Raising Girls; What do I need to know?

 Raising a well-adjusted and confident young lady is the hope of every parent when they are blessed with a daughter. So, what do we need to know to help us navigate the difficult journey of raising girls?

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Introduction to Raising Girls

Raising children is certainly not for the faint hearted. It involves hard work, sleepless nights and endless stress – but does gender play a role in how challenging parenting can be? If you talk to any parent, they will certainly have an opinion about which gender is harder to raise. Whilst some stand firm that boys are harder to raise, others are adamant that girls are the most difficult. So, what does the science say about raising girls, opposed to raising boys and how can we raise our daughters to become confident and well-adjusted young ladies?

Raising Girls
Is Raising Girls really harder than Raising Boys, or is it just about personality?

Is it easier raising a boy or a girl?

It’s an age-old debate – are boys or girls easier to raise? Of course, we know that every child is different and can come with very individual challenges, but there are differences in the development of boys and girls which can impact on the overall parenting journey. An example of this can be seen at birth, where girls are typically born with better hearing than boys. As a result of this, the female brain often develops more rapidly. As the child becomes older, a girl will typically respond more quickly to parent instructions, whilst boys often need to be told something multiple times. It can be easy to think that the boy just ‘doesn’t listen’ when the truth is that they may not be able to listen as effectively as girls.

Raising Girls
Typically, girls self esteem development is not as healthy or strong as boys

Another area of development that varies significantly between boys and girls relates to their self-esteem. Whilst boys tend to develop healthy self-esteem, girls certainly have a more difficult time – and this is why those teenage years can be tougher for a girl parent. Whilst boys tend to approach puberty with enthusiasm, girls often become insecure about their bodies and lack confidence. For more information about how girls and boys develop differently, visit the following website: Who’s Easier to Raise: Boys or Girls? | Parents

The bottom line here is that there really isn’t any strong evidence that shows that either gender is more difficult to raise – each child brings a unique experience that can be more or less difficult at certain times. Whilst the research is hazy at best, that doesn’t stop parents from having their own opinions when it comes to raising boys and girls in the 21st century. According to many of my friends and family who have households full of boys and girls, they definitely think that the boys in their households are harder, with their boundless energy and aptitude for injuring themselves. Whilst the girls seem much more thoughtful and sensible at times, they might have a different opinion on this as they move through the teenage years. I suppose they will let me know in a few years’ time….

How do I build confidence in my daughter?

Encouraging your child to have a good sense of self-esteem and confidence really begins from birth. By firstly providing a stable and secure attachment, your child is learning that you will be there for them no matter what. Every child needs to feel cared about and special. By helping your child explore and discover their own interests and talents, you will be supporting them to be confident and involved learners.

Raising Girls
It’s important to allow children to experience success to build their confidence, as well as learn how to cope with failure or disappointment

Children certainly gain confidence through experiencing success. If we teach our children to set achievable goals and work towards them, then we are helping them strive for success. Another important thing to remember is that a growth mindset will go a long way towards helping your child learn resilience and to try again in the face of failure. For more information about raising a child with healthy self-esteem, visit the following link: Your Child’s Self-Esteem (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth

Do daughters need their fathers?

We often hear about the importance of a boy having a strong male role model in their lives, but we don’t so often hear about how important this is for girls as well. It can be an uncomfortable subject, given that there are millions of children growing up without fathers across the globe, but there is no escaping the fact that fathers play a hugely important role in a girl’s life.

It is through their father that most girls will learn about what men are like and how they should treat women. A daughter who has a loving and trusting relationship with her father is far more likely to have a greater sense of self-worth and will have higher expectations in terms of how she should be treated by a man. It is also true that a father’s relationship with a girl’s mother is of huge importance and will provide the basis of her understandings around what a spousal relationship should look like. This is why in many cases of domestic violence, the female victim grew up in a home where her mother was treated poorly by a man. It’s a devastating cycle that is difficult to break and is significantly detrimental to a girl’s self-esteem and sense of worth.

Raising Girls
Fathers play a significant role in the healthy emotional development of girls

Whilst there are many single parents out there who are doing a great job raising their children and should be commended for this – we also cannot discount the important role that fathers play in a girl’s life. Check out the following article for 10 reasons why fathers are so important to their daughters: 10 Reasons Why Fathers Are so Important to Their Daughters – Holidappy

How much does it cost to raise a daughter?

The cost of having a child is certainly significant. According to a 2018 government study, parents typically spend at least $140-$170 per week to raise a child. The study revealed that there really isn’t any difference in the cost of raising a boy compared to a girl but that there was a big variance in some of the choices that parents made in relation to schooling, healthcare and leisure activities. How much it costs to raise a child really comes down to personal choice. If you would like to know more about the costs associated with raising a child in Australia, check out the following link: The cost of Raising Children – CaptainFI.

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Summary of Raising Girls

It is clear that when it comes to raising children, gender might not matter as much as we think. Whilst our experiences might vary significantly – it seems that the child’s personality counts for far more than their gender in terms of how difficult they are to raise. Regardless of which gender might be more challenging, I delight in the following quote by Bethany Hamilton –”Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice!”

You can read my article on Raising Boys HERE, as a comparison.

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