The Differences Between Raising Boys And Raising Girls
Ask anyone who has a son and a daughter and they will have an opinion on which gender is harder to raise. My answer is my three-year-old daughter. Compared to my six-year-old son, she is stubborn, demanding, high maintenance and full-on – essentially, she is me 27 years ago.
We went to the parenting experts to determine the main differences between raising boys versus raising girls and where can you expect the challenges to lie in both genders.
• Michael Gurian, author of Nurture the Nature
• Wendy Mogel, Ph.D., author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee
• David Stein, Ph.D., a professor of psychology
The Question of “Difficulty”
According to family therapist, Michael Gurian, “Boys and girls are each harder in different ways.” Their brains are not wired the same way, and while the environment will play a role in shaping development, the temperament of each child will be different.
“There are differences in how we handle boys and girls right from birth,” says David Stein, Ph.D., a professor of psychology. Add to this, each gender’s brain, and growth unfolds at a different rate, influencing behaviour.
So, how do boys and girls differ?
In terms of discipline
You’ve probably experienced ‘selective hearing’ in males before and turns out, it’s not just a myth. A male’s hearing is actually not nearly as good as a female’s hearing and thus you may find that your little man spends a lot more time ignoring you than your little lady.
Gurian explains that a girl is likely to respond better to discipline strategies such as praise or warnings like, “Don’t do that” or, “Use your words.”
“Boys tend to be more tactile—they may need to be picked up and plunked in a time-out chair,” Gurian says. “They’re also less verbal and more impulsive”, he adds, “This is especially evident in the toddler and preschool years.”
In terms of communication
When it comes to communication, girls have the upper hand from the beginning. Boys can be seen as harder to understand simply because they have a harder time connecting feelings with words.
Girls are better at reading non-verbal signals such as expression and tone of voice and studies suggest girls also tend to talk earlier than boys. However, this isn’t always the case.
In terms of physical fitness
In general, boys are more rambunctious and aggressive, Wendy Mogel, claims. Of course, many mums with daughters will agree that their little girl likes wrestling, tackling and jumping off fences just as much as the boys.
In terms of self-esteem
Building confidence in your child is a challenge. Some children are born with high self-esteem and others need a little more of a push. Girls tend to grow up less confident and more insecure than boys, researchers say.
In terms of schooling
You may have heard the saying that school is a girl’s world and this is often the case.
In general, boys learn better with visual and hand-on activities, but, again, this is only a generalisation according to studies and not necessarily reflect every child.
The indoor-based learning system with an emphasis on visual-auditory as opposed to hands-on is catered more to a girl’s brain than that of a boy’s.
The bottom line?
Every child is an individual and every parent will have a different answer to the question – who has been the easiest or hardest child to raise. Some will say their son. Some will say their daughter. Some will say their first born. Some will say their third born.
All kids will have good days and bad days. They will go through easy stages and difficult stages. It is up to us to parents to cater to their individual needs and learn what parenting strategies work the best for your child’s individual temperament.