Raising boys or girls, which is harder?

Eight-year-old Yusuf Usman is a very active boy, jumping from one place to the other which makes his mother to keep shouting and sometimes spank him. He wouldn’t stay in one place without any of the parents, especially the mother, around to yell at him to sit still.

When he is not fighting with his nine-year-old sister or playing rough, he is probably doing something that will make his mother shout at the top of her voice to quieten him.

Yusuf did not start his hyperactive behaviour when he was eight; he has been like that from when he was a baby. “Always restless”, the mother said.

Mrs Usman said, Yusuf alone is like 10 children put together in one, adding that his elder sister was calmer and she did not need to scream on top of her voice on her.

Since the house is under the control of women, many of them have one experience or the other in raising their children. Mrs Grace Afolabi, a mother of two boys and two girls while narrating her experience said, the boys who came first before the girls gave her a tough time, adding that they both made her talk a lot but that the girls listened more even though the small girl tended to learn from her brothers and behaved like boys sometimes.

“I was relieved a bit when they started growing into adults. In their childhood, it was not an easy task,” she said.

Mrs Chinedu Bernadette said her one boy is as calm as the three girls, adding that may be because he is in between the girls. “But I know that some parents with boys do not have it that easy because boys are active.”

A Facebook poll recently posted: ‘which is easier to raise, boys or girls’ and out of 265 responses, all but one commented and affirmed that boys are easier to raise than girls.

Experts say there have been numerous studies and debates about which gender is harder to raise and in terms of hearing and communication, boys are actually seen as the harder sex.

According to a psychologist and family physician, Dr Leonard Sax, who’s author of ‘Six Degrees of Separation: What Teachers Need to Know About the Emerging Science of Sex Differences’, “Girl’s hearing is more sensitive in frequency and thus they are actually able to hear better than boys.

“Boys have 35 percent less hearing than girls due to the cochlea length in the ear.”

“In terms of communication, girls actually have the upper hand here too. Studies conducted by Dr Sax and Virginia Bonomo of the University of Pennsylvania indicate that girls develop their verbal skills at a much younger age. In fact, girls will develop their language and fine motor skills around six years earlier than boys.”

Another psychologist and language therapist, Ian McCullogh, who answered the question whether one gender is inherently harder to raise than the other said, with boys, the first 10 years are more challenging while with girls, the second 10 years are more challenging.

He said, every individual is, of course, unique and will go through their own experience, adding that regardless of gender, their perception of the experience will be different than your experience as a parent.

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