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Give your Son a Hug!

January 30th, 2018 | By: Alyson Schafer
Despite what some people may think, boys are not “tougher” than girls. Here’s why your son needs more emotional support, and it needs to start from birth.

In This Article

Give your Son a Hug!

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 the deeper, more emotional differences?

Increasingly research sheds more light on gender differences in the brain and its development. 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.

In a recent study called The Fragile Male, Sebastian Kraemer states that baby boy brains are actually more fragile than baby girls'. Even in the womb, boy brains are more reactive to maternal depression and stress, while at birth, baby boy brains lag behind girls by a full six weeks.

Gender Hormone Differences

Research has also shown that boys have higher cortisol levels (the stress hormone) after a traumatic birth where they were separated from their mothers, or their caregiver was unresponsive.

Kraemer argues that female brains have an early advantage that stays with them throughout childhood, while boys struggle and trail behind in a variety of areas.

As boys age, they can continue to struggle, which (when compounded by the lack of emotional support) only gets more serious. Although scientists go back and forth on this, it is thought that males are more prone to dyslexia and difficulty with reading and language, making school and learning difficult. Boys are also more likely to have childhood onset conduct disorder and are two or three times more likely to have ADHD.