Are boys and girls really that different? Twenty years ago, doctors and researchers didnt think so. Back then, most experts believed that differences in how girls and boys behave are mainly due to differences in how they were treated by their parents, teachers, and friends.
It's hard to cling to that belief today. An avalanche of research over the past twenty years has shown that sex differences are more significant and profound than anybody guessed. Sex differences are real, biologically programmed, and important to how children are raised, disciplined, and educated.
In Why Gender Matters, psychologist and family physician Dr. Leonard Sax leads parents through the mystifying world of gender differences by explaining the biologically different ways in which children think, feel, and act. He addresses a host of issues, including discipline, learning, risk taking, aggression, sex, and drugs, and shows how boys and girls react in predictable ways to different situations.
For example, girls are born with more sensitive hearing than boys, and those differences increase as kids grow up. So when a grown man speaks to a girl in what he thinks is a normal voice, she may hear it as yelling. Conversely, boys who appear to be inattentive in class may just be sitting too far away to hear the teacherespecially if the teacher is female.
Likewise, negative emotions are seated in an ancient structure of the brain called the amygdala. Girls develop an early connection between this area and the cerebral cortex, enabling them to talk about their feelings. In boys these links develop later. So if you ask a troubled adolescent boy to tell you what his feelings are, he often literally cannot say.
Dr. Sax offers fresh approaches to disciplining children, as well as gender-specific ways to help girls and boys avoid drugs and early sexual activity. He wants parents to understand and work with hardwired differences in children, but he also encourages them to push beyond gender-based stereotypes.
A leading proponent of single-sex education, Dr. Sax points out specific instances where keeping boys and girls separate in the classroom has yielded striking educational, social, and interpersonal benefits. Despite the view of many educators and experts on child-rearing that sex differences should be ignored or overcome, parents and teachers would do better to recognize, understand, and make use of the biological differences that make a girl a girl, and a boy a boy.
The New York Post
Convincing. . . Psychologist and family physician Leonard Sax, using 20 years of published research, offers a guide to the growing mountain of evidence that girls and boys really are different. . . This extremely readable book also includes shrewd advice on discipline, and on helping youngsters avoid drugs and early sexual activity. Sax's findings, insights and provocative point-of-view should be of interest and help to many parents.
Until recently, there have been two groups of people: those who argue sex differences are innate and should be embraced and those who insist that they are learned and should be eliminated by changing the environment. Sax is one of the few in the middle -- convinced that boys and girls are innately different and that we must change the environment so differences don't become limitations.
His volume is a worthy read for those who care about how best to prepare children for the challenges they face on the path to adulthood.
His readable prose... makes this book accessible to a range of readers.
New York Post
Sax's findings, insights and provocative point-of-view should be of interest and help to many parents.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by jkennedy Why Gender Matters Leonard Sax makes an excellent case for why we should respect the biological differences between boys and girls and how we can approach teaching our children about life by using those differences. This should be required reading for all teachers as... Read More
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least 211 public schools in the United States are offering gender-separate
educational opportunities. Most of those are coeducational schools with all or
some of their classrooms run on a single-sex basis, but 44 are completely
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