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The boy child THROWS everything: difference between girls & boys?

I have the very unique position of being the only co-foundress mama, of the four, who has offspring of varied gender.  All the other three co-foundress urbanMamas have three boys each.  Me: two girls and a little boy.

Our sweet little angel of a boy is fast approaching two, and his pitch is fast approaching 100mph.  He loves to chuck stuff and his hands are becoming heavy: topple his yogurt bowl when he's all done, throw a little racecar at you to signal he wants to play, give you a little love slap on the face when he's overcome with glee.

When the girls were little toddlers, they kind of just sat, fiddled with their fingers or small objects (not trying to haul a full garbage can clear across the room), drew on the paper (not on the cabinets or walls as I discovered our boy child doing yesterday), sitting in their chairs when done eating (not standing up the chair after done and preparing to launch/jump right out).  Our boy has more energy, heavier hands.

Do you have a toddler boy?  See similar qualities?  Do you have both boys & girls & have the opportunity to compare & contrast?  Is it a gender thing?  Finally: how do you use positive discipline, unconditional parenting or other calm techniques to say: "STOP THROWING!"?


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Not sure I have any help for the issue of teaching kids not to throw things, but I think this is a personality issue not a gender issue. I have an older sister who was very similar as a child to the way you describe your girls. I, on the other hand, still a girl, acted a lot like a "boy." My mom says that if I'd been a boy, she'd have attributed all the differences to gender. Since I was a girl, she came to see that it was more about personality, and that there is a wide spectrum of behavior for each gender, with a lot of overlap.

My son and his cousin--only two months apart in age--are also a good example of non-gendered differences. My son was exuberantly active and tended to express himself physically (and not always in a gentle way). His cousin was far more sedentary and verbal.

So I wouldn't subscribe to the "he's just a boy so this behavior is inevitable and therefore acceptable camp." But at the same time, I would understand that this is how he sees the world and his place in it--painting on his canvas with large strokes, so to speak. Any approach to dealing with behavior that doesn't suit your family has to meet him where he is and then show him more appropriate ways to communicate and address himself.

Yes, I have two boys and they are so different...one very calm and gentle, the other, the type to throw each food item on the floor, or at us, at a rapid pace to show us he was done. Both wonderful in their own ways...

So yeah, I agree with J...

I would also caution against labeling it a boy thing. My oldest, a girl, is by far the most rowdy, volatile, and physical of my three kids. She is also exceptionally smart, inquisitive, and can also be quite sweet. But really her behavior is much more what you describe as "boy" and always has been. She is not a snuggly kid. She's more likely play in the dirt with cars than play dress up. Her friends at school are boys, not girls. Go figure.

I have another girl, who is quite, um, "girly". She wears dresses every day, and could spend the entire day playing with her polly pockets and tinkerbells. She is calm, talkative...oh so talkative. I easily see her with a phone strapped to her ear 24/7 as a teenage fashionista.

My son, while also quite inquisitive, is a marriage of his sisters' personalities. He has a dry sense of humor, and is very good with fine motor skills - way ahead of where he "should" be. He's also very kind, empathetic, and a rule follower - much moreso than his sisters. He'll zoom around making race car noises, but he is not destructive in the way his sister is. And he is super cuddly.

Anyway...I I think some of it comes down to nurture - there is definitely a social component to gender identity. But, much of it is also personality. My girls are as different as night and day. I've parented them the same, so some of it is definitely genetic!

As for how to parent them - I would lay down the behavioral expectations and stick to them, boy or girl. And, positively reinforce the behavior you like. When he does something that's too rough, like dumping his yogurt bowl, hand him a towel to clean up after himself, and show him how to take his bowl to the kitchen. There is not a "no" about it, just showing him the consequences (make a mess, clean it up) just like you would any other kid.

While there's no question part of it is personality (and as noted above there are docile boys and aggressive girls), there is also, without question, that "boy" element. Though your son appears to be venturing there pretty early. Normally that "boy wild" comes out around 3 or 4ish.

At least it's the boy, so he'll fit nicely into the mold your elementary school will try and plug him into in a few years. In my case they're all at wit's end over why my non-athletic girly-girl also has a strong, assertive nature---because THAT doesn't fit into their particular view.

I have a toddler boy and have found timeouts are useful (I sit him on a mat, and the length is 2 min-as he's 2. If he was 3, he'd be in timeout 3 min). Could be a boy thing, but at times, he tests me, as yours does. Also found giving him natural consequences- say, if he throws a toy, you tell him to stop, and he continues- toy is taken away. If he spills his yogurt, you clean it up, and he does it again, he's done eating. He's testing those limits! : )

I have a girl, so won't even speculate on that.
Have successfully used Love & Logic techniques to allow consequences for undesirable behaviors.

Neighbor with boys found Happiest Toddler on the Block very, very useful when their younger boy was 2-ish -- so much of his struggle seemed to be that his language skills could not keep up with his desire to communicate & they were seeing frustration behaviors. Voicing his frustration made an immediate change in his behaviors, and now at 3, he is able to vocalize what he could not at 2.

My son is 18 months, and definitely loves to throw things. He also flails his arms around and hits things. He gets such joy from it all! When he is flailing and hitting, I tell him "please don't hit mama, it hurts mama when you hit. Instead, hit the bed". He usually starts rolling around on the bed and flailing his arms. We have instigated a game where he runs from room to room, hits a bed, and then goes and hits another bed. It allows him to learn to get out his energy without hurting anyone. As far as the throwing, I try to tell him what he can't throw, but then give him something that he is allowed to throw. Sometimes we encourage him in a throwing game of soft toys/things. It makes him so happy!

I have a boy and a girl and both acted like your boy! I thought that was just how toddlers behaved. I signed my daughter up for a half day Montessori toddler class and she kept trying to break out of the classroom. Once she was so excited to show me something she hit me in the face and chipped my front tooth. Both walked at nine months and were maniacs. Both are now well behaved honor students in high school but I still remember feeling like I was in a circus at times. I guess they grew out of it at about three or so?

Show him what he can throw and where. "We don't throw stones at people,we can throw them at the ground.". Name the desire for him, "You want to jumP off the couch. Let's jump over here together.". Help stretch out the feelings that he is making known with his body. "You are and that I said no. You want to do it right now.". Redirecting, helping give language to feelings/ experience and providing kind and firm limits. Also, coming together when acting in a way that is not ok; not time outs, but sitting together, connecting and letting him go back to independence when he is calmer bc you shared your calmness with him. This seems to work whether 2 or 16.

My 2.5 year old girl sounds very similar to your boy. Sounds like a personality thing though I do think girls tend to be more verbal so communication is a lot easier. Energy level and craziness though is girl OR boy.

We have a rule in our house. If you throw something that shouldn't be thrown, it goes on top of the fridge for a week, end of story. It works. I wish other aspects of discipline were so clear!

15-mo-old DD loves to haul huge things across the floor - chairs, trash cans, whatever - and does throw many things and say her favorite phrase: "uh-oh!" No discipline around it of any kind, just managing and anticipating. :-)

I've got two boys who both behaved very similarly--always climbing, running, jumping, throwing, etc. Not necessarily rambunctious our destructive, but just very physical. We'd go to the park and other kids were happy to sit and dig in the sand, my boys were 15 months old and climbing to the very top of the climbing structures! They climbed onto everything, climbed out of cribs at 15-16 months old, etc. For years I envied Mamas with children who sat quietly looking at books or really studying things carefully. For years we didn't eat out at restaurants because we couldn't keep anyone seated at the table for a long period of time. For years I was physically exhausted at the end of each day from literally chasing them around all day. They are now nearly 4 and 6, and while still very active and extremely athletic, much calmer. They are both happy to sit for long periods of time coloring, playing with play-dough, building Legos, etc. And I'm much less tired at the end of the day!

As for throwing things, we found that when they were little and threw something, we would tell them that balls are for throwing and hand them a ball. We taught them sign language so that they could communicate if they wanted more or when they were all done with something. We're recent converts to Love & Logic, but I agree that a lot of those principles would probably come in handy with kids his age. So much of it too, is managing your own reaction to the situation--I know my kids often did stuff to see what our reaction would be, so if we didn't want it to happen again, we tried to ignore or deal with it as calmly as possible.

If you notice a pattern of when he's inclined to throw, jump, etc, like after he's done eating, anticipate it and redirect him *before* the action. I know it's hard to stay on top of (and with two other kids possibly impossible) but after enough days of "It looks like you're done eating, do you want to take your plate to the kitchen and run around in the backyard for a bit." He might adopt the new rhythms as his own.

Two boys, one was a thrower and the other wasn't. The thrower threw EVERYTHING, seemingly randomly. He'd just fling! It was almost like a tic, like he didn't know he was doing it, and was that way for a long time. In fact, he really didn't know he was doing it sometimes. He grew out of it.

My oldest girl threw a lot of things when she was 2 and 3. I wouldn't try to curtail the throwing, just what she threw. Whenever she started throwing things I would tell her that we don't throw hard things and then I would give her something soft to throw or we'd go outside and toss a ball around. Because she IS a girl, I wanted to make sure that she didn't get the message that being athletic and assertive was bad which is why I never told her to stop throwing.
She eventually grew out of it and now I hear her tell her younger sister that we don't throw hard things. Good luck!

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