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Boys vs. Girls

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

It feels so good to finally let the cat out of the bag about what we’re having (a girl in case you missed it!). I can’t lie: I have always dreamed of having a baby girl. I’m looking forward to all of it: the clothes, the dolls, the clothes for the dolls. I’m a total sucker for girlie stuff, which might surprise a lot of people because I’m not the girliest-girl in the world.

But it’s hard to imagine, now that I have a boy, my house being infiltrated with pink (I don’t love the color pink but I’m coming around to it). I know that’s only one of the many changes coming our way with having a girl. Oddly, even though I am a girl, and I have a big brother, I don’t really know what to expect with a girl other than pink clothes and hair bows. (And, if she’s anything like me, some major sass.)

So I turned to the experts for advice—family and friends who’ve raised both boys and girls—to help me get my head around all the differences when it comes to raising both sexes. My brother and I are the typical examples: I was always pretty girlie (much more so when I was younger)—I liked clothes, hearts, shopping, and was obsessed with my Cabbage Patch Dolls. My brother was and is a sports freak, and wanted nothing to do with me.

Some recent (and very unscientific) research has uncovered these little gems of wisdom—do you agree or disagree with these assessments? Any to add?

  1. “Girls play nicer, side by side; they make up stories; play house; play dolls. Boys are always adversaries, playing against each other; they play more games, want to WIN. Definitely affects them both in the workplace down the road—girls are more collaborative; boys are more authoritarian.” I happen to think this is spot on—and before you think this plays off male/female stereotypes, as someone who worked in a male-dominated office for 10 years, I could not agree more with that last statement (there are exceptions of course).
  2. “Mine both potty trained at exactly the same time—3 years old. That was the way to get a 'big bed.'”
  3. “Both [my boy and girl] walked at about a year—the boy slightly earlier, maybe a week.”
  4. “Boys are not as sensitive, from the very beginning to the very end. They don't take as much time to think about things, consider them, collaborate with others about them, etc. They’re generally more decisive.”
  5. “There are better clothes for girls, but it’s easier to shop for boys.” A couple of my friends have pointed this out—while girls are more fun to shop for, boys are easier to dress because you can throw a T-shirt and jeans on them and they look cute. Girls need “outfits.”
  6. “Boys don't verbalize the events of the day as much as girls. Girls are more dramatic!” Sooo true.
  7. “I think it all depends on the kid—my boys are equally as sensitive as my girl.”
  8. “It's amazing how different my two kids are, right down to my son being into blue and my daughter into purple and pink. She’s already very maternal, into baby dolls and real babies; she loves Barbies, stuffed animals and playing with kitchens. He loves Legos and building and is a lot more physical.” This made me realize how metro Preston is—his favorite colors are blue and pink; he loves his red kitchen; and is not what I'd consider a rough-and-tumble boy. I like to think he takes after me—he’s more cerebral.

I know this has a lot to do with each kid’s personality, but what do you think are the biggest differences between raising boys and girls? Would love to hear about your kids and their personality traits, and what sets them apart. Let's discuss in the comments.