Mother's Corner: Difference starts in the brain
by Yolande Barial
Oct 19, 2012 | 4413 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I used to ask my sons when they came home from school “How was your day?” and, “Do you have any homework?” My sons always had the same response — “Good,” and, “I don’t know.”

I ask my daughter the same question. Her response is detailed — filled with emotion, body movements, eye rolls, skips, kisses, high-pitched squeals, teachers’ names and homework assignments, as well as what she and her friends did at recess and who was standing next to the swings and that she loves the smells of tanbark! By the time she finishes, I am exhausted from watching her answer my question.

My sons are able to remember the entire roster of any professional football or basketball team and its standings, but can’t seem to remember the homework that is due tomorrow.

My daughter, on the other hand, finishes my sentences — she knows what I meant to say and has no interest in football or basketball. She also knows what day next week the book report is due.

When the boys are playing their sport and we are at their games, she and her friends are huddled together talking, singing and laughing, oblivious to the game or to the crowd.

There are plenty of biological reasons why boys and girls hear, listen, act and speak differently. They are wired differently — physiologically, physically and emotionally.

In my experience, boys’ brains seem not to want to talk as much as girls’ brains. Girls’ brains have to have some kind of connection to communicate. Boys’ brains, typically, do not need such an intense connection and choose their words sparingly, so a thought can be expressed with fewer words.

As parents and teachers, we realize that children say and don’t say the darndest things. So extracting information from our children requires patience, patience and more patience, as well as the skill required to ask a specific question.

One cannot be vague. Do not ask an open-ended question — they should be pointed and direct.

The boy and the girl — the male and the female — are each unique. The frontal lobes of our children mature at different rates.

There are piles of research that explain that boys communicate, learn, understand and act spatially and girls act verbally due to how the two hemispheres of the brain “talk” to each other. The research does not, however, say that they cannot learn equally, it just explains why boys and girls are different — which is a good thing.

• Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mom. Her column appears every so often in the Tracy Press.

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