At a young age, children often believe that boys are academically inferior to girls, thinking that adults have the same mindset as well. This perspective, published in the journal Child Development and featured on, showed that this behavior might be a factor as to why boys are performing poorly in school.

The study was broken into three parts, where researchers from the University of Kent in Britain sought to find out why boys’ grades were lackluster compared to their female schoolmates.

In the first study, children aged four to 10 were given positive and negative statements. After each statement, the children were told to indicate whom the statements referred to by pointing at either a boy’s silhouette or a girl’s. The children correlated the positive statements to the girl’s silhouette and the negative statements to the boy’s silhouette. This showed that children think girls behaved and performed better.

The next two trials involved 162 children between ages seven and eight being told that boys did worse than girls academically, while 184 children between ages six to nine were told that boys and girls were both expected to do well in school. Both groups were then given several tests on reading, writing, and math.

The results showed that the boys in the first group did not do well as the girls, while the boys in the second group had performed better and were on equal footing with the girls. Interestingly, the performances of the girls from both groups were not affected by the trial statements.

Show your support to your child by regularly giving positive feedback and by always ensuring him that you have his back. Proper words can help your child grow up to be confident in himself and in his abilities.

(Photo by momo via Flickr Creative Commons)

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