‘Boys will be boys’ is no longer an acceptable excuse for bad behaviour #sorrynotsorry


I was in Tesco’s the other day picking up a few post-holiday essentials after our fab half term holiday. Minding my own business, as you do. And shattered after a busy day at work. I wasn’t really paying much attention to anything, but a teenage shrill cut through my thoughts. “Well. What about her?” a lanky late-teen boy quizzed his friend pointing directly at me. A bit stumped, I took in the pack of boys. What registered most was their intimidating glares, matching black hooded attire and lack of any light heartedness. Ooh – and zero shopping- since we were in Tesco’s.


They were cold.


Weirdly robot like.


We could have been characters in World of Warcraft* from opposing fractions, each waiting for the other to move. *An online battle game – which I hardly know anything about (whistles).






“Well, would you like to fu*k HER?” his friend pressed loudly, grim-faced. Intimidating. Not in jest.


What the what!?





Needless to say I scurried away as quickly as my little legs would take me. With relief ringing in my ears as the git replied screeching “Naaaa Naaaaa”.


And that was that.


I bumped into them a few times. Them all glares (with no shopping still), though I doubt they remembered me specifically. Me wobbling under the weight of the shopping basket trying to keep away from them.


What would their parents think?? Or perhaps more importantly, what do their parents say!?! This looked like ingrained behaviour. Not an embarrassing one-off dare. Not jolly teens being very silly. It was something different.



‘Boys will be boys’ is no longer an acceptable excuse for bad behaviour

The thing that really stuck was that this type of numb behaviour happens a fair bit. It’s actually not that unusual, and I typically end the week with a bucketful of toe curling experiences like this. Some weeks it’s the same old, same old. Some weeks it feels extra tense, like it’s getting worse. Is it a London thing? I don’t know.


Boys will be boys



Whilst probably not at this late teen age, time and time again I’ve heard parents waving off bad behaviour with phrases like:


He’s going to be a real boys, boy.

He’s such a lad.

You can tell he’s going to be a real boy.

That’s my boy.

He’s made of tough stuff.

Boys always fight.

And my pet hate – Boys will be boys.


I’m not sure there’s ever a right context for saying these phrases, but it’s definitely not for buffering away bad behaviour and pretending something never happened. Because where does it stop? And how far will some parents go in turning a blind eye to it all?






The future

I’m already worried for Little Button for when she gets older. Is this type of behaviour going to be normal in her life, or is it a generation blip that will hopefully skip past her or at least smooth out. Will she have to cover her ears to disgusting comments because ‘boys will be boys’?


I can’t help wonder if this could all be avoided if parents just got their fingers out and well, parented. Because as parents, that’s our job right?






  1. June 12, 2018 / 8:35 pm

    I’m hoping that this kind of thing is on its way out, and by the time she is a teenager it will be a much better situation. I do honestly think that people are starting to realize that phrases like this whitewash bad behavior instead of addressing the issue and making sure children are taught the right thing. Though unfortunately, you will always have a segment of society who thinks being old-fashioned in this regard is better than progressive thinking. I actually hate when people say “maybe I’m old-fashioned…” I feel like starting a sentence that way means you know what you are saying is no longer appropriate but you are going to say it anyways. Like when I got married and one of the elderly relatives on my in-laws side said “maybe I’m old-fashioned, but women should do all the household chores.” Yeah, well guess what?! You didn’t have to work outside the home for a living, and I worked just as many hours as my husband! Equal chores old lady!

  2. June 13, 2018 / 7:13 am

    No, thats not acceptable. In fact the teacher in me thinks that I may have said something back to them but perhaps I would have been so shocked and actually just walked away. My son is 16 and there is no way that is ok. full stop. I bet if their parents were around they would not behave like that and it would certainly not be ok! I too worry for our girls in the era of widely available porn and this gang culture that seems to rock their social media accounts BUT most teenagers I know realise that this is not the real world and most have feisty mums and sisters who would bollock them frankly if they treated woman this way. Could it be a London thing? I don’t know London enough but round here everyone knows someones mums so it would get back to them!!Great post hun. x

  3. June 15, 2018 / 4:18 pm

    I have to say, as a mother of a boy, this type of behaviour frightens the life out of me. In the sense that, I am petrified that Baby Lighty might grow up to be like this. I will do everything in my power to teach him that things like this are not acceptable. And the thought of getting it wrong scares me so much. Hope you’re ok after this experience xxx

    • June 15, 2018 / 8:53 pm

      Nic, there’s no way your little man would end up like this. Your a brilliant mum! xxx

  4. June 19, 2018 / 8:41 am

    Wow! All I can say is that if I had heard someone say that about a woman (or man) I would have to challenge it straight away. Make sure it’s heard by everyone and shame their behaviour so that all could hear.
    If anyone said that to my daughter or wife, I’d be furious! How dare they? Especially when walking in a shop with kids.
    Is it a London thing? Maybe. I’ve lived and worked in London my whole life and have seen lovely areas decline rapidly over the past few years. But it also comes down to parenting. There has to be consequences for bad behaviour when kids are growing up. Part of the consequence is learning what they’ve done wrong. If they don’t learn at a young age what is right and wrong, then they will have no chance when they are older.
    Hopefully it hasn’t affected you too much.
    Shame on them!

  5. June 19, 2018 / 9:15 am

    Completely unacceptable and from the experience I have had of teaching boys for over 12 years. Not the norm. I too hate those phases and encourage all boys, those that I teach and those that I raise to be caring human beings not defined by stupid gender stereotypes. #dreamteam

  6. June 19, 2018 / 10:12 am

    Totally inappropriate behaviour. I often wonder how from innocent, loving babies, some grow up to be – let’s just say – not so well mannered? #DreamTeam

  7. June 19, 2018 / 10:54 am

    Maybe it won’t be normal if enough people call people out on this behaviour. I think #MeToo and a lot of the talk around poor male public — and private — attitudes and actions have to help steer the boat back towards civility and proper respect. Hope Trump’s boorish behaviour also serves as a model for how not to behave as a man. #DreamTeam

  8. June 19, 2018 / 11:17 am

    I don’t think it’s a London thing. You get pockets of badly behaved groups all over. I wonder if the Parents have any idea..? If they did, then I fear their boys are a credit to them – in the worst possible way xx

  9. June 19, 2018 / 12:50 pm

    This so annoys me. There was a bit of a Twitter storm when a lawyer commented that up-skirting could be avoided and lots of police time / resources saved if women were more responsible about what they wore … Because obviously it’s our fault for wearing skirts and nothing to do with men using their phones in ways that no one ever intended! How about them just not doing it!

  10. June 19, 2018 / 2:58 pm

    Popping back with #dreamteam

  11. June 19, 2018 / 3:19 pm

    As a mum to 5 boys, I do believe boys should be held accountable for their actions and its not just a ‘boy thing’ #DreamTeam

  12. June 19, 2018 / 4:20 pm

    It’s awful to think these boys think it’s acceptable to behave like that. If it was my son I’d be truly devastated. Let’s hope we can bring up the next generation to be more respectful. I hope these boys are all just bravado in front of their mates and don’t really think like this, although this could be wishful thinking! Great read nevertheless #dreamteam

  13. June 19, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    I am so sorry you went through this shocking incident. It really is not on and did the supermarket staff not do anything? I hope things improve and can only think #MeToo and similar campaigns must change things for the better. I also am so proud of my 17 year old and 12 year old sons and proud of myself for bringing them up to respect all people and never to disrespect women. That might sound naïve but I just know they would not put anyone down or curse them like this #DreamTeam

  14. June 19, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    So disheartening that boys are still behaving like this in 2018. Making weak excuses for boorish behavior only serves to make it worse. Ugh!

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