We look at the differences between raising boys and raising girls
The days of prescribed colours and clothes for girls and boys are thankfully long past. You’re just as likely to see a little boy pushing a doll around in a pram, as a girl zooming toy cars about. But is it possible to remain entirely ‘gender neutral’ when bringing up children or are there inherent, unexplainable differences between boys and girls that make this impossible? We look at the ways that children can sometimes differ and chat to mothers of both boys and girls about what they’re discovered…
BEHAVIOUR – BOYS OFTEN LOVE ACTION WHILE GIRLS APPEAR TO LOVE INTERACTION
• A little boy will typically like motorised action – for example they may prefer to look at moving cars than a group of people dancing or chatting.
• Girls love observing people around, listening to human communications and are usually fond of imitation.
LEARNING – GIRLS ARE GENERALLY ADEPT AT FINE MOTOR SKILLS WHILE BOYS PRIMARILY EXCEL AT GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
• Boys love being active – they frequently learn to run, kick, and roll before their female peers.
• Girls are good at holding and playing with toys, drawing, and eating. They mostly develop writing skills more easily than boys
EMOTIONS – BOTH SEXES BENEFIT FROM SHARED EYE CONTACT AND EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION
• On average girls will learn to talk before boys. However there is no evidence that they are more overly ‘emotional’ than boys and contrary to common belief, boys can become more easily stressed or frustrated than girls.
• Boys are more fearless, they often experience this emotion later than girls, studies have found that angry faces are less likely to impact boys in their infancy.
SONS AND DAUGHTERS
“They [her son and daughter] are so different. My daughter is very, very girly – she loves pink, make up, handbags, she puts my high heels on. While my son is a typical boy. He likes blue, batman, superheroes but the thing that I found really, interesting is my son is my daughter’s hero. He’s just over a year older than her and it reminds me of me and my childhood with my brothers, she’s moulding herself to like things that he likes – so at the moment her favourite colour is blue and it really isn’t!”
“I found my boys, in terms of getting them dressed super easy – they would have worn pyjamas to school had I let them. They totally do not care at all but the girls really care way more about that. They have such an opinion and even if they can’t speak they’re pointing to the ones [clothes] they want. It’s just who they are.”
“Having a girl first really thew me off when it came to understanding the energy levels of boys. My daughter was happy to sit and colour for what seemed like hours upon end. I didn’t have to worry as much about her climbing on furniture or falling and hurting herself. Once my son was mobile I found I needed to get him outdoors for a daily runaround to burn off energy. Although he had an older sister interested in all things sparkly and pink his world quickly evolved into obsessing over anything spherical that could be thrown or kicked – indoors and out!”
THE LAST WORD…
Remember, biology doesn’t determine your destiny. Our advice? Encourage your children to be anything they want to be regardless of their gender…
Main image by Ekaterina Sinkovskaya