A book called Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps, by Lise Eliot, Ph.D., discusses the brain differences between boys and girls. Although modest at birth, when combined with social and other factors they evolve into much stronger and sometimes alarming differences. How can we fight against the social norms when raising girls and boys? Take this quiz from her book and see how you do!
True or False
1. Bouncy seats and ExerSaucers are great for babies, and parents should make use of them whenever possible.
2. Girls shouldn’t be expected to play with Legos and other “boy” toys.
3. Once children can read by themselves, it’s not good to keep reading aloud to them.
4. Girls should spend more time playing video games.
5. Boys should be spared awkward social interactions when company comes to visit.
1. False Babies need to stretch their limbs, develop balance, and learn to support their own bodies. Girls, especially, need more physical challenges early on to avoid falling behind boys in gross motor skills during the preschool years.
2. False Playing with building toys (not just Legos but more gender-neutral options like wooden blocks, Lincoln Logs, and K’Nex), especially ones that involve translating a series of instructional diagrams into 3-D structures, helps enhance the visual-spatial skills linked to later math achievement.
3. False Boys, especially, tend to fall behind in reading during the school years, but they still need their vocabularies increased and imaginations fueled. While girls are sometimes more apt to pick up a book once they can read by themselves, boys may need help getting immersed in a good novel.
4. True While boys are spending too much time playing computer and video games, girls are not spending enough. Fast-paced driving and targeting games have been proven to strengthen spatial skills, the one area of math in which girls consistently lag behind boys.
5. False It’s too easy to let a shy or awkward boy run outside or up to his room when guests arrive, but interpersonal skills need practice just like anything else. Use these opportunities to teach boys to say hello, make eye contact, shake hands and try having a conversation.
Do you find yourself struggling with the social norms for boys or girls ? How do you think we’re doing?
Emily Hansen served on the Women of the ELCA staff from 2005-2011 as director for programming: stewardship and director for stewardship and development.