Boys are different from girls!
It is difficult disciplining sons while with daughters it is relatively much easier. Raise your hand if you have heard this or have talked about this.
Well, since I am the mother of an only son, I do not have the first-hand experience in this regard but have definitely heard about the same from fellow moms who are raising both sons and daughters. They often tell how exhausting it can be disciplining little boys while it isn't the case with their daughters.
This led me to look into the research made in this area of how boys, even under the age of 5, are different from the girls in the same age group. These research findings are particularly helpful in understanding our boys better.
Let us look at the 5 main findings which differentiate boys from girls :-
- Boys' hearing is not as effective as girls.
Research shows boys' brains have fewer connections between the left and right hemispheres as compared to girls due to which their hearing is not as effective as girls. They tend to hear better in their right ear and also when spoken to from a close distance.
Do we realize now how our shouting and screaming from a distance always felt like falling upon deaf ears with our sons? There is a valid reason for this which lies in their nature.
- Boys walk while girls talk.
Boys usually walk before girls and girls usually talk before boys. This means that girls ask adults about the world. A little girl might look at a climbing frame and ask 'If I climb up there and fall off, will I get hurt?' A boy is more likely to want to find out for himself, climbing, falling off and crying 'I hurt myself' even if he has already been told what will happen.
- Boys learn by action, they take risks while girls learn by following instructions.
When boys are finding out, they take more risks. Blame the testosterone. As soon as they can walk, some want to go off and find out how the plug socket works, how bouncy the sofa is, what you can see from the top of a ladder. The way boys play and explore worries parents who spend more time asking boys to stop and get down than they do with girls.
Girls are more likely to follow their parents' instructions of not to venture into anything risky or dangerous.
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- Boys learn by reacting while girls take cues proactively.
Boys learn about relationships by reacting. If you get annoyed, your son may do the same thing again, because he is trying to work out why you became annoyed and at what point. A girl is more likely to ask why you got annoyed or takes cues from your behaviour while a boy will do it again, so he can watch your reaction and learn from it.
- Boys need firm boundaries while girls can be talked out.
Since boys are always ready to explore and take risks, clear and firm boundaries are to be laid out for them. Whereas, most girls can be talked to, encouraged and cajoled owing to the fact they are better at listening and understanding.
Understanding that our boys are different from girls makes us conscious about adopting alternate methods and techniques to encourage them to listen, engage and accept discipline and boundaries.
In the next article, I shall talk about 10 disciplinary techniques that work with most boys under the age of 5.
Disclaimer - This article, in no way, supports gender stereotypes or is an attempt to establish one gender is better than the other. I am not an expert but a regular mom of a boy who has taken help of a few parenting courses (during my 2-year long stay in UK) to get to know my son better. All the points covered in this article are based on references to the 'About Boys Course (0-5)' which I undertook in 2013.
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