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Nurturing Boys and Girls: Are they the same?

Boys versus Girls

Are boys and girls inherently different? Or do parents just raise them that way? A survey conducted by Newsweek in 1997 found that 61 percent of parents believe that the differences in boys and girls come from the way they are raised (nurture) rather than genetics (nature), hence the “nature versus nurture” debate. Time has changed, so are the kids’ environments. Read on to understand the differences in parenting boys versus girls. 

Gender Differences Affect the Kids’ Behaviour

One of the main factors that differentiate the identities of boys and girls  is their gender.  This means that as parents, different emphases should be given when parenting them. The things that they can learn are generally the same, but there are clear differences in HOW you teach them.

5 Differences in Nurturing Boys and Girls

During Infancy

Boys: Responsive to physical stimulation and would imitate body movements more compared to sounds  and songs. They are more entertained when you dance or make silly faces rather than talking and reading storybooks to them.

Girls: Love eye contacts, sounds and are highly entertained when people talk to them. Thus it is not surprising that girls are more talkative and have better language skills compared to boys.

In Advising Them

Boys: Your long-winded nag would be pointless. Surprisingly, boys might be more sensitive than girls, and harder to console when they cried. They observe “actions” more than “words”. Thus  the best way to advise them is by showing good examples or becoming an exemplary role model.

Girls: They observe relationships and are more open to those who are close to them. To do so, parents and caregivers need to spend more quality time with them, for example by telling stories and playing with them. Close relationship will help them follow your advice easily.

When They Disagree

Boys: They would keep quiet and find it difficult to let out their frustration. Due to lack of verbal expressions, they tend to express their feelings through actions such as hitting, kicking or throwing objects.  You should let them know that their voices are heard. Let them cool down and take time to listen to their grievances.

Girls: They tend to scream and may utter shocking words such as “ I HATE YOU!” or “ ADAM (her little brother) IS BAD!”. Don’t be surprised, part of their language exploration is to grasp new words and learn the most effective way to use them. They tend to prioritise other’s feelings and suppress their own.

If They are Fighting Over Things

Boys: Tell them directly like saying “Don’t take your brother’s toys  . Give it back to him NOW!”. Period.

They would react and would not need further explanation like “Don’t do that..Don’t you love your brother? How many times do I have to tell you? Haven’t I bought you the same thing yesterday?!”.

Girls: They need constructive criticism and praises like “Aren’t you kind..love sharing your toys  ? Don’t take your friend’s toys.. Imagine if she took your toys the same way, wouldn’t you feel sad too?

Takeaway

Experts agree that the best parenting techniques focus on a combination of nature  and nurture. Yes, boys and girls are naturally different in several ways, but they should be raised in equally nurturing environments. Both boys and girls need to be taught the same values: empathy, compassion, respect, confidence and independence. Physical aggression should carry the same consequences for both genders, and parents should teach  their children alternative ways to solve problems.

When parenting boys versus girls, keep in mind that every child is different. Parents should observe the way each child expresses him- or herself, and allow each child to explore varying interests. Encourage children to hone their unique gifts, whatever they might be. And remember, all children need affection, support, and – most of all – unconditional love.

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