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It's not easy being a kid

boy; girl;


Many children say that being a kid is not easy! You are always too small or too young to do what you'd like to do and by the time you've grown you've often gone off doing something that you had wanted to do or found it was not as much fun as you thought!

it can be confusing being a kidAdults do rule your life and keeping to the rules they set can be very confusing, as different adults may have different rules, and rules can be different in different places - rules at school may be different to those at home for example.

While you are a kid you need to get an education, learn all sorts of facts and skills, learn how to get on with people and how to cope with your growing body. It can be confusing when some people have different ideas on how girls and boys should behave.

It's a sad fact that some kids are not treated well. If you or a friend feel unsafe have a look at this topic Keeping yourself safe from child abuse.

In the olden days

Have you ever heard this old rhyme?

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice!
What are little boys made of?
Rats and snails and puppy dogs tails!!

This is the shortened version but you can get the message can't you?

  • In the 'olden days', girls were expected to be all sweet and nice and boys were expected to be tough and manly. 
  • mum expecting a babyIt was ok for girls to cry but not for boys.
  • It was ok for boys to be educated but girls didn't need to be because they were expected to be 'just a wife and mother'!
  • Boys were expected to be the worker and provider for the family.
  • Girls may have worked before they were married but afterwards they were expected to stay home and look after the family.
  • Boys were expected to do 'manly' jobs at home like gardening, but it was the girls who had to help out with the cooking, washing and cleaning.

Being a kid nowadays

Nowadays both girls and boys have the right to an education and are able to go to university or train for any career they are interested in.

  • Jobs which have been traditionally only for men, including mining and engineering, now employ women who have the training and ability to do the work.
  • Jobs which were traditionally for women like nursing, hairdressing and secretarial work are often done by men.
  • There are many families where both parents go out to work.
  • In some families it is the man who takes care of the household while the woman goes out to work.
  • In many families both men and women share all the jobs around the home and kids get to learn how to do housework, cook and shop.
  • Sports which have been traditionally for men now have women's teams eg soccer and cricket, and many young women learn kick boxing.
  • Many young men take up dancing - ballet, jazz, rap or acrobatics as a form of fitness or go to aerobics as well as weight training classes at the gym.

So should everything be a lot easier for boys and girls nowadays? We asked some kids that question and this is what they said.

What's tough about being a boy?

* "We are expected to do the hard jobs/ manual labour." it's tough being a boy
* "Males have a shorter life expectancy than females."
* "Boys are expected to spend more time outside than girls."
* "Have to do dirtier jobs."
* "It can be tough being a dad."
* "Forced to do boring things like go shopping."
* "Not trusted by our mothers."
* "Have to wait around while females get ready."
* "Always the "bad guys" in movies."
* "Boys are not expected to show when they are hurt."
* "Boys have to shave."
* "Males are expected to buy expensive presents."
* "Boys often get the blame at school." boys are expected to be interested in sport
* "Have to suffer through girls nagging" (girls comment "because they never listen in the first place!" Ooh naughty!)
* "It's expected that boys will be interested in sport but it's hard if you're not."
* "Bigger boys bully you if you are a quieter kid."

It's not easy being a girl

* "We are all expected to look our best at all times." have to look my best
* "We have periods and give birth."
* "We are expected to be nice and sweet all the time."
* "Some males treat females like items not people."
* "There is a greater threat of violence against females."
* "Males forget anniversaries etc and so females don't get good presents."

"It takes a longer time for a girl to get ready."

* "It's harder to save money because there are more things for girls to spend it on."
* "Girls have to wax/shave legs, underarms etc." it takes time for a girl to get ready
* "It takes a lot longer to do your hair."
* "Girls have more body image issues."
* "Girls can be really bitchy to each other."
* "It is more expensive being a girl."
* "Girls can do almost any job but they have to be really excellent if it's in a traditionally male area."

My mum has a job and we kids all have our jobs to do at home. My brother is older than me but I have to do more jobs. It's not fair.

What some other kids said

  • "Sometimes we have to concentrate for a long time in school without a break."
  • "Some kids find it hard to be active with electronic games around."
  • "Some kids are bullied a lot."
  • "Some kids find it hard to get noticed."
  • "Some kids are not loved."
  • "Some kids are yelled at."
  • "Sometimes people expect too much and this makes it hard for kids."
  • "Smaller kids can be bullied or ignored by larger kids."
  • "It can be hard to listen when other kids are being distracting."
  • "You have more responsibility the older you get."
  • "In some countries kids are forced to work and don't have enough to eat." 
  • Some kids are not looked after properly at home.
  • I'm the tallest in my class. Adults always expect me to behave like I'm older and more sensible than my friends.

Dr Kim and Dr Kate say

Drs Kate and KimThese comments came from kids in year 6 and 7. Our writer was impressed that everyone was treated with respect by all the other kids in the class whether their comment was serious or fun. If we all respect each other then it doesn't matter if you are male or female. We are all individuals, we all have our bad times and good times, we all have our talents, interests, difficulties and issues and we can all make the most of our lives.

If you are part of a family then learning how to do things around the house, even if they are 'boring' is a good training for when you are an adult and let's not forget that the adults in your life deserve to have some fun times too!  If everyone works together then you are all able to spend more time relaxing together.

It's a sad fact that some kids are not treated well. They may be treated badly in their homes. They may be unhappy at their schools. They may be bullied by other kids. They may feel unsafe and unloved. If you or your friends are feeling like that then talk to your trusted adults.

You can also call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or write to them via their website

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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