Raising Sensitive Boys: Difficult conversations with toddlers

raising sensitive boys

Conversations with your little ones can evoke a million emotions in you especially when you are raising sensitive boys. There is somehow a stigma around boys being sensitive because it deviates from the “boys will be boys” concept that has become so widely accepted.

My three-year-old, Zaviar, likes to draw and we often talk about what he draws before or after he’s done. The other day, he wanted to draw Nemo and his family. He said he was also going to draw Nemo’s mother. I asked him if he thought that was a good idea since Nemo didn’t really meet his mother, she died before he even opened his eyes.

raising sensitive boys

So the conversation that followed broke my heart. It was hardly one minute but it really shook me. These sensitive little beings are going to have to live in this world. They’re going to have to deal with so much more than sharks eating fish. He was so upset while it dawned on him how the shark would have eaten Nemo’s mother.

“How did the shark eat her Ama?” He asked and then his eyes grew wide and glassy as realisation struck.

“Did she break?” He asked with anguish.

I hadn’t even thought of how it would impact him because I had seen the movie and showed it to him too and I didn’t even think on these lines. Yes I know I did think the death would be something I’d have to explain and we did discuss it but this just before his drawing was so random. And that too so long after having watched the movie. It had just dawned on him how she must have been ripped apart. And his face… I just wanted to drop everything and hug him. I didn’t know what to say to him. So all I could say was I don’t know.

These are the boys we are raising. Sweet sensitive boys who are appalled at the idea of someone or even something imaginary getting hurt. How do they stop being this way? How do they stop being sensitive?

Some time ago, I was thinking of making him start watching superhero movies like so many other children his age. My son doesn’t like violence at all so I didn’t know how to start but I still thought I should. He does watch PJ Masks but that’s the extent of it. He knows Batman fights the bad guys because he has a Batman figure. So according to him, “Batman and God save people”. Yes, in the same sentence. He knows batman is ‘only pretend’ but children are like that. There’s a very fine line between their imagination and reality.

He also has one of those Mc Donald’s Megatron toys. I’ve told him that it’s not a good character and that the transformers are the good ones and they fight with him. “Why did God make the Megatron toy Ama? Why are there scary toys like this?” (We have told him God has made everything so he takes it literally).

There are so many such questions that I have no answer to. I wonder where they change. When do they stop being so sensitive? When do they stop taking others’ feelings into consideration? And when do these sweet little boys stop empathizing? What is that one thing that was done with the men causing all the drama these days that we need to avoid doing with our children? How can we stop the cycle? It surely can’t be the ‘boys will be boys’ crap. Even if we take our religion into consideration, there is no better example than Prophet Mohammed (SAW) and he was nothing like what “boys will be boys” implies.

Can we please all take a moment and just think about this? Even if everyone just lets this sink in, it could bring around a revolution. It would change so many things like the fact that this trait would become a common trait and sensitivity wouldn’t have a gender specific role. We would be raising boys and not raising sensitive boys and it would be the same thing.

Farwah Shah

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