“Girls Grow Up Faster than Boys Do”. So asserted the Brooklyn-based R&B group The Cookies in 1962. And it looks like they were right.
A new survey purports to show that men mature substantially later than women. “Men finally grow up at the age of 43 – a full 11 years after women ‘mature’,” according to the study. “But the average age at which women mature emerged as 32.”
Why? Part of the reason is neurological: the brains of boys and girls develop differently. As explained by Dr. Leonard Sax, “The most profound difference between girls and boys is not in any brain structure per se, but rather in the sequence of development of the various brain regions. The different regions of the brain develop in a different sequence, and different tempo, in girls compared with boys — this is the key insight from the past five years of neuroscience research in brain development. The world’s largest study of brain development in children, conducted primarily by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has demonstrated dramatic differences in the trajectories of brain development in girls compared with boys.”
Yet how much of persistent male puerility is grounded in something wholly environmental: fathers, or the lack thereof. According to Dr. James Henderson, “Recognition of the importance of fathers to children’s development is increasing. Fathers play many roles: supporting the mother-infant relationship, nurturing, acting as mother surrogate, encouraging separation and individuation, setting up core sexual identify and developing sex role, and encouraging the development of conscience.”
More recently, the office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has argued, “Involved fathers provide practical support in raising children and serve as models for their development. Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior compared to children who have uninvolved fathers. Committed and responsible fathering during infancy and early childhood contributes emotional security, curiosity, and math and verbal skills.”
Boys raised by men who are committed and faithful to their wives and show them consistent affection and respect; who demonstrate love for and interest in their sons; who discipline those sons wisely; and who simply spend ample time, the greatest of all gifts, with their boys, produce sons whose confidence, self-restraint, curiosity, kindness, and sense of responsibility prepare them well not only for life generally but marriage specifically.
Yet this preparation is sadly lacking in millions of American homes. According to FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute, “Only 46 percent of American 15- to 17-year-olds were raised with both their biological parents married to one another since before or around the time of their birth.” A culture in which divorce, infidelity, promiscuity, and cohabitation are prevalent invariably affects the way men relate to women.
Put simply, boys without dads have a tougher time learning to be and act like men. They are less well-equipped to be husbands and fathers.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Rob Schwarzwalder, senior vice president of the Family Research Council, has two sons currently in Boy Scouts, and one is a member of the BSA honor society Order of the Arrow. Prior to serving at FRC, Rob was a chief of staff for two Members of Congress.