Why little girls hug dolls and boys rip their heads off

Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC Family Counselor, explains the science behind why young boys, around the age of three, like to rip the heads off dolls while girls hug their dolls
Why Young Boys Rip The Heads Off Of Dolls
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Why little girls hug dolls and boys rip their heads off

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It can often happen, it won't happen with every three year old, but some three year old boys will get very interested in body parts, their sexual organs and other people's sexual organs. We will think he's sexually obsessed or it has something to do with sex. Actually, at three, unless he's been sexually abused which we will assume has not happened, it's not about sex. It's more about the mechanics. There's a very interesting thing about the male brain. The right side of the brain doesn't do any words, whereas, the right side of the female brain does do words. Not males, males on the right side or what we call spacial mechanical. So if you gave your little baby a doll, the girls might have held the doll, talked to the dolls, but the boys may have ripped the head off the doll and looked inside and turned it upside down to look at it. They are apprehending the doll, seeing the doll as spacial mechanical. It's an object moving around in this small space. They don't project empathy on it because it's plastic and they want to know the mechanics of it and how it works. Girls are hitting it with all sorts of emotions. Girls have this thing called oxytocin -- males have it too, but females have more. We often will see that boys will be more mechanical about things and take them apart. If your three year old seems obsessed with all these parts, it's probably not about sexuality. He's probably just trying to figure out how it all works.

Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC Family Counselor, explains the science behind why young boys, around the age of three, like to rip the heads off dolls while girls hug their dolls

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Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC

Family Counselor & Author

Michael Gurian is the New York Times bestselling author of 25 books published in 21 languages. He provides counseling services at the Marycliff Center, in Spokane, Washington. The Gurian Institute, which he co-founded, conducts research internationally, launches pilot programs and trains professionals. Michael has been called "the people's philosopher" for his ability to bring together people's ordinary lives and scientific ideas.

 He has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy. A number of his books have sparked national debate, including The Wonder of Girls, The Wonder of Boys, and Boys and Girls Learn Differently!, and The Minds of Boys.



Michael has served as a consultant to families, corporations, therapists, physicians, school districts, community agencies, churches, criminal justice personnel and other professionals, traveling to approximately 20 cities per year to keynote at conferences. His training videos (also available as DVDs) for parents and volunteers are used by Big Brother and Big Sister agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

 As an educator, Michael previously taught at Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and Ankara University.  His speaking engagements include Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Macalester College, University of Colorado, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and UCLA. His philosophy reflects the diverse cultures (European, Asian, Middle Eastern and American) in which he has lived, worked and studied.

Michael's work has been featured in various media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, People Magazine, Reader's Digest, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS and National Public Radio.

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