Research says THIS is the reason we need to parent boys very differently 6 months ago

Research says THIS is the reason we need to parent boys very differently

I never fully believed that boys and girls were all that different – certainly not when they are small – until I had one of each of my own and could see for myself just how – at least when it comes to certain traits and behaviours – different they really are.

Where my little girl was always a social butterfly, outgoing, content and confident in new settings and with new people, it always seemed to take my little boy that little bit longer to let go of my hand and join in the games or approach someone or something new.

Interestingly, a new study has now shed some light on this subject, and why we actually need to parent baby boys differently to how we parent our little girls.

In an article written by Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. in Psychology Today entitled, “Be Worried About Boys, Especially Baby Boys” the author says we should be worried about how we are treating boys early in their lives.

The reason? Boys mature more slowly both physically, socially and linguistically than girls. As well as this, stress-regulating brain circuitries mature more slowly in boys both prenatally, perinatally and postnatally.

What this means, according to the author,  is that boys are affected more negatively by early environmental stress, inside and outside the womb, than are girls.

“Girls have more built-in mechanisms that foster resiliency against stress, whereas boys are more vulnerable to maternal stress and depression in the womb, birth trauma (e.g., separation from mother), and unresponsive caregiving (caregiving that leaves them in distress),” Narvaez writes.


Boys who are born at a normal term tend to have higher cortisol levels – the hormone indicating stress – than girls. And separation of mum and baby at birth is harmful for all babies, but Schore points out how much more harm it does to boys.

“Exposing newborn male . . . to separation stress causes an acute strong increase of cortisol and can therefore be regarded as a severe stressor,” Dr. Narvaez cites. Repeated separation results in hyperactive behavior, and “changes . . . prefronto-limbic pathways, i.e. regions that are dysfunctional in a variety of mental disorders.”