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Time to dump male stereotypes

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One in five grade three boys in Australia have common emotional and behavioural problems

One in five grade three boys in Australia have common emotional and behavioural problems

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Pixabay

One in five grade three boys in Australia have common emotional and behavioural problems

Vesh Arumugam, Reporter

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A study by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute shows that one in five grade three boys in Australia have common emotional and behavioural problems and lag one year behind their female classmates.

The study examined the behaviour and emotional status of about 1200 children in schools across Melbourne. Eight to nine-year-olds from different types of schools such as Catholic, government and independent from metropolitan Melbourne were the focus of the study.

Lead author Dr Lisa Mundy from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute said that on average males were 12 months behind their peers after only three full years of formal schooling.

“Children with emotional and behavioural problems are at high risk of academic failure. This risk is evident in mid-primary school,” said Dr Mundy.

The study showed that one in seven girls have emotional and behavioural problems too.

The study observed that out of 240 children with common emotional and behavioural problems most were male.

It doesn’t stop there. The study also showed that boys are more likely to have peer problems, as well as lagging in numeracy and maths skills, and that in grade three boys have more mental health issues compared to girls.

“Boys don’t cry” is a saying most of us are aware of. However, Dr Eyal Gringart, senior lecturer at ECU’s School of Psychology and Social Science, said: “They are all just stereotypes and we have to start breaking them.”

Senior author Professor George Patton said the mid-primary schools years were a time when emotional and behavioural problems commonly emerged and these were often the precursor to health problems continuing in adolescence and adulthood.

However, this is not the first study about gender differentiation. An international study of gender equality in schools by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2015, found that girls “lack self-confidence” in their ability to solve mathematics and science problems and achieved worse results than boy.

Dr Gringart said: “This is an unending issue” and he advises parents to do what they can to support and motivate their children, spending some quality time to understand what they did at school and appreciate their efforts.

He warned that parents should make an effort to understand the learning processes and methods used at their child’s school because “once a teacher forms a negative idea of a child’s academic status, he/she is more likely to invest less time in that student.”

He urges parents and teachers to make students feel empowered, safe and secure.

 

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Quality journalism by ECU students
Time to dump male stereotypes