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Why Are Girls So Different From Boys?

I'd like to understand more about my 11-year-old daughter's behavior. She's my youngest child; I've already raised three boys. Why are girls so different from boys?
Judith

You're not the first parent to notice that difference! At one point, it was generally believed that differences in male and female behavior were completely a function of upbringing. But research — and the experience of many parents — suggests that much of human behavior is the result of both environmental and biological factors.

Your daughter is probably beginning puberty and, as with many girls her age, likely has lots of different concerns — about her development, about friendships, and about her feelings. There's quite a lot that parents need to talk about with their adolescent girls.

Keep the lines of communication open, be consistent, be patient, and keep your sense of humor.

For more information, check out these articles:
A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Years
Understanding Puberty
Talking to Your Child About Puberty

Have a question? Email us.

We regret that we can't reply to any email inquiry. Although we can't reply personally, you may see your question posted to this page in the future. If you're looking for medical advice, a diagnosis, or treatment, consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional. If this is an emergency, contact emergency services in your area.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: October 2006