I am a brought-up boy (kind of)

A reaction to Fiona Woos article about bringing up boys.

I had a normal upbringing; heterosexual parents, an older brother, the occasional pet; nothing too big though. I was born, went to kindergarten; at least for a while, I did my time at school and whoosh, I am an adult.

Or am I? When are we adults? Is there a fixed point? How do we collectively, as a society, define “being an adult”? What made you become one?

For me, as a 31-year-old boy, these questions are not answered completely.

I guess I’m an adult (legally). I’m independent … I am not reliant on my parents anymore. I rely on a globally operating company now instead. I pay bills, I take care of my laundry and shopping myself. That must make me an adult, right?

But what about the elderly? They often become dependent again. Does that make them children? Do we all go back to being children after having reached the peak of being an adult (Benjamin Button style)?

But wait – if the milestones mentioned above are not markers for adulthood, it must be the upbringing that makes us grown-ups. Aren’t we all brought up differently? Girls and boys are being brought up differently.

Aren’t women generally the ones that bring up boys and girls for the bigger part (speaking from a western perspective)?

I think that women are intentionally only bringing up girls to be adults, and leave us “men” behind to be able to mock us later in life, to say to us (men) that we are like boys. Or do they make us a “work in progress” to keep themselves from being bored?

That brings me to the point that being an adult means that we get stripped of our playfulness and childish curiosity. The more serious you are, the better you adult. It is like a high score to be reached. Except, to me, not being “allowed” to be playful feels like a low score. 

Boys tinker/play around more than girls. They try stuff out, they invent as a byproduct. It is this playfulness that often drives their partner mad. But that drive to play keeps us (together) going forward. Maybe women are here to keep us in check, from drifting too far back onto the playground; a symbiosis in between the sexes that evolves into something bigger.

 

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