Boys are less mature than girls.
Studies have revealed intriguing differences between girls' brains and boys' brains at age 4. In general, a girl's frontal lobe, the area that monitors impulses, is more active than a boy's and matures at an earlier age. Female brains are also coded to secrete higher amounts of serotonin, a brain chemical that fosters self-control. "Generally speaking, girls begin school with a greater ability to maintain focus for extended periods of time and to follow multistep directions," says David Thomas, the director of counseling for men and boys at Daystar Counseling Ministries Inc., in Nashville, Tennessee, and coauthor of Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. "Boys are more likely to drift off in thought or become restless." While boys' ability to concentrate improves by age 8, their sustained focus typically lags behind that of girls until adulthood.