Are Girls More Independent Than Boys?

Family Matters on 06.02.11
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There's a new game happening in our house right now. It's called "don't touch it, I don't need your help, get your hands off my toy, I've got it handled thankyouverymuch." My daughter, just shy of one year old, is showing incredible amounts of independence. She is taking her first steps, saying her first words, and exhibiting a huge sense of curiosity about the world around her. She also doesn't want any help in her exploration.

If we try to show her how a new toy works, she will kindly take our hands and throw it to the side. If we are reading a book and I'm holding it, she will not-so-gently take it out of my hands, hold it herself, and be the one to turn the pages. And if I'm giving too many hugs and kisses, she will oh-so-sweetly shove my face away from hers. Seeing as how one of my first full sentences was "I'll do it myself!" I shouldn't be surprised that she is acting this way. But it did make me think: Do all children exhibit this same level of independence at this age, or is my daughter just on her way to being the ultimate rebel?

According to, boys and girls show several differences in their personalities from very young ages. The report says:

Both girl and boy infants explore new objects, but they tend to use different strategies for doing so. Boys are more likely to handle a new object physically; girls are more likely to use visual exploration, looking carefully at a novel object without actually touching it. Interestingly, male and female infants show different reactions when left alone to explore. Boys are more likely to explore objects and become more independent, while girls show less exploration and greater attempts to establish or maintain contact with their caregiver (e.g., not letting go of their parents, reaching for the door their parent left through, sitting at the door crying).

For my daughter, it depends on the day. If she's feeling brave, she'll leave any room we're in and explore on her own. When she sees we're following her, she'll speed up her crawling, thinking she can actually outrun us. If she's feeling tired or unwell, then she'll sit and play by herself or explore the room we're all in, but she won't try to escape.

What about your kids? Did they show an independent streak? If so, did it continue throughout childhood? Let me know what I'm in for.

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