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Boys and Girls, They Are Different. Who Knew!?!

Boys and Girls, They Are Different. Who Knew!?!

April 4, 2012

Last week I was talking to someone about the way my daughter approaches school and the way my sons do. The person said that in her experience as an educator, it was pretty typical of what she saw in her classroom. And that is, the girls care a lot more than the boys about their grades. My daughter does all of her homework for the week on Monday, sometimes opting to stay in from recess to do it at school. My sons I pretty much have to duct tape to their chairs in order to get them to do it at the last minute. And even then, sometimes they just… don’t.

We decided that if we could somehow bottle up my 8 year old daughter’s drive and anxiety surrounding grades, we could be billionaires selling it to the parents of high school aged boys. It would be like an anti-Xanax. (And maybe girls. Neither of us has teenage girls so we don’t know.) Who needs the mega millions lottery!


My daughter was crying. Sobbing, wailing cries. Because she did not get a 100 on her spelling test. She was fairly inconsolable about this. Nothing any of us said made her feel better, in fact most of it was just making her cry more. My 17 yr old, in a rare moment of empathy said to her, “If I cried every time I got a bad grade, well, I’d never stop crying!” Not sure THAT is exactly what I want to hear either. I best get working on the bottling idea.

What I found interesting though was that as we talked about school and grades, all of the kids agreed that girls were smarter, did better in school, and got better grades. This is completely opposite from my experience in school, where the consensus seemed to be that boys were naturally smarter. Personally, I don’t think that either gender is smarter than the other, but I do think that the classroom environment is better suited to girls, at the younger ages anyway.


I have an exciting new project. Over at Alphamom we are changing things up a little bit. After having numerous discussions with friends about teenagers and the issues surrounding raising teenagers, and how we can’t really blog about the things we want to because of privacy issues, I am now going to be taking questions about issues that concern paretns of teenagers. If you need some advice, or want someone to commiserate, feel free to send me an email. Everything will be kept confidential, meaning I won’t post your name or email address or blog url. I am hoping that we can have start some conversations that don’t yet have a forum. I hope you will join me over there to give your input on topics. Or email me a question if you have one: adviceforparentsoftweens@gmail.com

My first post answering someone’s question is up, and it is about teen dating, specifically younger teens. And why, even though when my kids were younger I said it would happen over my dead body, I allow my kids to date. Feel free to weigh in.

Posted by Chris @ 9:25 am  

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  1. Emily says:

    My Mom taught 1st grade for 30 years. Before that she had stints in 3rd as well. Her philosophy is that most boys shouldn’t even GO to school until they are at least 10 or so. By that time they are ready to sit still (generally) and do some work. Girls, however, should be allowed to go to school as soon as they want because they are generally better equipped to handle it.

    Why? Don’t know. But I think this is a universally recognized phenomenon. :)

  2. Arnebya @whatnowandwhy says:

    I agree that neither gender is smarter than the other. I also agree that younger kids, boys in particular, may not do as well in classroom settings as girls based on sheer energy (not to say that there aren’t girls who are just as exuberant to get out and run). When I was in school, I was told that boys were better at math than girls (this of course did not help my utter inability to figure out fractions). With my girls, both seem math-able (though one is clearly a faster learner where math is related. The other just needs it explained differently. Cue daddy’s entrance b/c mommy just…can’t).

    Congrats on the Alphamom changes! I shall read and store information and suggestions/advice for when mine hit the teens. Wait, it’s just next year for the oldest. Damn.

  3. sonja lange says:

    I am so excited about this new project - my oldest is only 12 but we are already entering the tween angst with the 9 year old.

  4. Melissa@HomeBaked says:

    I’m experiencing the same difference in my house. My 9-yr-old son is very smart and an excellent student, but getting him to do his homework can be torture (for both of us). It’s not that the work is difficult; he just doesn’t want to do it. I don’t have to encourage him to read, but when it’s time to fill in the reading log with titles and page numbers, cue the extended moaning session. My 6-yr-old daughter comes home, pulls out her work, does it, and goes off to play. No fanfare, no whining.

    Alas, my youngest child is also a boy.

  5. Lucinda says:

    That’s so funny. My boy and girl are the exact opposite. My daughter couldn’t care less and my boy is a great student. I’ve always said though that my daughter speaks fluent boy.

  6. Ann from St. Peter MN says:

    Maybe it’s all coincidence, but I have one son and one daughter and I find them like your kids. Big bro is super laid back, a good student, but never really applied himself too much. He was a last minute Louie with homework projects but managed to get good grades. I am not sure we ever discussed homework together when he was in school. Little sis obsessed about EVERYTHING! Oh - the tears! OH - the angst! If she couldn’t do it perfectly, she wasn’t going to do it. If there was a project due at the end of the quarter, you can bet she got it done within the first week of receiving the assignment. She chose to work by herself rather than do “group projects” because she was not going to leave the fate of her grade to anyone else but herself. I always said I would have the perfect kids if only I could mash them together and have a bit of each kid rub off on the other. But - they both turned out OK - it’s just a matter of different styles. But oh - the gray hair it earned me!

  7. Michelle says:

    Very interesting, as a mom to only girls I have to say that if they were opposite sexes I would definitely attribute the differences to gender. I have a 13 year old daughter who was sort of flakey about assignments(forgetting things often) and not always good about organization until just last year in the 6th grade (when we switched her from Catholic school to Public school). As a 7th grader she’s now a straight A student who thinks her boy peers are immature. She often leaves things for the last minute though. . . . .My 10 year old, who is generally 180 degrees different personality wise from her sister, is also flakey about assignments (even more so than her sister) but the difference is she doesn’t really care and I’m not quite sure how to make her care but I digress. . . .she also thinks that 4th grade boys are horrible (”ugh, mom they come up with the dumbest things, and they look for stuff that’s so inappropriate”). I’m the same age as you and I don’t really remember any inequality in the classroom, or feeling like a second class student because I was a girl (but maybe I was oblivious?). However, I can see from being in the kids classroom as a volunteer how they do tend to be a better fit for girls now days. I wonder how to fix that?

  8. liz says:

    My son (a 10-yo only child) has much more of your daughter’s style, school wise. Very Hermione-esque. I love your teen column!

  9. mythoughtsonthat says:

    I like the way your daughter is perched on the bar stool. I just do.

  10. XD says:

    The whole, “Boys are supposed to be smarter than girls” thing isn’t true in my school. All of my friends are, well…they’re like a spoon in the drawer of knives. And…some of my friends are dating alredy. But definition of dating for them is just,
    “Do you wanna go out with me?”

    Very awkward. But anyways, I really enjoy your blog!