Boys vs. Girls: Who’s Harder to Raise

 “When it comes to raising kids, there a debate whether which one is more difficult to handle, is it the boys or the girls? They say girls are difficult because they are fussy, high-pitched and nag about those pinky stuff. But some also says that boys are a lot tougher because they are hyper and difficult to control. Well, you just need to learn how to deal with them the right way so that parenting will be a lot easier for you.”

 

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I often say that I spend more time and energy on my one boy than on my three girls. Other mothers of boys are quick to say the same. Forget that old poem about snips and snails and puppy dog tails, says Sharon O’Donnell, a mom of three boys and the author of House of Testosterone. “Somehow it’s been changed to boys being made of ‘fights, farts and video games,’ and sometimes I’m not sure how much more I can take!”

Not so fast, say moms of girls, who point out that they have to contend with fussier fashion sense, more prickly social navigations and a far greater capacity to hold a grudge. And as a daughter grows, a parent’s concerns range from body image to math bias.

Stereotyping, or large kernels of truth? “I think parents use ‘which is harder?’ as an expression of whatever our frustration is at the moment,” says family therapist Michael Gurian, author of Nurture the Nature. “Boys and girls are each harder in different ways.”

Every child is an individual, of course. His or her innate personality helps shape how life unfolds. Environment (including us, the nurturers) plays a role, too: “There are differences in how we handle boys and girls right from birth,” says David Stein, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Virginia State University in Petersburg. “We tend to talk more softly to girls and throw boys in the air.”

But it’s also true that each gender’s brain, and growth, unfolds at a different rate, influencing behavior. Leonard Sax, M.D., author of Boys Adrift, believes parents raise girls and boys differently because girls and boys are so different from birth—their brains aren’t wired the same way.

So, can we finally answer the great parenting debate over which sex is more challenging to raise? Much depends on what you’re looking at, and when:

Discipline

Who’s harder? Boys

Why don’t boys seem to listen? Turns out their hearing is not as good as girls’ right from birth, and this difference only gets greater as kids get older. Girls’ hearing is more sensitive in the frequency range critical to speech discrimination, and the verbal centers in their brains develop more quickly. That means 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, which is especially evident in the toddler and preschool years.

These developmental differences contribute to the mislabeling of normal behavior as problematic, a growing number of observers say. Five boys for every one girl are diagnosed with a “disorder” (including conduct disorder, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, sensory integration disorder and oppositional defiant disorder), says Stein, also the author of Unraveling the ADD/ADHD Fiasco. Some kids—most often boys—may simply fall on the more robust end of normal. They need more opportunities to expend energy and aggression, as well as firmer limits.

Physical safety

Who’s harder? Boys

“Much after-dinner wrestling here,” reports Michelle Mayr, the Davis, California, mom of four boys, ages 5 to 12. “I’m constantly fighting to keep my house a home rather than an indoor sports center. Their stuffed animals’ primary function is to be added to the pile of pillows everyone is launching into from the coffee table.” In general, boys are more …

 

Read more: http://www.parenting.com/article/harder-to-raise-boys-or-girls

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