By Alan Viau
I’ve noticed a growing number of people who call their boys Little Man. This is an inappropriate label. My boys will always be my boys and my sons.
Facebook allows the sharing of special family moments with everyone we know. Instantly we can display our kids’ accomplishments and wax poetically on how adorable they are. Often in the text I read a statement such as this: “Had a great time at the park with my Little Man.” Little Man? I don’t like this label when it’s used refer to your boy or son.
Little Man seems to suggest your child is a small version of the adult male. This is silliness and I’d like it if parents would stop using this language altogether.
In the recent past, the term midget was used to refer to a person who was very short, but normally proportioned. It is now considered offensive. But its usage was very common until the end of the twentieth century. Now the terms short person or little person are used. Clearly it is not the intention to identify our boys this way.
There is a growing awareness in medical circles that you cannot take drug dosages used for adults and proportionally cut them down for kids. Persons less than 16 years of age are recognized as having developing systems. Drugs given to them may affect them differently than adults. A good example of this is when there occurred a rash of teen suicides as a result of those teens being prescribed adult dosage antidepressants. Clearly, in medical terms, persons less than 16 are not little adults.
Here’s the argument in reverse: I’ve heard women talk about their Big Boy husbands who love their toys. So how does a Little Man become a Big Boy? Is there some reverse aging that takes place? One moment you are a responsible man and then grow up to become a playful boy? Clearly, it seems pejorative to use either term.
In the spirit of equality, there is one final argument for dismissing the term Little Man. Would you call your girl Little Woman? I imagine not. Little Woman is a condescending term for females. So why would Little Man be acceptable for males? Clearly, Little Man cannot be an acceptable term to describe a boy.
When my children were born, I proudly exclaimed that I had a son or daughter. My boys and girl, my sons and daughter are precious to me. I just can’t picture myself saying to my wife “Look honey, we have our Little Man!” Clearly, boys are not little men.