Dear Dr. G.,
This has been eating away at me for some time. I have raised both a teen boy and a teen girl. My friends all insist that teen boys are easier to raise but that has not been my experience. My teen son drove more carelessly and faster and had more problems with anger. My daughter was at times a drama queen but after talking a little she would settle down. It was my son's safety that I was more concerned about. Every time that I hear parents say that the girls are easier than the boys I just feel sick inside. I don't even bother trying to argue with them because they seem so convinced like it's a given fact.
I wonder if you can help me by telling me if teen boys really are known to be easier than girls? Thank you in advance, Dr.G.
A Frustrated Mother
You are in luck. I too, am frustrated by the ubiquitous feeling that teen girls are easier than boys. First of all, teen boys are more likely to die as a result of car crashes. They are more likely to have difficulties that are attentional in nature-ADHD and defiant in nature- ODD. They are also more likely to be aggressive and violent. I hate to bring this up but the school shooters tend to be male not female, right? Sad but true. If teen girls are athletic then they are tomboys. If teen boys are not athletic then they are nerds or not fully masculine.
Teen girls, too, have their issues. They are more likely to get depressed, engage in self-mutilation,and develop eating disorders. Sadly, teen boys are developing these problems at an increasing rate. However, our teen girls are more likely to talk about their feelings out loud because they are taught the vocabulary of emotions and we often fail to teach our boys how to label their feelings. In our society, it is still more socially acceptable for females to discuss their emotions than it is for males.
And, simply because we have taught our teen sons, inadvertently, to be quiet about their emotions does not that they are feeling good.
Even though many people will disagree with me--my opinion is that teen girls are not and should not considered to be easier to raise than teen boys if you are really paying close attention. This is my opinion after 25 years of working with teenage boys and girls and I stand behind it firmly. I hope that this was helpful.
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