Article Review: What Boys and Girls Need (April 5, 2007)

The second article in review is titled ‘What Boys and Girls Need’ (April 5, 2007). It acknowledges the negative effects of gender stereotyping in young boys and girls. Yet, studies have indicated that parents (and caregivers) are not adequately meeting the needs of boys and girls through their style of care-giving. Citing the work of researchers, whose work was published in Work & Family Life Newsletter (March 2007), Susan Gilbert makes the following key suggestions for parents.

Firstly, contrary to conventional parenting practices, boy children need as much (if not more) attention as girl children. Parents should not withhold love and affection for boys, for fear of making them effeminate. In the same vein, boys need to be talked to as much as girls. Regular one-on-one conversations have proven to stimulate the brain. Contrary to traditional beliefs boys need exercise of their fine motor skills alongside their gross-motor skill development. Just as boys need added attention in some areas, care-giving for girls will have to be modified for optimal development. For instance, tending too much to girls can actually hamper their intellectual, personal and social development. Hence, parents and caretakers will have to adapt their care-giving style to modern scientific findings pointed herein.

The article is very well written. It is also highly relevant for current times, when most parents grapple with balancing their careers and home life. The article contains a total of four recommendations. While this concision makes the article less cumbersome, it makes it lack in rigor. Interested parents/caregivers would want to learn more about optimal care-giving methods. To this extent, more suggestions could have been added to the article. But, in terms of the style of presentation and standards of objectivity the article scores high.