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  • Should I raise my boy child differently from the way I would raise my girl child?

Should I raise my boy child differently from the way I would raise my girl child?

Whether we like to admit it or not, the development and growth of boys and girls differ. Research has shown that girls grow taller faster, potty train faster and also hit puberty a little bit earlier than their male counterparts. Boys on the other hand are said to develop motor physical motor skills faster and also activate their risk taking skills faster than their female counterparts. And there are so many more aspects where this difference in development is obvious. 

This is probably also why interest and training of boys and girls are subjected to their skills. Or perhaps the difference in training is a result of societal expectations and the training and expectations of parents themselves. Findings show that boys are expected and trained to be tough, more handy, confident and smarter. While girls are trained and expected to be emotional, homely, accessible and also smart. A typical African  home expects more from (and will probably put more investment and time into training) the boys than the girls.

Now there is no question of right or wrong or that this difference exists. You know how you grew up. Even if you had all access to the kind of training that you want and your parents invested equally in training you and your brothers, I am sure you have examples around you of this disparity. So now that we have kids of our own, what are we going to do about it?

The first place to start is to accept that no child is the same, regardless of their gender. The growth of children will never be something that you can compare with one another. Their pace will always be different. 

Then recognise what values, life skills and training you would want your kids to have. I would want all my kids to be very neat, know how to cook and handy. I would want them to be respectful, confident, introspective, kind, loving and smart. Then I have got to train them all in these, regardless of whether I have boys or girls. 

Pay attention to their innate skills and nurture it. There are some girls who like to play sports and some boys would prefer to sing, read and do all that stuff. Nurture that. Do not try to change it because it does not fit into the box of gender based activities that the society has built over time. 

Always check yourself. Be intentional about being mindful of these things as they grow. Because we might just find ourselves doing some of the things we have vowed never to do. Not because we want to, but because these things just happen. But if we are conscious and deliberate about it, we can reorient ourselves as we go on this parenting journey.

In all, let's try to be fair with all of our kids as we raise them to be fully functioning humans in the society. 

Good luck.

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