Although everyone is unique, there are traits shared among groups of us. Heck, that’s how we get to groups in the first place. I covered traits I have seen in all boys last time and now it is time for the ladies. Just as when we looked at the traits shared by boys, these are traits that may be more or less apparent in any one girl. I have just found these to always exist, and it you look, you will too.
A Desire to Care For Others
This is not called the maternal instinct without reason. Although modern Western society seems determined to make men and women the same, nature can not be thwarted. Just as boys turn anything into a gun or car at an early age, girls turn anything into something that needs care. This often is a baby, but might also be an animal. Thus, we have girls fascinated with kittens, puppies, and baby dolls.
A memorable example of this for me is my daughter and Lego bricks. A lego is a block and not indicative of anything other than what the holder wants to build. My boys always turned Legos into cars and guns, however, my daughter took a different route. She turned the bricks into a family with a mommy, a daddy, and a few kids. It, of course, was a family she could take care of.
Looking for Love
We noted that boys want respect. Girls want to feel loved. In simplest terms, boys want you to like them for a reason. However, girls want you to like them no matter what. I think this is strongly tied to another trait, a desire for security, that we will look at later. The love girls desire is not just companionship, they want children that love them, relatives that love them, and even co-workers that love them. This may sound like some sort of needy behavior, but it is not that. Women can succeed without being loved, they just prefer not to.
This need is often met from birth in the Daddy-daughter relationship. Little girls find unconditional love from their fathers and that can form an anchor for them throughout life. The girls and women I have met that struggle most in life almost always started out with a Dad that was not available to them. Not to put too much pressure on Dads, but you can easily build up your daughter by being there for her. Unfortunately, you can also cripple them with a harsh word. Love your little girls so they grow up to be lovable women.
I don’t want to burst bubbles, but life happens. Security is a mirage in almost every life and every situation. However, this does not stop even the most grounded in reality girl to want to feel secure. This is a benefit of their relationship with their father and translates to a spouse in many cases as they get older. There is a trend towards metrosexual men being called attractive, but it is impossible to find a girl that doesn’t like a guy with muscles. Even the trend towards smarter over stronger men is rooted in feeling secure. A smart guy can provide great economic security in the modern world. Hunting and gathering do not have the physical requirements they did in the past. If you have any doubts, take a look at Bill Gates.
Women remember things for a long time, maybe forever. This often is portrayed as women being spiteful and vindictive, but I chose another explanation. Women tie events to emotions and feelings more than men do. This creates a deeper impression on a girl than it does a boy. Where boys can be beaten to the point of broken bones and forgive days later, girls are simply deeper and will feel the sting of a sharp word for months or years.
This capacity for memory goes beyond hurts and extends to every event that invokes emotion. A girl will remember the outfit she wore to a baseball game she didn’t care about last year while a boy may struggle to remember who won. I think there are strengths in both approaches to life, but it is hard not to think of boys as the dog in the movie Up when it comes to remembering the non-momentous events of life.
A Desire To Compete
Girls often are reluctant to admit to their competitive side, but do not let that fool you. Girls like to compete as much as boys do, they just don’t like you to know they are competing. If Boys are the ones to fight a war by lining up across a field and trading shots, girls are guerilla fighters in the jungle.
Take a look in any shopping aisle to see magazines that feed the competitive spirit of girls. They want to look better, live healthier, cook better meals, and generally crush everyone else with their success as a human being. I think girls need to be given the freedom to choose their path more than boys because of this spirit. Girls do not have the competitive role models boys do, so they need a little more help in trying out a wide range of pursuits. Once a girl finds her calling, watch out, she will pursue it far more aggressively than any boy. Oprah did not just wake up one morning and rule the world. I am sure she scratched and clawed her way to world domination.
One of the best pairings of books I have come across that provide child-rearing advice is the Bringing up boys and girls books. These provide a ton of insight into boys and girls that fell right in line with what I experienced, but they also provide a wealth of ideas in how to address boy and girl specific issues. Every parent has seen the “What to do when you’re expecting” books and I think these should be the next books you read after the “What to expect…” series.