Monday, September 7, 2009

Mars and Venus

Remember the book by Dr. John Gray, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? The idea was that men and women have different emotional needs and different ways of communicating (and expressing) those needs -- and that by learning to communicate with our partners in ways they can understand, we can improve our relationships.

As a mom of four boys, I've thought about that book a lot. There are some things I just don't get about boys, like their constant need to fight or their biologically-based inability to hold a stick without swinging it. I understand some of those things now, thanks to to experience, reflection and a slew of books about boys, but I don't get it. I will never intuitively think like a boy and I've wondered at time whether or not my inability to see the world through male eyes might inhibit my relationship with my sons.

I've often thought there should be a Mars/Venus book aimed at parents of opposite sex children.

Dr. Robyn Silverman, a child and adolescent development specialist I've had the pleasure of interviewing in the past, recently penned a wonderful article on just that topic, Daddy's Little Girl and Mommy's Little Boy: Bonding with your Opposite Gendered Child. Among her suggestions:
  • Take the cultural labels with a grain of salt. Best line: "Don't let anyone taint your relationship with your opposite gendered child."
  • Open up communication. Best line: "Just because you might not understand some of the things your opposite-sex child is interested in doesn’t mean you can’t. "
  • Treat your child with kindness and expect the same back. Best line: "Character does not need to be sacrificed in lieu of self expression."

For more tips, check out her full article. Then drop me a line and let me know how you bond with your son.


  1. What this tells me is that you and your boys are learning a lot from each other.

  2. Great post!

    I bond with my boys through cuddling, hugs, and telling them how much I love and appreciate them. I don't understand a lot of what they do, particularly my BOY boy, who loves to catch and play with toads and spends hours building things with his Legos, but I love seeing how different they are from what I'm used to. It's a truly unique experience for me, who grew up with 2 sisters.

  3. I guess growing up as a tomboy prepared me for mothering boys becuase it didn't occur to me that some moms might have trouble relating to their sons. I guess I should feel blessed.