When you read about gender stereotyping children, it’s usually about behaviours like girls opting to play with dolls and boys preferring trucks. But what about other differences?
Recent and past research sheds light on gender differences in the brain and its development, and it’s these studies we should be looking to when it comes to thinking about the kinds of emotional support we give our children, especially our boys.
“Boys tended to be too excitable, and mothers did all they could to soothe and settle them, at some cost to their development,” notes Kraemer. “The care of boys is generally more difficult and therefore more likely to go wrong, adding to the deficits already existing before birth.
Since most of the growth of the human brain takes place after birth, some early environmental stressors could lead to disadvantage for boys being ‘wired in. In any case, in boys the formation of secure attachment to a caregiver is more subject than in girls to parental unavailability, insensitivity, or depression.