Dad's Diary: 'There I was, conforming to the sort of gender bias I was seeking to avoid'

Nature or nurture? It's the perennial teaser that sociologists and psychologists, parents, politicians and even the police have posed when trying to understand the behaviour, or sadly more usually the misbehaviour, of young people.

And it's a question I can't help but ponder myself – almost on a daily basis – as I observe the constantly evolving character traits of my young son.

Krishan is now almost three and a half years old, and over the past few months I've observed a radical change in the way that he treats both me and my partner.

From when he was born up until a few months ago, Krishan would always run to his mum for solace. If ever he stubbed one of his tiny toes, tripped over a toy or just got frustrated with something through lack of sleep, he'd always seek salvation in her arms. If ever I even attempted to comfort him, he'd turn away, sometimes even lashing out in the process.

The parameters were quite clearly defined – whenever anything went wrong, whenever he was tired, in fact any time that he felt out of his toddler comfort zone he'd go to her.

But now things have changed – specifically, his attitude towards me. Where before he'd actively seek my partner out, now he seems just as happy (on the majority of occasions) to be consoled by me. Obviously, mum still tops the "cuddles pecking order", but at least dad now registers on the scale.

What warms my heart the most is the way that he waits for me to come home. Nowadays, he genuinely seems delighted to see his dad, and he's clearly aware that there are some things he can do with me that he can't with my partner.

He knows that with me he can wrestle and play fight. But my partner is certainly not in the least bit happy to have our three-year-old attempt to punch her on the nose (however playfully).

This "male-ness" has certainly started to rise to the top in recent months. Where before he would happily run around playing with anything, now his toys and games have taken on a more masculine flavour.

When he was much younger, Krishan used to enjoy pushing around a baby's pushchair. At first, my male ego was appalled – that my son was playing with what usually is a girl's toy. But no sooner had I conjured these thoughts than I was ashamed to have them. There I was, conforming to the sort of gender bias that as a balanced parent I was seeking to avoid. And, more to the point, didn't I spend half my time pushing him around in a pushchair anyway? Surely a pushchair is not an innately feminine article?

Now, on most days, our flat looks like a miniature car-wrecking yard. There are toy cars of all shapes and sizes littering the floor. Visitors have to be careful where they tread – you could risk life, limb or (perhaps, worse) a toddler's wrath if his prized HotWheels suffers a busted axle from your misplaced foot.

So where does he get this love of four-wheeled vehicles from? Admittedly, some of his first cars came from an uncle who'd safely squirrelled away his own prized childhood collection in his parents' attic.

But it's not just toys – he loves fire engines, police cars, dumper trucks, even the dustbin lorry. And if we're on the motorway and pass some roadworks with their assorted maintenance vehicles, the squeals of joy from his car seat can be deafening.

In fact, it almost – almost – makes up for the disruption in the journey. It certainly makes those maddening cone-counting moments pass more easily.

So is this nature coming to the fore? Is there some deep-seated petrol/large vehicle love affair lying dormant inside all little boy genes?

Perhaps we just have to accept that boys and girls are as polar opposite as the "sugar and spice" and "puppy-dog tales" from those old nursery rhymes. And any attempt to try to change this internal chemistry is futile.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

    C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

    Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

    £55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

    Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

    Day In a Page

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?