Raising Girls; How is it Different?

Have you ever wondered how raising girls is different from raising boys? Let’s look at the key differences and some tips to help you raise confident daughters.

 –         Some might say raising girls is easier than raising boys, although the teenage years may become more of a challenge.

–         Raising girls doesn’t have to be a challenge, and there are several key strategies you can implement to ensure you’re instilling healthy boundaries and raising well rounded daughters.

raising girls
There are key differences between boys and girls – mostly hormone-related, but girls should be encouraged to follow their own interests and passions.

Introduction to Raising Girls

Whether you’re expecting a new daughter soon, if your daughter is already beginning to grow up and you’ve noticed a few differences between her and your previous son(s), or if you’re simply curious, there are a few key differences when it comes to raising girls compared to boys.

With this in mind, we’re taking a look at some of the key things you need to know about raising girls, including parenting tips to help you feel confident to raise daughters with healthy self-esteem and who will have healthy relationships. We will also provide some guidance on whether girls or boys are more expensive to raise overall. Indeed, while they can offer unique challenges, raising girls can also come with countless opportunities that make it all worthwhile.

How is Raising a Girl Different From Raising Boys?

First of all, we need to consider how raising a girl is different from raising a boy. Raising girls can be a lot easier early on because baby girls typically reach developmental milestones at an earlier age than baby boys.

From birth, baby girls are often seen holding eye contact for longer than boys; what’s more, they are also much more likely to begin talking and learn how hand-eye coordination works sooner than boys. They are also often able to recognize faces at four months of age much more accurately, and naturally have higher levels of serotonin hormone. These features can make calming baby girls easier than boys, who may be less attached to an individual and whose testosterone levels can leave them getting more easily stressed.

raising girls
Girls often reach developmental milestones earlier than boys.

Young girls tend to be much better, genetically speaking, at recognizing emotions and the impact of emotions, than young boys. This is a trait that’s often seen during their childhood games, with girls often flocking into small, close-knit groups and playing more inclusive games overall. This may make it easier at a young age to reason with young girls, who may be more receptive to emotional cues and the potential for their actions to hurt others.

However, it perhaps goes without saying that things may not always stay so easy. Indeed, there’s something of a reputation for teenage girls, in particular, to become moody and temperamental, largely driven by rapidly fluctuating hormone levels. What’s more, teenage and pre-teen girls may also be more prone to emotional reactions, which could cause significant outbursts, tantrums, and general over-reactions. As such, any parent of young girls must learn to recognize the signs of these events coming on and may need to put steps in place to try to de-escalate or resolve matters.

What is the Right Way to Raise a Daughter?

There’s no right way to raise a daughter, just like there’s no recipe for raising children in general; however, you must consider several key things when raising girls to give them the best chance of growing up to become healthy, happy young people. The most crucial point to perhaps consider is the influence of emotions during a young girl’s development; since girls generally form closer relationships with friends and family members, rather than playing in large groups, they usually develop a much stronger understanding of emotions. However, this early emotional maturing may leave young girls more prone to emotional pain due to anger in the household. Therefore, raising daughters in a more emotionally controlled and calming environment may offer valuable benefits for her development.

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“Accept the fact that girls squeal when they’re happy or confused, or excited or scared or because they just saw a certain boy in line”

Harry H. Harrison Jr

Is Raising a Daughter Hard?

Raising a daughter doesn’t have to be a major challenge; in fact, raising girls can often be much easier at an early age than raising potentially rambunctious boys. However, when raising girls, it’s crucial to recognize that these early years can transcend into more difficult teen years, when factors such as disputes between friends, relationships with boyfriends and girlfriends, potential peer pressure, the online world of social media and the like may all leave your daughter feeling more emotionally fragile.

raising girls
The rise of social media has brought a new challenge to parenting but it’s important girls are encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle.

The big world of social media has placed much more pressure on young girls to fit into the “ideal” stereotype in the way she acts, behaves, and looks. This can place almost crippling pressure on many girls to conform to an unhealthy way of life, and which may significantly impact a girl’s mental health.

Overall, raising girls comes with challenges, but it’s not necessarily hard. It just takes a little careful thought – and you should definitely be prepared for those potential teenage hormone-fuelled periods of drama!

Best Tips for Raising Girls

At this point, we’ve clarified that raising girls isn’t a major challenge, nor is it impossible – but what are some key tips for raising girls you should consider? Well, we highly recommend the following points when raising girls to ensure she has the chance to grow up in a happy, positive household overall.

1.      Always encourage your daughter to try new things – this will build confidence

2.      Make sure your daughter has the chance to play sports if she wants – it’s certainly not a boys-only activity. If she doesn’t want to engage in sports, ensure regular physical activity of some sort – this improves girls mental health as well as physical health

3.      Be aware that your daughter may have periods where she isn’t feeling quite herself, and watch out for the signs so that you can respond accordingly

4.      Praise your daughter for trying, for achieving and for attempting new things, as well as for showing resilience when things don’t go to plan – this also develops self-confidence

5.      Support and guide your daughter with practical advice, in developing assertiveness skills – this helps her to develop a strong sense of who she is and how she deserves to be treated

6.      Ensure your daughter knows about the potential for sexism when entering elementary school for the first time, and prepare her to not stand for this as well as ways to overcome this – teach her that girls can do anything boys can do

7.      If you’re a mom, be a positive role model for your daughter, if you’re a dad guide her well and both parents can share positive female role models to inspire her

8.      Support your daughter in choosing a potential career path, or finding an interest or a passion early on, to give her a focus.

9.      Give specific compliments and feedback, so your daughter knows what she is genuinely good at.

10. Encourage a healthy lifestyle – this means nurturing her mental health, encouraging physical activity, supporting her relationships with friends, encouraging a healthy diet and a healthy body image, talk to her about her feelings, emotions and accept her for the individual she is!

raising girls
Girls need to be encouraged to talk about and express their feelings, as they can tend to internalize emotions a lot of the time.

What Not to Do When Raising Young Girls

When raising girls, it’s important to consider the potential for daughters to internalize many key criticisms and issues. With this in mind, when raising girls, it’s so important not to make the following mistakes – or, if you do, try to atone for them quickly!

–         Don’t have a negative environment in your household that dissuades your daughter from following her passions! Such criticisms can often leave girls feeling scarred emotionally and may lead to long-term difficulties to overcome.

–         If your daughter presents self-doubts or concerns about her skills or body, never encourage these; instead, point out the things your daughter is good at instead and encourage that healthy lifestyle. Never make negative comments about changes in her body either – girls so often internalize such criticisms, something they may hold with them as they mature, which could easily lead to self-doubt or body image concerns later in life.

–         Don’t treat your children differently when it comes to managing behaviour and providing consequences for bad behaviour – this includes being more lenient on either your girl or your boy. There has to be equality and you need to teach your children the difference between right and wrong with fair, appropriate consequences.

Is it Cheaper to Raise Girls or Boys?

Generally speaking, raising girls can be more expensive than raising boys. Indeed, while boys may become more expensive as they grow older (often favouring expensive video games, or expensive hobbies and the like), many young girls have a greater interest in new toys and fashion. Dressing up, makeup, and later on fashion can all be significant expenses for girls; however, you may save a little on food since girls genetically seem to have a lower requirement for food than boys.

With that being said, you should never restrict your daughter’s eating, so long as she’s eating a balanced, healthy diet and maintains a healthy weight. Restrictive eating at an early age may be a key contributor to later eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, or a poor body image.

However, you should nevertheless maintain a stereotype-free household to dissuade gender inequalities for your daughter while growing up; simply encourage her to find the hobbies she genuinely likes.

Final Thoughts on Raising Girls

Raising girls comes with unique challenges, in fact raising children will always come with challenges! It may be a good idea to consider your parenting style as well – there will never be a one size fits all style of parenting because children are individuals with individual personalities and needs. Positive parenting for one particular child – girl or boy, may not work for another – you may want to look at your family values and decide whether a strict parenting style or a more gentle parenting style works for your children.

Author Steve Biddulph, who wrote the international bestseller Raising Boys, also wrote Raising Girls, which you might want to check out here.

The most important thing to mention here is that there is no right way to raise girls. There is no perfect detailed guidebook. Girls at a young age and then teenage daughters will provide unique challenges when it comes to parenting, but they all need support, guidance, they need fun!, they need their friends, their family, they need a healthy lifestyle, good education and they need parents to love them.

Do you have daughters? Let me know what you think about raising girls in the comments below!



G’day! I’m Ken, and this blog documents my journey to becoming an awesome Dad! I would love for you to join along on my journey as I discover and learn how to become the best Dad I can possibly be, and manage this goal with my challenging work commitments!

Kenny has 52 posts and counting. See all posts by Kenny

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