WHY ARE TEENAGE GIRLS HARDER TO RAISE THEN TEENAGE BOYS?
The Mysteries of Teen Girls
Guys, if you thought women were hard to figure out, try figuring out the mind/psyche/emotions of a teen aged girl! I am the mother of two teen daughters and was once a teen girl myself and I still do not know all the mysteries of their minds! Teen Boys and Men are relatively simple creatures. They require, in my estimation, only a handful of things: Food, Sports, Relaxation/Sleep, and Sex. (these are not mutually exclusive by the way, and are not necessarily listed in order of importance either.) But a girl/woman requires much more effort to understand. Alas, I saw this question here, "Why are Teen Girls Harder to raise than Teen Boys" and I am going to, in my own feeble and amateurish way, attempt to answer that query.
Firstly, although girls do not officially become teenagers until the age of 13, they begin practicing for it long beforehand. I learned very early on that a girl's temperament is set at a young age. They tend not to deviate from it, although it does become more clearly defined as they approach and then enter their teen years. For example, a girl that has whining temper tantrums as a two year old, will continue (these skills honed throughout childhood) into her teens. Now these tactics will rarely work with a parent who is firm and consistent, but it does not stop the teen girl from trying. And try they do....your patience. Teen girls are expert whiners. The will whine about everything from not having the trendiest clothing, to not garnering the affections/attention of the new boy of the week, to why they must do their homework etc...etc...infinitem. Only the strongest of constitutions can tolerate this.
Boys in my experience, do not whine. Oh perhaps when they are little guys, aged 2-4. But rarely do you hear a boy's deepening or occasionally cracking prepubescent voice whining in protest. No, boys may grumble or groan, or more likely ignore requests for homework completion etc. but they generally do not whine.
Next, girls are obsessive-compulsive little bundles of neurosis as they enter and become teens. They obsess about their hair, their makeup, which boy likes which girl, they try on outfit after outfit trying to find just that right combination of cool, hip and unique. (Which means looking JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE). They will talk to everyone and anyone they can on the phone, they text message each other compulsively and obsessively. They wash their hair and style it, only to turn around after two hours of effort on their coiffed do's and rewash and style it.
Boys do not seem to spend as much time on their appearances as girls do. Although I am sure that to a degree how a boy dresses etc matters to him, but girls spend far more time immersed in shopping, clothing/fashion trends etc. than boys. And they are far more expensive...especially if they are shoe shoppers like my older daughter. Girls seem inately attracted to pretty clothing, shiny and colorful shoes and purses! My daughter, from the age of 2 on has had an affection (almost bordering on obsession) for shoes. She could and would spend thousands on them if I had the desire or means to allow it.
The worst ages, in my humble opinion, for girls is 12 and 13. This typically places them in about the seventh grade. Seventh grade girls are the most hideous creatures ever created by God Almighty! They are catty, cantankerous, moody, snippy, and emotional. My younger daughter is currently at this stage. The only reason she is probably going to live to see 14 is because her father and I have had the benefit of having already survived her sister's parle down this path.
Get more than one 12 year together at any given time and run for your life! They gossip about each other, fight, and bicker. But they can also spend hours confiding in each other their deepest darkest secrets. Of course, as a parent, you will never be privy to these secrets because after they hit the age of 11 they stop telling you everything. When girls fight, unlike boys, they do not typically settle disputes with their fists. They sling arrows and barbs at each other instead. One well placed dirty look from a rival and a 12 year old's world can crash around her. For a parent this emotional warfare and the fall out from it, is probably the most difficult to deal with. Girls can be bullies just like boys, but sometimes the emotional scarring as a result is worse than any that could be inflicted physically. Teaching girls to be kind and appeal to their better natures at this age is difficult. But thankfully by the time they reach high school they are beginning to grasp it.
Girls seem more complex in many ways than boys. Most teen girls worry a lot. They worry about acceptance from their peers, their grades, their social activities, dating, romance, the world around them. Although boys worry about these things most certainly, girls seem to be more vocal about these concerns. But they typically vocalize these concerns to their peers only. Most teens would be loathe to admit that they still need or want to talk to their parents, but they most definitely do. And it is difficult as a parent to wake up one day and have the daughter that formerly adored you treat you with sullen disregard nearly daily. Being the parent of a teen girl (teens in general) means opening your ears now and closing your mouth. They want you to listen but on their terms and in their time.
Although girls are emotional and sensitive as they are navigating their teens, the tumultuous years between girlhood and womanhood are important ones. And rewarding in the long run as well For it is through the crazy, emotional, moody, angst filled moments that a girl learns the kind of woman she will become. She learns to nurture, share, communicate, assert herself. She learns about who she is and how she will define herself. Although I am sure that raising a teen boy has its rewards and certainly its challenges, there is nothing more maddening, frustrating and ultimately awe inspiring and wonderful than being witness to a girl transforming into a woman.