Raising boys can be tough, and there are some key differences compared to raising girls. A boy’s development is not the same as a girl’s. Let’s get a little more clarity on how to raise boys and some key tips you should know.
– Raising boys can be a more rambunctious, energetic, and rebellious experience compared to raising girls.
Introduction to Raising Boys
How is raising little boys different from raising little girls? Whether you’re a new parent, you’re raising your first son or you’ve done it all before, both boys and girls have their own unique challenges, and if you’ve never raised a boy before, the shock may come as a bit of a surprise. Still, there are several key things you could know about raising boys and girls and how they differ – and with this in mind, we have outlined some of the key things you should know about raising boys and the many different challenges that this can present.
From the ever-incessant adoration for new tech and cars through to their more rambunctious behaviour and more, we’ll cover it all to ensure you get the best results when raising boys.
How is Raising a Boy Different From a Girl?
First of all, we need to start by briefly outlining the differences between raising a son and a daughter. Of course, the exact differences you will experience will likely depend on your son’s behaviours and preferences; nevertheless, the majority of people experience very similar challenges when raising boys, and these can differ significantly from raising girls.
To initially define the key differences between raising boys and girls, we need to consider things from a genetic perspective. Indeed, even from birth, there are significant differences between baby boys and girls, as explained by Everyday Health. Baby girls tend to be more emotionally developed at an early age, making eye contact for longer and comforting themselves through actions such as sucking their thumb more effectively than baby boys, who tend to exhibit more stressed or aggressive behaviours as a result of early testosterone levels.
However, as your little boy grows, he will begin to display further differences from girls as standard. Most young boys rely more heavily on competition in large group games or sports, which can make them more determined but can also mean that they react more aggressively in cases where they lose out. By contrast, girls generally congregate in smaller groups, even just after starting school, and develop closer emotional connections with a small group of friends, potentially developing their emotional literacy at a much earlier age.
This trend is something you will likely continue to see throughout your little boy’s childhood. As he reaches his early teenage years, he will likely be able to handle and manage stressors more easily than teenage girls, who often obsess over these. However, it’s important to consider that this may result in more dramatic anger outbursts for boys, whose tendency to “deal with things” alone may make things worse in the long run. By contrast, girls tend to obsess over emotional aspects, but will likely have sought comfort from friends and family and moved on by the time that a boy processes things.
The nature vs. nurture debate is a crucial one in many fields. However, the contributions of each mindset are both present in children. As such, while certain factors may be genetically predisposed in boys – namely due to testosterone and serotonin levels – it is possible to ensure your son has the best start in life by giving them an environment that’s encouraging and nurturing overall. You can read more about nurturing parenting here.
Looking past the old mantra of “boys will be boys” becomes important, and you may want to focus on providing your son with an environment that encourages him to be his best self. Ideally, to avoid potential anger outbursts in later life, it’s a good idea to encourage your son to share his feelings when possible to ensure that he knows that such isn’t “taboo” and that he is allowed to have emotions and thoughts.
Studies have proven that boys typically reach developmental milestones later than girls. Rough early environments are often believed to be the cause for this, as with behavioural disorders in slightly older boys. As such, it’s important to provide a gentle and nurturing home environment to prevent your son from becoming overly rough as he grows older.
Is Raising a Son Hard?
Raising children is not easy! Both girls and boys come with unique challenges during their development. However, statistics prove that the majority of people find boys easier to raise than girls, and this has remained consistently true throughout the years. This may be due to differences in peer culture between boys and girls, as well as emotional differences.
Best Tips for Raising Young Boys
Raising boys, as we have already seen, irrefutably comes with its own set of challenges. However, the following tips may help you raise boys successfully and with fewer arguments:
1. Always be there for him if he has any questions or concerns – be involved in your son’s life
2. Encourage him to get involved with household chores, through elementary school and beyond, this will help to dispel gender stereotypes, raising boys and men who can contribute and display independence
3. Teach him the importance of boundaries and consent, from early years to middle school and beyond
4. Instill a sense of respect and self-respect in him – talk about your own feelings and their feelings, often
5. Dissuade “tough guy” attitudes and anger – discuss emotions
6. Provide him good ideas and methods to calm his emotions or temper – make a point of coming up with tools and strategies for this
7. Be thoughtful and listen to him if he has something to say – this encourages good listening and conversation skills
8. Ensure he knows the importance of good personal hygiene – important for all family members
9. Encourage him to ask others for their opinions, and share his own ideas too
10. Praise him for his effort and contributions, even if things don’t go to plan
11. Accept that he’ll be energetic – and offer ways to help use up some of this energy (sports and active play are ideal)
12. Spend one on one time with him, especially if he asks – nurture the developing maturity but allow him to enjoy being a kid.
These are just a few of the potential things you could focus on when it comes to raising your son. You might also want to consider parenting styles and what you think would work best for your family. There can be a big difference between an authoritative style compared to gentle parenting. What works for one child may not work for others.
While this is not an exhaustive list, it can definitely help your son grow into an upstanding and confident young man who has positive relationships. Well-balanced boys and teens will most likely grow to be well-balanced adult men.
What Not to Do When Raising Boys
When raising boys, there are several key things you shouldn’t do. These include:
– Encouraging little boys to play exclusively with “boy” toys and punishing them for playing with “girl” toys as this can contribute to negative gender stereotypes later in life.
– Instilling a mantra of “rough and tumble” in your son as this can result in them developing overly aggressive behaviors as they grow and interact with other kids.
– Preventing him from sharing his emotions and thoughts. While he might not want to share in some cases, offering your son the chance to express himself may help prevent him from bottling up his worries and concerns.
– Skipping lessons around the house – there’s a perception that “chores are for girls,” however, this can leave your son unable to perform basic tasks when he eventually grows up and moves out for the first time.
– Don’t compare your son to your other kids! Focus on his efforts and praise him for trying rather than making comparisons.
Is it Cheaper to Raise a Boy or a Girl?
Generally speaking, raising a boy will be less expensive, as they typically have less desire for regular new clothes and toys; boys are much more willing to “make do” with existing toys and may be less eager for new ones.
However, as time passes by, they may be more likely to develop a taste for expensive hobbies such as gaming or particular sports, which can rapidly even the price of raising a boy and a girl.
Final Thoughts on Raising Boys
Whether you’ve got a son or a daughter, whether you’re a mom or a dad, you’re always blessed to have the chance to begin growing your family – however, there is no doubt that raising boys comes with a combination of very unique challenges (and these can certainly seem quite taxing sometimes). Nevertheless, raising boys can also be fun and exciting! Have a look at your family values and use these values to help you raise your boys!
They will get grubby, and chances are, you’ll face numerous struggles while raising boys – but it will all be worth it as you watch them grow up and mature into a (hopefully) upstanding young man.
Steve Biddulph wrote the best-selling book, ‘Raising Boys’ which can be found in more than a million homes around the world – you can find it here if you want further reading.