November 19, 2017

Boys Fight

According to Google, this is a commonly searched for phrase.  And if anyone understands why, I do.

Boys fight. They just do.

I have had countless discussions with mothers of “mixed gender” families (meaning they have both boys and girls in their family) over the years about this.  Many of them have expressed to me that girls fight, too.  They say that their girls fight with their brothers just like their boys fight.  Well, honestly, (and obviously) I couldn’t tell you about brother/sister interaction since our children are all boys.  But I am convinced that the fighting is of a different nature.

Boys are testosterone-filled machines.  They are made to destroy things, to chop things down, to shoot stuff, pound stuff, see how much power they have over stuff, smash stuff, and ultimately to FIGHT.  They have a need to see who around them they can wrestle down.  Who they can defeat.  Whose fort can they destroy.

And when those boys all live under the same roof with no sisters in the mix to soften things up a bit, it is all brute, all day long.

I can hear some moms snickering when they read the words “sisters in the mix to soften things up a bit”, because I have seen their girls, and I know they know how to play rough and shoot a gun and all those things.

But there IS a difference.  It’s inherent.  Innate.

Girls are wired with femininity that boys simply do NOT possess.  Some girls may be more dainty or more rowdy, and either way, their presence in a room full of boys is the same.

Boys are wired with masculinity that girls (even if they’re rowdy girls) do NOT possess.  The affect that even one or two girls has on a group of boys is amazing.  Boys will suddenly become aware of something, even at younger ages.  There is a lady in the room.  A damsel.  She is to be regarded as such and may or may not wish to be wrestled down, pummeled, punched, smashed or shot at.  And even if she does think those activities are fun, a boy is hesitant to be so rough with or around her.  The affect she has on the room, even if a mother doesn’t say a word in effort to protect her, is that the girl softens the masculinity, even if just a bit.

But once she leaves the room?  The game is back on.

If you don’t believe me, just come on over and watch.

I’m not saying girls don’t fight.  And I’m not saying sisters don’t fight with sisters.  I have two sisters and we did fight some.

But I never threatened to kill one of them.  I never tackled one of them and punched them until they saw stars.  Neither one of them ever tried to strangle me or chase me down to throw a baseball or a soccer ball at my face, or to kick me in the crotch.

I’ve seen brothers fight.  And that’s how they do it.

If you’ve read this blog for very long at all, you’ve read about how these boys’ fighting wears me out.  And that is why.

It’s the level of intensity associated with having boy on top of boy on top of boy on top of boy on top of boy…….

There’s no, “hey, watch out for Sister!” or any offering of femininity to add to the room (besides mine and that’s a different topic).

It’s just all boy.  All brute.

My point?  Fighting among all boys, especially all brothers,  is of a different nature.  It’s intense. (Ever seen The Lord of the Flies?)

Some days, the boys are too busy to fight.  We have things to do, places to go, they’re content and get along.

But some days, I cry out to God asking who He thinks I am to be able to handle this amount of men under one roof, at THIS level of intensity.  I admit that before we found out the gender of our eighth baby, I truly did not believe I could handle another boy in the mix.  Beyond my desire to raise a young lady for the Lord, to train her and even get “girly” time with her, I just couldn’t see how I could handle one more boy’s worth of testosterone around here.

And somehow, the day of the sonogram, I just knew.

I was to handle ANOTHER boy’s worth of testosterone around here.

Somehow, God saw that I was/am capable of mothering a bunch of little men.

Soft, flowery, butterfly mama, I wish to be.  And most days, I feel like drill sergeant, staunch, military mama to a troop of unruly soldiers.

And in the deep recesses of my heart, I could hear, “Embrace it.”

“Embrace who I’ve created you to be.  Embrace all that comes with it.  It’s hard and messy work, but I’ve had this planned for a long time for your life.”

And the eighth boy….oh how I can’t wait to see him, cuddle him and kiss him.

I’ll enjoy his babyhood as I have with each boy.  Because it does last a while….the phase in which they haven’t figured out yet just HOW to manifest their innate masculinity.

The time comes soon enough when they do figure it out.  And they join the ranks, too.

In the meantime, to manage the boys’ fighting, I do two things:

  • Remember that they’re BOYS.
  • Try to train them not to act like they are actors in a Lord of the Flies scene.

Do your boys fight?  If you have daughters, do they fight with their brothers?

This post is linked to High Five Moms.  Please visit them to read more about sibling rivalry and how they handle it in their homes.


  1. I love this, Brandy! I have one boy and two girls. The do fight with each other, but it is different to what I have witnessed when boys fight together!

    One thing that amazes me about boys is how they can fight and get over it. Girls often hang on to a grudge much longer.

  2. Thank you for this post. I have two boys and a third on the way. The only female in the house other then me is our dog! Its so nice to read your posts and know I am not the only one who feels overwhelmed by the boys …. even though I only have 3 and you have 8!

  3. I was the oldest growing up. My mom married when I was 6. I think being alone for so long, never lived by my school friends, always told to not wake sleeping babies…I tried recreating that life when my boys were born. Then I read a lovely book from the men’s group at my church, it changed my family’s life. (I think it was called Wild Heart, wish I could find the title) I learned that children are not meant to be quite and sit still. It’s in boys blood to be rough and tough basicly. It was thinking about how men lived before modern conviences that changed my way of thinking. I’m just glad I learned this now so that I can raise my boys to be men…and wonderful husbands!

    • I believe the book that you are referring to is called Wild At Heart by John Eldridge and I highly recommend it, too. It was also one of the books that changed the way I think about parenting boys. 🙂

      • Yes, that’s the book! I couldn’t put it down. My boys are all happier since I’ve read it! There’s so much I could say, but you have boys too 🙂

  4. Yes, boys fight. For any and every reason. They fight to defend, in anger, and for fun. As a only child, it took me a long time to come to terms with it. My husband repeatedly told me that it’s just what boys do and that they will survive it and be the best of friends when they are grown.

    I also savor the baby years, knowing that they will eventually join their brothers and be rough and rowdy more often than sweet and tender.

  5. We have 3 boys and Oh My do they fight, I am also pregnant with baby #4 so it will interesting to see how it goes if the baby is a girl. I was one of 3 girls and we did fight a lot and we grew up on the farm so we were tough but it is so different with boys, I have the discusion with friends and they insist that their boys and girls fight yeah but have all boys close in age and its an entirely different kind of fight.

  6. I currently only have one girl (2.5 yo) but I really enjoyed this post anyway. 🙂

  7. I have to agree with you….boys are different….and made to be that way. Bless your heart! 7 boys and one on the way. We have 10 children. Five boys, Five girls. The boys do a lot of push ups at a certain age. Our boys are happiest (and so is mama) when they are working hard and tired. That makes us all very thankful. A boy that works hard is too tired to knit pick with his brothers.

    Our girls are tough ones…they learn to weld, shoot, fish, make their own fire, cook, clean, twirl knives and not cut themselves, throw knives….but they are certainly different. Feminine in their own way…..sweet.

    Our boys….well they are tough. They stink. They are strong. They are helpful using their strength to help Mama. They will make great husbands some day 🙂


  8. Brandy, I laughed out loud st this post. I have three boys and the constant fighting has been the biggest question mark for me in parenting these wild and wonderful boys. I am honestly unsure of how to deal with fighting. On one hand I know they are boys and I know fighting is inevitable. But on the other hand I feel a responsibility to society to civilize them somehow. My latest strategy when the fists starts flying is to send them outside (rain or shine) and tell them if they are going to fight to take it outside until they can work it out. It works every time! Then when they come in I make them kiss on the lips! If nothing else it makes them laugh. Please tell me what you do to maintain some peace with 7!! Your blog rocks, seriously.

  9. Such a fantastic post! I have six girls and three boys…and you’re right! The boys inherently know to soften up when the girls are around. My bigger girls are the sporty types, and love to rough house….but it’s nothing compared to my two older boys battling it out when the girls aren’t around. I can only imagine what it must be like with seven boys.

    When the weather doesn’t permit the kids to go out, I purposefully allow them to rough house INside just to expend energy. We have a very large, open living area, so it works well. Got to keep those boys worn out! 😉

  10. Oh goodness, Brandy.. When I was reading this, I heard the girls farting loudly, and laughing at each other and challenging each other to do it again. I think they would fit in well with boys! 🙂
    However, I think boys are totally different, and I completely agree! Girls fight, but they whine.. cry.. hold grudges (a constant battle).. etc..
    Last week they fought so much, I kept imagining what it would be like if they just tackled each other. Paige will take the opportunity to knock Tessa out, but then she cries.. I’ve learned that crying/whining for no reason, which is a girl thing, drives me up a wall.
    up. a. wall.
    This post encouraged me, even though you’re speaking of boys, and I’m speaking of girls! 🙂

  11. I have two boys 10 and 8 and a 2 1/2 year old girl and I promise you the fighting is so different with the boys. It is like watching a pack of lion cubs always trying to see who comes out on top. But the blessing is that when the chips are down and the world turns on one the other brother comes out strong to defend and support his brother. It amazes me how differently God made boys and girls and through my children I’ve come to better understand the relationship with my husband and my brother. What a blessing our kids are to us.

  12. Dara Hughes says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have three boys (4, 2, and 7 months). I could relate to your blog and God used it to encourage me.

  13. You couldn’t be more right on. Sometimes I think I’m going to rip my hair out. The fighting seems to start as soon as they walk in the door and end about an hour before bed. They eventually get it out, but only for the day!

  14. I agree that boys and girls fight differently, but they are equally exhausting! 🙂

  15. I loved this post! So very true! I grew up with all brothers, and now I have all sons, so I definitely know how boys fight! 🙂

  16. Thank you so much for this post. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one dealing with fighting. I have four boys and they seem to make everything a competition. It is tiring and sometimes I question if I can handle. Thank you for your honesty. You are such an inspiration to me to keep on. I know that God has a reason for giving us this gift of all boys. Hope you can dodge the swords and gun today. 🙂

  17. i just found your blog and i want to run over and HUG you! I have 4 boys and yes, they fight! my friends with girls just DO NOT GET IT!! There are days when I just don’t think I’m going to make it through, so thank you for reminding me I am not alone.

  18. Hi there, mom of 4 – 3 boys and a princess…… boys scrap and roughhouse a bit, but not crazy… sister and I however, we were brutal! fistfuls of hair, throwing knives, brushes to the head…..I don’t know how we survived to be the best of friends!

  19. Thank you for the post.. I get so overwhelmed with my boys ..Like I told you before I am also on #8 but I had girl , boy, girl, boy,ect.. all the way down .. so I am on boy.. But I was so hoping for a girl.. even though I knew with my “perfect pattern” I had a great chance of it being a boy and I struggled inwardly when they said “yep it’s a BOY,” I thought, Lord I can not handle another boy… My boys are a handful, and to make it worse, friends with girls or boys that are not as energetic as mine, are always reminding me, how wild my boys are..They are not out of control and unruly, JUST BOYS… I grew up with all girls and my girls are so different as they should be.. But I’m just not used to boys.. My husband was the only boy on both sides of his entire family.. To get to the point.. it’s just nice to know others have good boys that are JUST ALL BOYS!! I needed this encouragement and I am so looking forward to holding my new little boy in the weeks to come..

  20. J R Wadlund says:

    Just came from a Boy Scout meeting with my 3 boys, 14, and 12 year old twins. They were perfect gentlemen, until we got in the car! Punching, f-bombs, and a “bar-room
    Brawl” in tne front yard when we got home. WHY? “He’s touching me” had become violent. Bigger boys means bigger fights.

  21. Love this post, just yesterday I’m yelling at the 23 yr. old to leave the 11 yr. old alone. Honestly it never stops it just clams down. I myself have 5 sons and I consider myself to be chosen for this. Because no matter what people say it is different when there are no little girls to soften things.
    I am now the grammie to what???? yes a grandson and he’s well on his way to be like his daddy and uncles.
    Honey we are raising future warriors for Christ I say let them get their warrior on…

  22. I have three sons and yes…they fight and wrestle and pummel and the littlest even still bites like a crocodile. But it is also temperament. My oldest is a gentle child, overall and VERY even tempered and his fighting is almost always in play…I can’t remember the last time he hit to hurt. The younger two? Well…I just hope we all survive their daily oneupmanship….it seems like a battle to the death…who is strongest, fastest, smartest, meanest, nicest…you name it. The middle son taunts and teases the younger one (who happens to be quite a bit bigger) until the younger son bites or whacks (he can whack HARD) and then it is all crying and pitifulness, meanwhile the youngest is crying because the middle son hurt his feelings. Somebody, please fetch Mama an Advil. I can only cope by having hard and fast consequences so the emotion of seeing them hurt each other doesn’t cause me to lose my cool. So…you bite? You get a spank on the butt and you go sit on your bed. You fight over a toy? The toy disappears to a high shelf you can’t reach. You are teasing? To your bed. You are getting too crazy but not yet doing anything wrong? Let’s go swing/do Play Doh/paint/ride trikes/play in the hose….anything to start anew. If you turn your bad attitude on MAMA? Heaven help you, child. I have three sons…I am hard to intimidate!!!! I am aiming at making these boys into awesome men and husbands but in the meantime they are making me into a smarter, stronger woman, wife and mother! Thanks, kiddos!

  23. brandy brown says:

    Great blog… Love this about boys! So very true. I have 8 children as well, 4 boys, 4 girls, and although my girls can rumble with the best of ’em (I recall telling my 4 year old Gracie, to kindly remove her body from her brothers face before he suffocates tonight) I must admit, my boys throw down together like my boys never would with their sisters. that isn’t to say they are gentlemen, oh no, we on a regular basis are dealing with boys and poop, boys and snot, boys and anything infectious and gross, so no, they don’t hold back on their sisters but it can never rival how they fight with each other. My boys aren’t often violent to each other but when they are it can be a doozy! I don’t allow much fighting in the way of harming each other… be ye kind to one another is often heard around here but I want to instill being manly doesn’t mean killing every other boy in the house… Lord of the flies, exActly… Pig head anyone? Keep in mind to that my boys are 7,5,3,1
    I did have to laugh tho, as with me and my sisters you heard threats of death, dismemberment, and some pretty vicious throw downs. there were 3 of us girls and 6 brothers and the brothers taught us right… Well, at least they taught us things that took years to unlearn so I could finally learn to act ‘somewhat’ like a lady.

  24. Aquisha Sunshine Harris says:

    I am so happy I found this website…you are a woman that I see myself being. Your words, your faith, your wisdom is so inspirational. Thank you so much for your transparency and humility.

  25. I’m the mom of 8 too – but “only” 3 of them are boys. They definitely have been my toughest to raise. That energy and aggression is certainly more than I can handle some days (II Cor 12:9!) – but if we can that power under the control of the Holy Spirit they can do some amazing things for God with that energy. What a blessing to have the opportunity to be a part of that process. Congratulations to you on another one on the way! 🙂

  26. Thank you Brandy. I have three boys who fight just as boys do and hard and as a female I don’t always get it. What hit me in your blog was the phrase – embrace it, and the reminder that this is part of his plan for my life. It reminds me for 2014 to work on embracing his plan for my life better. Thank you for that unexpected note.

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