you should extend the same exceptions to her as you would your son. If your son brings home a female friend, you should keep him out of his bedroom just as you would your daughter. It’s really pretty straight-forward. Ask your sister how she felt about the double standards in your house. My guess is she feels some resentment. Lord knows I would.

    • Ozzy

      I agree. He’s basically giving his son more privileges that won’t be overlooked by his daughter when she is older and will cause a lot of resentment. Essentially, Eric is risking a good, healthy relationship with his daughter when she is older because of the way she was treated. You live in a different world now buddy, it’s time to nut up or shut up.

        • Ozzy

          Oh, she’ll be safe alright. And then she gets older, rebels, moves out and he never hears from her again. Maybe that’s a bit exaggerated but you get my drift. Her rebelling might lead to something worse just because of the rules Eric implemented.

          • alex

            I am not disagreeing with that. But we don’t have daughters so it’s easy for us to judge.

          • Ozzy

            Yes, we don’t have daughters. But we have cousins and friends who grew up in strict households where rules for the boys were different. Look at them now. Most ran away from home, daddy issues, addicted to drugs or alcohol, etc.

          • echavez

            Gaby was in a strict house and came out well. I also went to girls homes with OPEN rules and they didn’t. I know it ain’t fair, i don’t care, thats my motto.

  2. Amanda

    I have a feeling Eric’s views towards this issue will change when the kids are actually teenagers.

  3. Shauna

    People are people regardless of what’s in between their legs. Be very careful not to build a wedge between these siblings. If your daughter sees her bro being treated differently she may hold it against him, which isn’t either of their faults. You may also get extra backlash from her aside from typical girl drama when she sees the unfair treatment. Same rules should apply to both kids, period.

  4. Ravi

    I vote for Eric, its difficult to handle girls than boys in their teens. worst the situation you can pull out belt on boys, but we cant be tough on girls, whole crying issue,… if Gabby feel that giving more privileges to boys, then YES, that’s the fact, face it. no more discussion.

    • Ozzy

      Yeah, boys cry just as easily as girls do when you hit them with the belt, trust me. Truth is, hitting a boy doesn’t make you feel like a lesser man cause he is of the same gender. In any case, try hitting a boy or girl with a belt now and days and see if you don’t end up in jail if they call the police… the cops surely won’t care what their gender is.

  5. David Buchta

    Daughters are hard, man. Especially for fathers. I’m glad we had a boy.

    But at the same time I feel it’s this kind of “special treatment” that perpetuates a lot of problems down the line. It instills many wrong messages, like girls are essentially weak and can’t take care of themselves, or can’t do dirty, hard work like boys can.

    For example, my brother won’t let his son have “girly” toys. And we’re not talking Barbies and shit, we’re talking toy vacuums, toy shopping carts, etc. Things I can only assume he associates with “the woman’s job.” He also won’t let him pretend to care for his stuffed toys like a mother would.

    Jonas on the other hand, has a shopping cart and a little yellow vacuum. He sees his dad pushing the cart, and vacuuming, and Swiffering, and cooking, and doing the dishes, etc, and he wants to emulate that. So hell yeah, get out your toy vacuum, son, and help me clean up.

    Hopefully I’m teaching him that cleaning up around the house is not just the woman’s responsibility. I worry that my brother is teaching his kid men shouldn’t do certain kinds of things because he’s treating his son differently than he would a daughter.

    • wtg22

      That’s a whole other debate right there: gendered toys. Yeah, no one has a problem when a girl plays with legos or G.I. Joes or Ninja Turtles. But God forbid a little boy play with My Little Ponies or dolls.

      Now, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy my son dolls and such, but I wouldn’t stop him from playing with them if he so chose.

  6. Amanda

    Look my brother and I were raised by my Mom. Even she thought girls and boys should be raised differently. What happened? Well… let’s not put my 3 year stint on blast but my closest friends and family know what happened and it wasn’t pretty. Needless to say I’ve completely changed and my relationship between my mother and I is a bad one that I don’t see ever working out.


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