Having had experience raising three boys (in an now defunct relationship), let me just say now that it was NO COMPARISON to raising a sixteen year old girl. Believe me. How many? Just one. How is that possible you say? Well, here is my take on it:
Boys Are Simple
I hate to admit it, but boys are simply delightful to raise. They almost–dare I say–raise themselves. They are less complicated, less defiant, less stubborn. A boy can be molded and whiddled down to an accepting, self-sufficient, wonderful young man without much effort from his parents. As long as the boy is willing to listen, you need only direct him to do certain things once. Ok, maybe a few times. But once he figures things out and finds his own way of doing things, he plods on without your input.
Girls Lack Initiative
Unlike their masculine counterparts, girls have a tendency to sit around and wait for life to hit them over the head. Young teenage girls laze about crying about how unfair their parents are, while munching out and staring at the television set. They fight the urge to hurry through their chores (to get them out of the way) and opt instead for the multiple mind-numbing requests. Their hope is that you forget about the chore altogether while they sort out much more pleasant issues like what nailpolish color goes well with their complexion. Priorities, priorities.
Boys can almost always compensate for their lack of initiative with physical labor until they catch up.
Girls Are Obsessive
She wants to know what boys are thinking, so she stares endlessly at posters of hearthrobs. She doesn’t want to be Mary-Kate Olsen thin, but will still worry about the caloric content of a candy bar. She listens to music in the car, at school, in the kitchen, on television, and while in the shower. Her monster showers can take hours because she’s either: a) singing along with the music b) daydreaming about some boy [real or imaginary] c) primping in front of the mirror. She likes to analyze the day’s events with her bff’s on the phone, in the lunchroom, at recess, in her journal and school notebooks. She passes notes in class about how lame her teachers are (Note: can be substituted with any adult authority figure here). She picks on the other girls at school that don’t subscribe to her ideologies. How do I know? I was one.
Boys, however are really nonchalant about everything. Most of their focus is on whether some girl likes them and whether they’re going to get up the nerve to ask her out. That’s when they stop fishing through the pile of dirty laundry. For the first time in months, the clean shirt (they thought was “dorky”) comes out of the closet.
Girls Are Fussy
Whether it’s styling their hair to make sure the natural highlights shame the sun or picking out their school clothes in the morning, girls love to fuss. They change their tastes, they try new ways of doing things–much to their parent’s chagrin. At any given moment, the same task that they enjoyed last week, is now passe. The instrument they absolutely loved to play last month no longer holds their interest. The boy they were passionate about last week is a has-been. A lengthy, grueling argument ensues. What do girls really want?!
Boys experiment too, but not to the same degree. They may like their hair pulled back with tons of mousse one day, then go au natural the next. Their concerns often bend on more pressing issues like scoring a goal in the next soccer game or having the girl in homeroom notice their great new hair (sans mousse).
Girls Are Clingy
The brighter the girl, the more creative her rebellion. Girls need guidance and hand-holding such as the world-at-large has never seen. Her ingenuity is clever, her cunning impressive. She’ll hold tight to the apron strings even when you have long since cut them off and sold them to the highest bidder. Boys can flee and occasionally visit without lingering. Girls set up shop, prop their legs up on your easy-chair, and eat you out of house and home. Sometimes, you have to push them…hard to get them to motivate themselves into setting short-term then long-term goals. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
Girls Are Vindictive
Their multi-layered moods can swing from pleasant to super-bitch mode in a matter of seconds.
The look that they’ve perfected is one of quiet servitude, all the while they are plotting their revenge. Secretive and natural manipulators, they use your own comments against you. They use the docile, hurt puppy-dog look at you. When you dodge that defense, they become cruel tormentors with biting words that cut you like a thousand knives stabbing you in the heart all at once. That’s on a good day.
Boys generally avoid confrontation at all costs. If a serious conversation promises to extend longer than an hour, odds are the boy’ll bail before it gets to that point. You, as a parent’ll win based on time-constraints alone.
If I’ve missed any of the steps, I’m sure that I will discover more as I go along trying to raise Carlos’ daughter, Sara. She is the challenge of a lifetime. Stay tuned…