Who’s Harder to Raise: Girls or Boys?

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An eternal debate amongst parents rages on, and once again another writer has decided to try and make sense of the boys versus girls debate. Kids are not easy to raise regardless of their gender, and of course each child is different. But let's just put this fact aside momentarily and ponder a bit, are girls easier to deal with than boys? Are boys just a bit too crazy for a tired parent or is a girl's (sometime) silence and sadness too confusing for a dad or mom?

In a recent article on Parenting.com Paula Spencer, discusses the differences in raising a boy or a girl and the challenges each offer parents. While she starts off the article saying that she spends much more time on her boy than on any of her three girls, this fact is pushed to the side immediately when parents of girls claim the opposite. Which is harder to raise? Here are some tidbits from the story that can be open to debate:
  • From birth, we talk softly to girls but throw boys in the air.
  • 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
  • Boys are more rambunctious and aggressive. Taking risks lights up the pleasure centers of their brains.
  • Letting kids explore -- at the cost of a few scrapes and cuts -- builds character, self-confidence, resilience, and self-reliance. Boys, being natural risk takers, may need encouragement to slow down a little, but maybe girls need to be encouraged to take more risks.
  • From birth, a girl baby tends to be more interested in looking at colors and textures, like those on the human face, while a boy baby is drawn more to movement, like a whirling mobile.
  • Because girls study faces so intently, they're better at reading nonverbal signals, such as expression and tone of voice. Boys not only learn to talk later than girls and use more limited vocabularies, they also have more trouble connecting feelings with words.
  • As girls get to be 8 or so, things can get harder: The flip side of being so adept at communicating is that girls exert a lot of energy on it. There can be a great deal of drama around who's mad at whom, who said what and why.
  • Girls tend to grow up less confident and more insecure than boys.
  • In their early years, most boys lag behind girls in developing attentiveness, self-control, and language and fine motor skills.
  • One area where girls do less well in school concerns spatial learning, such as geometry.
  • The general consensus seems to be that boys are more of a handful early on, and girls more challenging beginning in the preteen years.
So reading these facts, what do you think? Do you agree with Spencer that boys are harder to deal with early on and easier as they get older, or is the opposite true?

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