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Paperback Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences Book

ISBN: 0767916255

ISBN13: 9780767916257

Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences

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Book Overview

Are boys and girls really that different? Twenty years ago, doctors and researchers didn't think so. Back then, most experts believed that differences in how girls and boys behave are mainly due to differences in how they were treated by their parents, teachers, and friends. It's hard to cling to that belief today. An avalanche of research over the past twenty years has shown that sex differences are more significant and profound than anybody guessed...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Not actually scientific

It’s pretty garbage actually. Read Gender and Our Brains or Delusions of Gender, both of which have a much greater scientific background and more establish authors and both say pretty much the exact opposite. This just tries to confirm what you already think so you believe it or comes up with excuses, especially for how boys and men treat women. This book could be harmful in the wrong hands.

Dr. Sax is Right On

Wow. What a page turner. I'm sixty years old now and my only daughter is grown with two of her own children - a boy and a girl. I'm happy to say she turned out great but I still wish I'd had this book when I was raising her. I hope that she will read it and apply its teachings to the raising of her children. It's a more complicated world out there now and parents need all the help they can get. I'm almost in total agreement with Dr. Sax on how things have changed over the last 40 years. I've seen a lot of young men and women fresh out of high school in my 18 years as a community college instructor and even in that time span I've seen many changes. And I'm sorry to say the changes I have seen have been for the worse, probably due to the reasons Dr. Sax explains in this book. Parents, take heed. Read this book and pay attention before it's too late.

Essential Understanding for Parents & Teachers

Neither the Victorians nor the Feminist revisionists had it right when describing gender differences in children, and the resulting effects on raising and teaching them. There aren't vague innate differences, it isn't all hormones, and children aren't all equal but for socialization. There are measurable, structural, genetically-created differences in boy and girl brains, informing how they act, and how they learn. All new research, over the last five to ten years, all documented, leads to some startlingly new conclusions about the sexes. -- Right brain - left brain differences: Yes, but in males. In females, things are distributed completely differently. -- Boys and men can't hear, while the girls always think you're yelling at them? Yes! Girls literally hear better than boys -- about 20 decibels worth. -- Can't get girls to engage with math, or boys to engage with literature? You have to relate it to them differently, because their brains are different from the basic wiring up. -- Boys can't describe their feelings, while girls can't stop? Yes. Girls use the same part of the brain or feelings and for verbal skills. Boys use two different parts, which aren't well connected. Boys still feel strong feelings, but in a part that just isn't connected to the part that talks! -- Girls are two years ahead of boys? No! Girls are *six* years ahead in verbal reasoning, while boys are four years ahead in tracking and spatial reasoning. And a hundred other insights, all documented by research with children, primates, stroke victims, brain anatomy, a bilateral hermaphrodite bird, and so on. (You really have to hear about the bird!) Whether you're raising children or teaching children, this book offers terrific new insights into why they act that way, and how to reach them.

Interesting even for Dads

We have a whole library shelf of parenting books that my wife has bought over the past few years. I've had a hard time getting the enthusiasm to delve into many of these. However, as the father of a 4 year old daughter and now new twin boys, this particular book looked intriguing. Well, I couldn't put it down. Not only is it well written with engaging anecdotes, but it presents the latest scientific findings in gender research (with lots of footnotes so you can read the studies yourself if you are so inclined) and relates it to the job of parenting. It helps that the author is a family doctor who has seen his share of dysfunctional situations that in hindsight might easily have been prevented with a little knowledge. The book is more than just informative about gender differences in children - he relates this information to such parenting topics as disciplining your child, gender specific education strategies, dealing with problem children, kids and drugs (both the legal and non-legal kind), and teenage sex.

Worth Reading

We have a whole library shelf of pregnancy, baby, and now parenting books that my wife has bought over the past few years. I've had a hard time getting the enthusiasm to delve into many of these. However, as the father of a 4 year old daughter and now new twin boys, this particular book looked intriguing. Well, I couldn't put it down. Not only is it well written with engaging anecdotes, but it presents the latest scientific findings in gender research (with lots of footnotes so you can read the studies yourself if you are so inclined) and relates it to the job of parenting. It helps that the author is a family doctor who has seen his share of dysfunctional situations that in hindsight might easily have been prevented with a little knowledge. The book is more than just informative about gender differences in children - he relates this information to such parenting topics as disciplining your child, gender specific education strategies, dealing with problem children, kids and drugs (both the legal and non-legal kind), and teenage sex. Even if you don't agree with everything the author says, I think you'll learn a lot by reading this book.

Outstanding book, required reading for any parent

An outstanding book on the differences in how boys and girls learn and develop, appropriate parenting techniques, and how to help them live up to their potential and become happy/productive adults. I had a few specific disagreements, despite my overall appreciation for this work. First, his overall view of the differences in the sexes. Sax says "Here are some examples of false beliefs about gender differences: * Boys are "naturally" better at math and science than girls are. * Girls are "naturally" more emotional than boys are. * Girls are "naturally" collaborative, while boys are competitive." I don't like this phrasing of gender differences. These statements might in fact be literally false as claimed, but certainly give a misleading impression of the typical differerences between males and females. I like the argument made by Baron-Cohen in his book, The Essential Difference, that on average male brains are optimized for systems, and female brains are optimized for empathy. Baron-Cohen's explanation fits the observed facts and research better than anything else I've seen, and would be a better overview than putting up some straw men to knock down like this, while ignoring the overall reality. With regard to competition, all of the studies I've seen show that competition is a significant incentive for boys but has no effect for girls. Ironically, both of the best-practives examples he cites from master classes for boys involve competition :-) Second, Sax echoes the educationist's mantra that "Almost every child is a gifted child." This seems ludicrous to me. The definition of gifted is top 3-5% on some dimension of human ability. There just aren't enough independent dimensions here for almost everyone to be gifted in some way. I would argue that the main three dimension are athleticism, cognition, and empathy. Most other dimesions have a fair amount of correlation with one or more of these, with musically gifted people typically also cognitively gifted, etc. You might come up with a few more (memory ability doesn't seem to be correlated with cognitive ability, for example), but "almost everyone"? I wouldn't think that more that 20-25% of the population would be gifted regardless of the number of dimensions you chose to measure, and that most of these "gifts" would not be related to academic ability in any way. The harm from this belief that "all children are gifted" comes when you then say that because everyone is gifted, everyone can be treated the same way. To his credit, Sax doesn't draw this conclusion, but is all too common -- my son went to Stuart Hall, one of the schools used by Sax as an example of best-practices teaching for boys, and I heard both of these statements from them (e.g. "everyone is gifted" and "we have the same program for everyone" and "even though your son has an IQ in the top 1% that doesn't mean he is more gifted intellectually than anyone else or could use any special help academically"). Particularly for chil
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