A comment on a post yesterday got me thinking about this more…
I have to admit that we would also like to have a child of the opposite sex this time, though happiness will come either way…
Before I had kids I would have believed completely that it is nuture not nature that makes such a distinct difference between the sexes, however I now believe differently.
I would like to believe that we are raising the boys in the same way as we would be raising girls. We do not believe that children should repress their feelings and we let the boys express themselves. We provide toys that are unisex and provide dolls and kitchens alongside cars and trains… However, the boys have a clear preference for the “boy” toys, they have times when they will nurture a doll but it is a rare occasion… It is not something that we have taught them but something that seems inherent. When we are with friends that have girls I can also plainly see the difference in the way that they act.
I decided to look for what physical differences could be found between girls and boys and among a large slew of articles on the net. I found a few articles that made quite a few of sense for me, strangely they are from very mainstream sources.
One article found here: has “10 key differences between boys and girls”
I think that they are really interesting (I shortened them a bit)
Language Lessons: One study found that parts of the female brain that process language are more densely packed with nerve cells than corresponding parts of the male brain. This may explain why girls often begin talking a few months before boys do and usually have better verbal ability.
The Math Equation: The part of the brain that handles space perception is bigger in males — and this may explain why boys are better at thinking about objects in three dimensions. In a French study, for example, 21 percent of 2-year-old boys could build a bridge of blocks, but only 8 percent of girls could. “Spatial ability is one of the most noticeable sex differences, and it gets more pronounced through childhood and adolescence,”
Motor Matters: Better 3-D thinking could explain why boys typically start walking three to four months earlier than girls do and usually outperform them in motor skills such as running and jumping, says Dr. Gur. However, parts of the brain responsible for fine motor skills mature more slowly in boys, so girls outpace boys in finger work such as holding a crayon, zipping a jacket, and learning to write the alphabet.
Girls and Dolls: Better spatial skills also appear to attract boys to toys that move, such as trucks, balls, and anything that can be propelled through space. It’s not just dads pushing guy gear at their sons: Male monkeys also choose action toys in lab studies, so it appears to be a programmed preference. Girls, on the other hand, really do prefer dolls (though not as single-mindedly as boys go for wheels and balls). One reason may be that girls pay more attention to people while boys are more enthralled with mechanical objects.
The Sensitive Gender: Girls’ brains are bigger in an area that interprets events and triggers complicated feelings like sadness and empathy. Boys’ brains are relatively larger in a more primitive area that handles raw, impulsive emotions like fear and anger. Boys are more direct and confrontational, yet they don’t take verbal — or physical — jabs as personally. In some ways, that makes boys better at handling conflict. “When boys fight, they quickly make up,” says Dr. Gur. “Girls remain enemies longer.”
Little Men on the Move: By age 2, boys are noticeably more physical than girls: They’re more likely to run, jump, and play rough-and-tumble games and less likely to stand around and chat. In studies of make-believe play, Dr. Scarlett found that girls tend to act out domestic themes and boys tend to act out death and destruction. “Boys play at power,” he says. “That’s why they love superheroes.”
The Safer Sex: Because they’re sharp analyzers of what goes on around them, girls are better at anticipating the consequences of their actions — which keeps them safer but also makes them more cautious than boys.
The Stress Effect: In animal studies, short-term stress improves memory in males but impairs it in females, suggesting that boys learn better in tense situations such as contests and timed exercises. Female brains, however, appear to weather long-term stress better, which may make a girl more resilient during, say, a bitter, dragged-out divorce between her parents.
All Ears: Preliminary studies suggest that girls tend to have better hearing than boys have. The differences are too subtle to pick up in early auditory tests but may make a difference in classroom behavior
An Eye for Color: Animal research finds that cells in the retina are primed to take in sex hormones, indicating that eyes may develop differently in boys and girls. Other studies suggest that male retinas are better at detecting motion, while female retinas are better at seeing color and texture. As a result, girls tend to draw flowers and butterflies using bright colors, while boys draw cars and spaceships using drabber hues. It’s also well documented that boys are more prone to color blindness than girls are. High-tech scans are letting scientists observe gender differences in parts of the brain responsible for emotions like sadness and empathy.
Here is another Article that is quite a good read…
One thing that stuck out in this article is that the author states this about finding sources that show what she believes
Not only do most of the books currently in print about girls and boys fail to state the basic facts about innate differences between the sexes, many of them promote a bizarre form of political correctness, suggesting that it is somehow chauvinistic even to hint that any innate differences exist between female and male.
Anyways… though I believe that there are very real differences between girls and boys I also believe that the differences should never be used as excuses for behaviours as many parents seem to do.
I believe that we should provide them with the same toys experiences etc and let them make the decisions for what interests them. We should also encourage their interests whether or not we believe that it is “gender appropriate”…
I remember a few years ago when the birth board that I participated on had moms that were scandalized by their nearing 2 year old boys wanting to play with kitchens or brooms… I also talked with a mom recently who is worried about her 2 yo son raiding her closet and wearing her high heels and is now making sure to hide such things from him…
Though I already believed that there was a difference between the sexes, I know that the way kids are raised has as much or even more weight on the outcome and the very real difference between the men and women in our society in the past and at the present moment.