My four year old son hates boys. Or maybe it’s not hate as much as it is terror. It took awhile to notice it because at first he was around either one kid at a time, almost always a boy, or in a huge group where he had no interaction with any of the kids. When the sweet, goofy Parker sat on Simon’s bed when they were three year olds, Simon lunged for him and started shouting and wailing. When the 1 1/2 year old girl across the street sat next to Simon on a couch, he scooted away, but calmly. He had a sort of conversation with Genevieve, held hands with her and Ophelia, and recently played hide and seek with a girl in the park. The few kids we invited to Simon’s fourth birthday party were all girls.
Last night at Pause, Simon started running in a circle with a sister and brother, each kid chasing and being chased. Simon swerved out of the circle any time the boy was running behind Simon. The girl could be behind him, not the little boy. The only trouble we had all night was when we were wrapping up and the little guy came over and touched Simon, and Simon shoved him off.
We were talking about Simon’s boy trouble that night, and what it might be that angers or scares him about boys. It could be that the young boys he’s been around have been louder, more aggressive, or more hands on with him, though if so I don’t remember. It could be that even a four year old holds the idea that boys are the strong, loud, rough gender and girls are kinder and safer. Or it could be that he expects all boys to act the way he does, being a boy himself.
Being an avoider, rough kids are terrifying to Simon. He must be constantly on edge, watching to be sure he’s not touched, that no one gets angry or hurt, that he can get away if he needs to. If he associates boys with roughness, it follows that he’d dislike them. It’s entirely possible that it’s another reason entirely, but if so, it hasn’t occurred to me yet.
We just got started with county based early intervention in our home, and as Simon has an Occupational Therapist he adores, we’ll focus on the social, behavioral issues with the visiting teacher. He’s in the autism category for special needs through the district, and this boy hating might be something they have a grasp on.
As a child with undiagnosed SPD and Asperger’s-like social difficulty, I distinctly remember avoiding all kids, and disliking girls more and more as I got older. For me it was social, I didn’t fit in with girls but most girls got along with each other. Girls were mean in the way they look down on you and exclude you. Boys just ignored me, or were abrupt and I could just move on. Is it a feature of the particular brand of SPD and autistic tendencies my son and I share? Is it social conditioning or a family trait, or just a funny coincidence of social circles?
It may be that a distaste for the male gender doesn’t affect his life much, if he makes the social progress he needs to make with the girls in his life, though limiting the pool for those that can befriend an awkward, often rigid child probably won’t do him any favors. It may also be that the boy trouble fades and I find myself wishing for a few less y chromosomes in my life. In the meantime, we’ll just helping me relate to whoever he can, and help him build the skills he needs to get along.