4 parenting differences between boys and girls

Many parents raise boys and girls differently. This may be necessary at certain times, but it could also be harmful. We tell you more about it.

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 17 March, 2022

We have all heard phrases like that it is easier to raise a boy, that girls are more convoluted and manipulative and boys more abrupt and aggressive. These stereotypes that we hold as a society guide the educational style of parents. They do not offer the same interactions and opportunities to their sons and daughters. The question is this: are the differences in upbringing between boys and girls for a reason or are they just cultural?

This is a debate that has been open for a long time and in which it is not yet possible to find definitive answers. There are those who are committed to total equality and those who maintain that we cannot ignore the differences between boys and girls when it comes to educating them.

Here is some relevant information about it.

Boys and girls are different

We can’t deny that There are obvious differences between boys and girls. And not only at the anatomical level, but also at the cerebral level. In fact, these discrepancies can be observed from birth.

For example, some studies have found that newborn girls spend more time making eye contact than their male counterparts. Thus, at 4 months of age they are better able to recognize faces. For their part, newborn children look at a flickering light with the same attention as at a human face.

Furthermore, on average, girls tend to develop language earlier and more extensively than boys and tend to prefer cooperative activities. While men tend to be more competitive, active and abrupt in their way of playing and acting.

These differences can be explained in terms of hormonal influence. Baby boys are exposed to higher levels of testosterone, leading to that higher aggressiveness.

In addition, it seems that the levels of this hormone also influence brain development, causing the left hemisphere to develop more quickly in girls. This is associated with speech and communication.

Medical imaging research has revealed that there are structural differences in male and female brains during development.

The influence of environment and upbringing

Indeed, boys and girls are different and raising them exactly the same could even be unfair. Well, at certain times their needs are different.

In any case, parents have to know the personality of their children and accommodate to it to offer them the best opportunities. The problem arises when we raise not based on what the boy or girl needs, but rather what we believe they require based on stereotypes and gender roles.

Here are some of the most common parenting mistakes parents make when they get carried away by these preconceived ideas.

1. Self-sufficiency versus dependency

In no case is it possible to generalize. However, many fathers and mothers show a different disposition when it comes to helping their sons or daughters.

To boys, more or less consciously, they are considered stronger and more capable. They are given the opportunity to stumble and get up, try again and make it on their own.

Girls are seen as fragile, sensitive and delicate. Therefore, they are more likely to receive help from their parents at the slightest difficulty. Far from being an advantage, this overprotection prevents them from exploring and developing their abilities and can make them more dependent and less secure.

2. Emotionality versus coldness

Parenting differences between boys and girls can be seen on an emotional level. Girls are more likely to be listened to, comforted, hugged and comforted by adultsand that encourage children to be strong and hide their sensitivity.

the famous phrase “men do not cry” It remains ingrained in the thinking of many people. Often, it is transmitted to minors from their earliest years.

3. Expression versus repression

The situation is opposite when the emotional expression refers to anger, rage or anger. In this case, it is the children who are allowed to exhibit these kinds of attitudes of disagreement and aggressiveness, while girls are urged to be docile and calm.

This educational style can cause great damage, as it leads girls to disconnect from these feelings, to deny and repress them, in order to please their parents. And this is a trend that can last into your adult life.

4. Intelligence versus beauty

Another of the differences in upbringing between boys and girls is the one regarding the qualities and values ​​that are highlighted in one or the other gender. On a social level, girls are flattered by their beauty and kindness, while men are recognized for their intelligence or their personal successes.

This has important effects, since it has been found that at an early age girls are already considered less bright than boys and begin to reject challenges considered for very intelligent people. In addition to the social pressure that women suffer from youth to fit into the aesthetic canons.

Biological and physical differences between boys and girls affect some aspects of parenting, but much of the stereotyping is cultural.

Equal opportunities to end the differences in upbringing between boys and girls

Ultimately, boys and girls are different in some respects. But Many of their differences are marked at a cultural and social level. With the parenting style we limit the little ones, pigeonhole them and deprive them of developing their true potential. Therefore, parents and educators should focus on offering the same opportunities to all.

In this scenario, everyone would be free to express their true selves, explore their tastes and preferences, and not be constrained by external expectations. Whether you have a son or a daughter, try to instill good values ​​in them, offer them emotional education, and allow them to be who they are.

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