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(Press Release) Building language skills more critical for boys than girls, study finds
Michigan State University: Boys who develop language skills to express themselves are better able to control their emotions and behavior and resist "acting out," according to a new study that will appear in the journal of Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Researchers learned that language skills impact boys self-regulation more strongly than girls.
"Developing language skills appears to be more important for boys than girls in helping them to develop self-control and, ultimately, succeed in school, according to a study led by a Michigan State University researcher.
Thus, more emphasis should be placed on encouraging boy toddlers to 'use their words' – instead of unruly behavior – to solve problems, said Claire Vallotton, MSU assistant professor of child development.
'It shouldn’t be chalked off as boys being boys,' Vallotton said. “They need extra attention from child-care providers and teachers to help them build language skills and to use those skills to regulate their emotions and behavior.”
The study, co-authored by Catherine Ayoub from Harvard Medical School, is the first to suggest language skills have a bigger impact on boys’ self-regulation than on girls’. The findings will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
The researchers examined data on children as they aged from 1 to 3 and their mothers who participated in the National Early Head Start Research and Evaluation study. As with previous research, Vallotton and Ayoub found that language skills – specifically the building of vocabulary – help children regulate their emotions and behavior and that boys lag behind girls in both language skills and self-regulation."