It has been said that parenting is akin to navigating a ship through choppy waters, never knowing what lies beyond the next wave.
Whether you are raising boys or girls, each comes with its own set of challenges.
Christine Marasco, of Marietta, is mom to two of each, ranging in age from 4 months to 8 years.
She admits there has been a clear dinstinction between her two boys and her two girls from the very beginning.
"I've noticed a difference in them from birth," she said.
"The boys are definitely more physical and the girls are more talkative."
- Patrick Ward, Ph.D: www.patrickward.com
- Closing the gender gap: http://www.campbell-kibler.com/Stereo.pdf
- Boys vs. girls: http://www.parenting.com/article/Child/Development/Harder-to-Raise-Boys-or-Girls
- "Why Boys are Different" by Steve Biddulph
- "The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising Boys: A Complete Handbook" by Cheryl L. Erwin
- "Raising Girls: Why Girls are Different - and How to Help Them Grow" by Gisela Preuschoff and Steve Biddulph
- "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Raising Girls" by Gary J. Weisenberger, Kathy Sherwin and Deborah S. Romaine.
- "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Raising Boys" by Laurie A. Helgoe and Barron M. Helgoe
Does this mean that her sons and daughters are raised or disciplined differently?
"No, not really," Marasco said, adding that she and her husband are jointly responsible for doling out discipline and each is supportive of the other's decisions.
"That's one of the reasons I married him, because we had similar upbringings and similar beliefs," she said.
As far as Marasco - who has not yet had to face the fearsome teen years - can tell, the old adage "boys are walkers, girls are talkers," holds true.
"My baby girls would sit and play with toys but my boys were much more active," she said.
Jon Grimm, a Marietta councilman and single dad of two girls says he wouldn't trade his experiences with his daughters for the world.
"I don't look back on things and think 'I wish I had a boy,'" he said.
"But I do wish there had been a little bit more of a female influence."
Grimm admits that there were awkward moments when his daughters, now college students, were teenagers and he didn't quite know what to do.
"But my mother was very involved and able to answer those questions," he said.
"Other than that, we didn't really know any different. We were very close," he said.
Having someone of the same sex to relate to is crucial for development, according to Dr. Patrick Ward, a marriage and family therapist practicing in Parkersburg.
"I think boys especially need to have a male role model and I stress that a lot," he said.
Families often seek Ward's counsel in matters of dealing with their teenagers and he sees clients mostly ranging in age from 10 to 15.
"Both (boys and girls) pose their own unique set of challenges," he said.
For instance, boys who, by nature, need to move around, might have a hard time with "timeout" as punishment.
Girls tend to take things more personally, especially around age 12, when peers are a big influence.
"Girls tend to be more emotional, and boys tend to internalize their emotions" causing them to act out more aggressively, Ward said.
The challenge parents face, according to Ward, is helping girls to be a little less emotional and helping boys be more in touch with, and express, their emotions in a healthy way.
It is also crucial to understand that, yes, boys will be boys and girls will be girls but to play into rigid stereotypes - such as boys shouldn't cry and girls can't play sports - is harmful.
"Our society reinforces stereotypes but to hold a person to these expectations is harmful to their development," Ward said.