It's a common stereotype, enforced by anecdotal evidence in classrooms across America: Boys are wild and impulsive, while girls have much more self-control.
But it doesn't have to be that way. In three Asian countries, a new study found, there was no difference in how well little boys and girls regulated their own behavior.
The findings might help boost the performance of boys in American school settings with a focus on on self-regulation, which describes a child's ability to control his or her impulses, follow directions and stay on a task.
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"In our study, self-regulation was good for academic achievement for boys and girls," said lead researcher Shannon Wanless, now at the University of Pittsburgh, in a press release. "That means this skill is important for both genders and we should be supporting self-regulatory development for all children, especially boys. Low self-regulation in preschool has been linked to difficulties in adulthood, so increased focused on supporting young boys' development can have long-term positive benefits."