I have four beautiful children, two boys and two girls.
My oldest graduated from high school last week and she is now off to university.
My youngest is still in diapers. I have the best of both worlds—hormonal teenagers and poopy diapers.
As anybody with children can attest, no two children are alike. And just when you have one figured out, you realize you were wrong.
My boys are very different than my girls as what is important to one gender is often not to the other.
I think this is a good generalization for all the boys and girls that we are currently raising.
There is a very good scientific explanation as to why boys and girls are so different.
Among other things, their brains are simply wired differently.
On the one hand, girls are very complex. I do not even pretend to understand them. Never could, never will. Probably because I am a guy.
So, let’s move on to the boys.
Boys are busy. They never sit, rarely rest, always have to be moving, fidgeting or having some imaginary martial arts fight with someone you can’t see.
They are always active and there’s a good reason for it.
When one studies the psychology of learning with emphasis on boys, it is important to note that the cerebellum, the motor or movement part of the brain, has an awful lot to do with boys being able to take in information and learn it.
This is simply how they learn. Many studies have demonstrated that when you make a boy sit still, not move or fiddle about, their capacity for learning is greatly reduced.
They simply need to move in order to learn. In fact, many studies have demonstrated that boys that are involved in athletics often do better in school than those who are sedentary.
This is why one should never say: “Sit still and listen to me.” It basically shuts them down.
For boys, the wiring of the brain involves input passing through the cerebellum before going to the cortex or the learning centres of the brain.
This is not so in females. Adolescent girls are able to take in information without the need of movement.
The boys’ cerebellar dominance in learning begins in their toddler years and continues through to late adolescence.
When I am wanting to ‘connect’ with my son and relay information to him that I want him to understand, I do so while we are active in some way.
Anyone who has a teenage son would attest to the fact that to sit still and talk with your teenage son is about as painful as passing a stone.
It simply is not as effective as walking or playing catch or anything of the like while talking with them.
Whether one has a need to move or not, to facilitate learning does not mean that they are more advanced. It is just a different style.
It is one that needs to be recognized in order to be effective.
Movement in young males integrates more of their brain and potentiates the learning experience.
As for girls, I just yield to the fact that they are way smarter than us guys. It’s just easier that way.
Markus Thiel is a chiropractor practicing in Kelowna. Questions or comments may be sent to email@example.com.