Boys are different from girls. I know that’s the understatement of the century, but it’s true. I had no idea how vastly different boys and girls are until my nephew spent the night. I quickly learned that little boys might as well be from a different galaxy than little girls.
Where my daughter was sweet and cuddly, my nephew was rough and rambunctious. When my daughter wanted to play dolls, my nephew wanted to play airplanes and jump around. My daughter spoke in complete sentences and my nephew barely grunted responses. After two days with this boy, I thanked God for my daughter.
But I left the weekend fascinated by my nephew. You see, I understand girls. They make sense. I get them. But if I was parenting a boy, I’d need a manual. And fortunately, there are many manuals and experts out there to enlighten mothers on the mystery of boys.
For those brave moms out there parenting boys (especially you fabulous single moms) and wondering what in the world goes through their little rough and tumble minds, here are some key things to know about their psyche from the experts:
They’re not always ignoring you. Sometimes they just don’t hear you. According to family therapist Michael Gurian, the author of Nurture the Nature, girls have more sensitive hearing than boys from birth and the verbal centers in girls’ brains develop more quickly. This can make boys being less response to their parents' verbal direction and can make boys less verbal overall.
Movement is key to learning for boys. Ever notice how little boys never, ever sit still? While all that wrestling, tumbling and rolling around can aggravate moms, the movement is essential for boys to learn. According to the book, The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life, boys learn though “spatial mechanical play.” That means that boys learn better when they can move around and have lots of room to explore.
Communication doesn’t always come naturally for boys. As most moms of boys know, boys are not natural communicators. There’s a scientific reason according to Leonard Sax, M.D., author of Boys Adrift. From birth, boys are drawn to movement and girls are attracted to faces. As they grow older, girls tend to be more people-oriented and boys focus on action. So while girls may naturally learn to connect and communicate with people, it takes more effort for boys.
School can be a challenge in the early years. If you’re getting reports that your kindergarten-aged son doesn’t sit in his seat during class time, chances are that he’s just an average boy. With boys being wired for movement, educational settings that require them to be still can be a challenge. Dr. Sax also notes that boys often lag behind girls in self-control and fine motor skills as well. The good news is that they catch up over the years.
Boys are unique, special and wonderful in their own way. And under the guidance of a parent who is well educated in the differences between raising boys and girls, boys can grow, thrive and become wonderful young men.
What have you learned about boys from raising your son?
Words: Yolanda Darville
Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women. Learn more about her on her blog www.bahamamommyinc.com.