Hear what these parents have to say.
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
When it comes to gender, everyone has an opinion. A quick survey search online would tell you that the general consensus is that boys are harder to raise when they’re very young; the stereotype being that boys are harder to deal with in terms of discipline, physical safety, communication, and where aggression is concerned. Boys can be less verbal, but a lot more impulsive. If you’re a parent of little boys and have ever looked enviously at little girls sitting quietly in a corner combing Barbie’s hair – while your little terror runs amok with swords in hand – you’ll know what I’m talking about.
On the other hand, girls are thought to be more complicated and difficult to handle as they enter their teenage years. Parents of girls are quick to list how they have to contend with everything from hormonal swings to boyfriend worries, and from a math bias to catty catfights.
The Daily Mail refers to a study of 3,000 mothers and fathers and finds that two-thirds of parents say teenage girls are harder to raise than boys with almost three quarters admitting they argue more regularly with daughters than with sons.
Juan Garcia (not his real name), father of 15-year-old Araceli knows exactly what this is like. “Raising a girl was so easy... until she turned 13!” he says. “Since she started preschool, my daughter was preparing her own clothes for school the next day, was always tidy, looked after her things, helped at home and tried to avoid conflict. But when her body changed, it was like she lost control of everything. She didn’t like the acne on her face and she didn’t like her changing looks so it was as if her world was falling apart. Now she is learning to deal with her image and all the new things but at one point it was pretty tough for everyone around her.”
When asked if he thought it was easier to raise a boy or a girl, Juan says, “In general I think girls tend to follow the rules more than boys do… so it’s easier with a girl as long as the parent establishes clear rules.”
Marianne D’Souza, mother of 14-year-old Cassandra, 18-year-old Alexis and 17-year-old Jeremiah agrees, “My girls were complete angels as little children! Alexis has always been quiet and she prefers spending time with me or the family than wanting to be out with friends. I never had problems with her and don’t think I will. In fact, I try to force her to leave her books and go out sometimes. But Adrianne is the extroverted one… she started talking back from quite a young age… 10 or 11… and she can be quite smart-mouthed. My son was very naughty as a child! He’s boisterous like his dad. Always getting into trouble in school. But he’s growing up now and has a girl he likes… he’s calmed down a bit and is behaving more like a gentleman! His dad was like that too… he changed when he got serious with me!”
Then again, there are mums who disagree completely. Adelina Brask, mother of 11-month-old Marcus, doesn’t put much faith in gender stereotypes; “I can say that my boy is the easiest! He’s been sleeping in his own room since he was six weeks old, he loves to eat broccoli and avocado and hates sweets... he is curious, active, funny and in general, just easy! Growing up, my little brother was easy too. He almost raised himself. But then again, I was an easy baby too according to my mum, so I guess it’s about personality, genes and (mostly) the mother’s perception.”