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Don't Blame Boys

July 14, 2015
by Shasta Kaselek , OVParent

My daughter is a screamer. She is so loud that our neighbors said they knew it was spring when they heard her screaming outside. I apologized because I was embarrassed and laughed because it was true.

People give me all kinds of theories about why she screams. The one that ruffles my feathers is, "She screams because she has two older brothers." No, she doesn't. Why do people insist on blaming my boys for her bad behavior?

Blame me if you have to blame someone, but not them. I raise my voice too much. My boys can be loud, but they don't scream in anger. They climb, run, explore, ask tons of questions, and can be rough and tumble. They can be gross. As I was writing this, one of my sons opened the living room door and peed on our patio, instead of walking 15 feet to the bathroom. (I wanted to scream at him, but I didn't. I gave him a bucket and a brush and made him clean it.) They also irritate her, but mostly they are kind older brothers, little gentlemen-in-the-making who occasionally pee in inappropriate places.

I don't get easily offended by comments people make. I've heard them all. "You sure have your hands full!" "Wow, they are close together." "Are you going to have any more?" I believe people are well-meaning.

The only comments that bother me are the ones that make my sons feel like boys are bad and girls are good. The classic one is when people see my children together and say to me, "Two boys then a girl. You finally got your girl!"

I politely say loud enough for my sons to hear, "Yes, I love having a girl, but I love having boys. Boys are awesome!"

Unveiling my true feelings, my daughter's screaming is disappointing to me. When my sons were toddlers, I observed girls at the park. They all seemed to play neatly in the sand and line up their toys in color-coordinated rows. I thought all girls were like that.

I should have known better because, like my daughter, I was the baby of the family with two older brothers. I understand my daughter and the role she was born into. She feels like the only way to be as big as her brothers is to have a big voice. I felt the same way as a little girl. Yet, her brothers didn't teach her to scream, just like my brothers didn't teach me to scream.

We are all born into a position from which we have to navigate, a starting point from which we view the world. We can't blame others for the path we choose to take from there. I've been teaching her about controlling her own behavior and her own tongue. I will not allow her to blame her brothers for her behavior, and I won't allow other people to blame them either.

Shasta Kaselek is a St. Clairsville native who lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with her husband, two sons and daughter. Her email address is



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