Parenting: Why raising boys and raising girls IS different 6 months ago

Parenting: Why raising boys and raising girls IS different

Brought to you by Lidl.

In a positive era of increased gender equality, it makes sense that the exact same formula should be used to raise both boys and girls.

However, what parents need to remember is that while the framework is the same (all children need to see that boys and girls are not treated differently), on a practical level raising boys and girls requires a slightly different approach when it comes to participation in team sports.

Drawing on Lidl's latest research, it's clear that girls need more encouragement to continue playing sports when they reach their teens.

Why is sports participation an issue? 

The study findings support previous research confirming that playing team sports helps women build a strong set of life skills, like better mental well-being, dealing with pressure and self-confidence.

Unfortunately, the research has found that one in two girls quit sport completely before the age of 13.

Meanwhile, two in three girls report experiencing peer pressure every day. The research shows that girls who play sport have better tools to help them cope with this pressure, as well as better body confidence and mental well-being than girls who don’t play sport.

Women that play sports are more likely to feel inspired daily and never feel left out. Women that don’t play sports are more likely to feel overwhelmed weekly and depressed every so often.


So what does parenting have to do with it?

The fact is, is all comes down to support. The Lidl research shows a clear disparity in the encouragement given to boys and girls when it comes to playing sport. When it comes to continuing to play, 71 percent of girls agreed that girls are more likely to give up sport because they are not encouraged as much as their male counterparts.

FACT: 56 percent of men report being strongly encouraged to play sport versus 36 percent of women.

Among girls who continue to play sports throughout their teens, mothers appeared to be the main encouragers. In other words, if mum was on board and supporting her daughter at home, she was more likely to keep on playing.

Meanwhile, three in five girls agree that parents more likely to discourage sons from giving up sport than daughters.

What are the key things I can do to encourage my daughter?

  • According to the research, parents are more likely to agree that women are less likely to have a career in sport. Make an effort to quash that idea right now by frequently highlighting the achievements of female sportspeople.
  • According to the research, mothers and girls both agree strongly that encouraging girls to do sport will help them achieve their potential in life. Open this conversation with your daughter and find out if there is anything you could do to increase the likelihood of your daughter joining or remaining on a sports team.
  • Close to half of parents, girls and adults agreed that boys are under less pressure academically if they do well in sport. Much fewer agreed that girls are put under less pressure academically when doing sport. Make sure you let your daughter know that it's all about balance.


By the age of 13, one in two young women drop out of sport. They are three times more likely to drop out than boys.

Lidl want more Irish women to stay in sport. That's why they have invested €2.5m to date in women's sport. Continue reading here.

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