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secret life of five year olds?

(12 Posts)
museumum Mon 06-Feb-17 12:08:43

anybody watch this?
the episode i saw was with the children split into boys and girls and seemed to really emphasise the differences between the genders.
they did often say 'whether by nature or by nurture, girls x y z...' or similar but then they also talked about the 'female brain' and 'male brain' and about hormone surges that happen in the first weeks of life - in relation to being attracted to different toys, in specific to a girl who preferred dinosaurs to dolls.

I'm not sure what to think.... i'm pretty much on the 'it's all nurture/socialisation' side but i don't doubt that hormones do affect the brain and that the sexes have different hormonal balances.

Jmslvlc990 Mon 06-Feb-17 16:30:59

For the first few months of life a baby boys brain is bathed in 4-5 times the level of testosterone as a girls. Too much fetal and early life testosterone has been linked with autism. Ie. Introspection, lack of empathy, pre-delection for logical, mechanical toys rather than human interaction, relationship building etc...
Is it any wonder boys and girls generally behave differently!
To say it's all nurture rather than nature seems to be wilfully flying in the face of common sense.

Jmslvlc990 Mon 06-Feb-17 16:43:06

Obviously meant phoetal

cadnowyllt Mon 06-Feb-17 17:08:40

or 'foetal' maybe ? by some accounts young male animals act differently to young female animals. T'other day, a sheep farmer was telling me that when he needs to rescue a lamb which has strayed too far from its mother, or getting its head caught up in wire fencing, its invariably a male. A curse on your anecdotes, I replied - obvs.

museumum Mon 06-Feb-17 17:12:52

Have you a good source of info on the whole 'bathed in testosterone' thing? I am interested to know how that works.

However, I don't think it is "common sense" that baby boys and baby girls are different - they seem exactly the same to me! I'm no expert but i do have plenty 'common sense'.

And once they are five they've clearly been subject to a huge amount of socialisation so that can't be discounted.

Xenophile Mon 06-Feb-17 17:28:52

I'd be interested to see that too Museumum, mostly because it's generally regarded as complete lamb anecdote.

cadnowyllt Mon 06-Feb-17 17:54:22

Mmm lamb anecdote, a Berber delicacy.

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 06-Feb-17 20:15:08

museumum I think that there are going to be small differences between girls and boys (on average) that are amplified by socialisation, to greater or lesser degree depending on the types of socialisation children are exposed to, and their own unique personalities. These differences are then used as excuses for discriminating against women, when in fact this is totally unreasonable behaviour. It's also used as an excuse for male violence, again unreasonably.

There's a description of typical testosterone levels in baby boys in this article ( which has references as to where the data is from.

Jmslvlc990 Mon 06-Feb-17 20:46:28

For those that requested this is a breakdown of testosterone levels by age;
My original source was during a course I attended on klinefelters syndrome given by a paediatrician from GOSH but this broadly agrees

Jmslvlc990 Mon 06-Feb-17 20:54:02

Looking at the Sarah Ockwell Smith stuff she and the other references largely ignore the foetal and pre- toddler testosterone levels.

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 06-Feb-17 21:54:47

The Sarah Ockwell Smith article is not about foetal or baby testosterone levels. It's specifically about the alleged spike in testosterone in young boys that Steve Biddulph postulated. So it's not surprising she doesn't focus on the foetal/baby levels of testosterone. I linked it because it does, in passing, talk about the levels of testosterone in babies in the first few months, with a reference to a source.

The small differences, on average, between boys and girls are no reason to discriminate against girls and women. It's also no reason to assume that boys and girls need radically different teaching methods or should have different expectations of behaviour, just because of their sex.

brasty Tue 07-Feb-17 14:20:29

My family are sheep farmers. The lambs that get into the most bother, are often those fed by bottles by humans. They seem to forget they are lambs.

The interesting thing is that you can see how good mothering is passed down to the lambs they have. Those who have had good mothering, tend to be good mothers themselves. And vice versa.

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