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My 2 year-old is a little like Jekyll and Hyde. One moment he’s a really nice guy to have around. He’s funny and has wonderful manners…(says “please”, “thank you”, “your welcome” and a proper “yes” (not yep) without me having to ask him to). Then in a flash, his personality can just change…into a whiny little terror. He screams at decibels higher than I ever thought the human voice could reach. We all cringe. Our moods change. Before you know it, one child is rolling his eyes in annoyance with the situation while the other is crying from the trail of destruction that the 2 year-old left behind. Generally, both parents are frustrated at this point and we want to go somewhere and hide where the screaming troll can’t find us. But instead, as we are slowly beaten down, we attempt to push on…

Sound familiar in your house? Rest assured. You are not alone. Whether you’re toddler is a boy or a girl, everyone who has a 2 year-old probably deals with some variation of the scenario above. The question is, do boy toddlers behave differently than girls? And, what is the best approach for parenting a boy toddler?

At http://www.brainy-child.com/article/boys-behavior.shtml I found that research has found the following differences: boy’s have a shorter attention than girls, spatial learning is easier for boys to learn than girls, boys need more physical movement to learn than girls do, and boys brains need more rest than girls.

In the article, they found research that supported that toddler boys respond to a problem different than toddler girls. The bottom line is girls have a tendency “to use interaction as a way of solving the problem while boys wanted to do use some form of action to solve the problem.”

The following except is from an article I found at CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/family/08/20/parenting.gender/index.html) titled Boys will be boys, girls will be girls from birth By Anita Sethi.

It’s a Boy!

If you’ve got a James or Brian at home, you’ve probably already learned that boys love action — watching it and being a part of it (hint: stock up on Band-Aids!). But they’re also more emotional than the stereotypes give them credit for. Here, some of the milestones and traits you can look forward to as your little man grows:

• They like motion. According to psychologists at the University of Cambridge in England, boys prefer to watch mechanical motion over human motion. When they gave 12-month-old boys the choice of looking at people talking or windshield wipers moving, you can guess which the tots picked. And it turns out that baby boys are more adept at keeping track of moving objects. Recent research shows that boys are about two months ahead of girls when it comes to figuring out the laws of motion (that if you roll a ball under a couch, say, it will take a few seconds to pop out on the other side).

• They’ve got the moves. You know that old saying, “Girls are talkers, boys are walkers”? Well, it’s only half true. Girls do talk first, but boys are likely to start walking — and hit all the major motor milestones — around the same time as girls. It’s easy to see how this misconception arose: Boys squirm, kick, and wiggle more than their female counterparts. To wit, according to new research, infant boys are more likely to end up in the ER for injuries. But all that activity does not pay off in meeting early childhood milestones any sooner. (Boys’ gross motor skills do take off, however, during the preschool years, at which point they outpace their female peers in most measures of physical ability.) Parenting.com: Myths about learning to walk

• They’re more emotional than you think. There is some evidence that boys tend to be more easily agitated than girls and have a harder time self-soothing. According to one study, even when 6-month-old boys appeared as calm as the girls in the face of frustration, measures of heart rate and breathing suggested that they were actually experiencing greater distress.

• They love a crowd. Boys prefer looking at groups of faces (future teammates, perhaps?) rather than individual ones. In fact, given the choice, newborn boys would rather look at a mobile than a single face.

• They’re (comparatively) fearless. Boys express fear later than girls, and less often. According to a recent survey, the parents of boys ages 3 to 12 months were much less likely than the parents of girls the same age to report that their child startles in response to loud noises or stimuli. Another study revealed that when moms made a fearful face as their 12-month-olds approached a toy, the boys disregarded the mom and went for the plaything anyway. Girls slowed their approach.

In the end, it’s important to be patient because they grow up fast. The little craziness isn’t a permanent thing…

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