Mind the gen­der gap! So, who has it eas­ier

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

ED­U­CA­TIONAL psy­chol­o­gist Dr Kairen Cullen ex­plains: “Our brains thrive on va­ri­ety and stim­u­la­tion and sit­ting for hours in front of writ­ten text can cer­tainly dull the ap­petite for learn­ing, so the ad­di­tion of tra­di­tional and com­puter-based games, THERE is a de­bate most par­ents have had at one time or an­other. Which is harder to raise – girls or boys?

In our house­hold, this sub­ject usu­ally comes up when we’re watch­ing our three boys wres­tle around the gar­den un­til they’re either cry­ing or con­cussed... while my friends’ girls play nicely with a set of crayons.

Okay, I’m ex­ag­ger­at­ing. And I hate to re­in­force stereo­types – gen­uinely – but it is with­out ques­tion true that there are times when my kids are so loud, bois­ter­ous and ex­ces­sively phys­i­cal that I’m nearly tear­ing my hair out.

It could be of course that I sim­ply breed loud, bois­ter­ous chil­dren, re­gard­less of their gen­der. But I know enough moth­ers of boys who’ve ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar hair-tear­ing episodes to sus­pect this is not a co­in­ci­dence.

Last week, a study by psy­chol­o­gists claimed to fi­nally an­swer the ques­tion of which sex is the most chal­leng­ing to raise. The an­swer, ap­par­ently, de­pends on which is­sues you as a par­ent find most stress­ful to han­dle.

While ev­ery child is an in­di­vid­ual, psy­chol­o­gists have ob­served cer­tain types of be­hav­iour which are dom­i­nant in each gen­der.

So if you’re big on dis­ci­pline, you might find boys more of a chal­lenge be­cause they tend to be ‘less ver­bal and more im­pul­sive’.

If you worry about phys­i­cal safety, the fact that boys are ram­bunc­tious and ag­gres­sive, will prob­a­bly send your blood pres­sure soar­ing.

How­ever, it is by no means plain sail­ing with girls, in who man­ag­ing self-es­teem can be more of an is­sue.

Psy­chol­o­gist Carol Gil­li­gan refers to the ‘tyranny of nice and kind’ – how we as par­ents un­wit­tingly raise girls to be

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