Your Child's Gender Identity

Difference #3: Boys Have Less Fear

Not only are boys more active, but they also seem more willing to take risks, even at a young age. "A girl will see something dangerous, slowly look it over, and sometimes even call attention to it, which may give parents time to intervene," notes Barbara Morrongiello, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario. "Boys are more likely to start touching or interacting with a potentially dangerous subject." There's some evidence that this fearless quality is due to hormonal differences, but as parents we also tend to emphasize those distinguishing traits," Morrongiello says. For example: You might tell your son "Don't touch!" when he sees a sharp knife but give your daughter an explanation, like "It can cut you." "Parents may assume that because a girl is more verbal, she'll understsand more than a boy, but it doesn't work like that," Morrongiello says.

Whether you're raising a girl or a boy, every home should be childproofed, even if you think your child won't be able to get into trouble yet. "The challenge is to anticipate the next motor milestone and be on the lookout for it before it occurs," Morrongiello says.

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