Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Inside the Mind of the Boy Dating Your Daughter

This is a "catch-up" article and it follows my preoccupation with "gender roles" (but it is a bit annoying that I am harvesting the New York Times so heavily).

Contrary to stereotype, a new report suggests that boys are motivated more by love and a desire to form real relationships with the girls they date.

“Let’s give boys more credit,'’ said study author Andrew Smiler, an assistant professor of psychology at SUNY-Oswego. “Although some of them are just looking for sex, most boys are looking for a relationship. Adolescence can often be a lonely time, and for many boys, girls represent needed companionship."

“Many boys are yearning to talk to somebody, but they can’t talk to their boy friends because it’s all teasing and a lot of competitiveness,” he said. “For many boys who have been a little bit lonely in the boy group, finally meeting a girl and talking to her is a huge relief.”

Dr. Smiler said parents should talk to boys and girls and try to teach them about both romantic and platonic relationships, how to develop and maintain them, how to deal with ups and downs and how to forgive and regain trust. [my emphasis added]

Sound advice! Perhaps if I had understood this better I would still be married (albeit to a different person).

A follow-up article provided further discussion, but widespread skepticism by adult readers was worrisome according to psychologists and may have more to do with adult fathers fears, driving boys to ultimately fulfill our low expectations of them.

“The stereotype reduces boys to one-dimensional beings who just want sex and nothing else,” said Andrew Smiler, an assistant professor of psychology at SUNY-Oswego and author of the recent study. “But there are certainly other things boys want. They want to play baseball. They want good grades and to go to good colleges. But if we insist all boys want is sex, in any context, that’s one dimensional, and it really limits boys and how we think of boys.

I believe this is a more accurate representation of young male teen emotional aspirations than "feminists" would prefer us to believe as it destroys their arguement that "men are sexual predators" from birth. It also matches my distant recollection of that time of my life.

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