Lifestyle Psychology

On the physical and mental levels, why do girls mature earlier than boys?

Written by Dana Peterson

The female generally tends to develop early, and pubertal changes begin to appear between the ages of 10 and 12 years in a girl, while the symptoms of puberty in males generally appear between the ages of 12 and 15 years.

In a report published in the Spanish magazine Psicologiaymente, writer Oscar Castillero said that people are always accustomed to hearing the phrase, “A woman matures before a man.”

The speed of maturity of women in comparison with men is not only visible on the physical level, but also on the level of mental maturity.

So why do girls mature earlier than boys?

What is the meaning of maturity?
To understand the reasons why a woman matures before a man, it is necessary to shed light on the concept of maturity itself, and the term maturity refers to the stage at which a person reaches the maximum level of development.

Maturity is generally related to time and age. For example, when most people say that one person is more or less mature than others, they are referring to his behavior, manner of behavior, or reaction to certain situations.

A mature person is characterized by being able to self-manage and take responsibility for his actions and adopt different viewpoints, and he is usually decisive with others and with himself, and is able to adapt to situations and respond to the requirements of reality.

A person reaches maturity to a large extent thanks to the experiences he possesses during his periods of development, and this development depends mainly on the biological aspects that allow this; That is why maturity is related to the extent of a person’s mental development.

From the moment of birth and throughout childhood, boys and girls show a similar development in terms of maturity level (pixels)
Are neurons equal in sexes?
The human nervous system is represented in a group of elements of great importance for our survival from the moment we are born, and this system is not stable, but rather evolves, and these changes appear in all stages of our development.

A person has a large number of neurons at birth, which are usually weakly linked together with relatively few synapses. From the moment of birth and throughout our childhood, our brain is involved in a continuous neurogenesis process. This doubles the number of neurons and creates connections between them.

This allows us to have much greater learning potential and brain flexibility than in other periods of our lives, and in this period of development, both men and women have an equal number of neurons, and they show a similar development in terms of their level of maturity.

The human body works to strengthen the most used synapses, and to strengthen the connection between groups and nerve fibers according to the way a person lives, experiences he has and what he thinks and does.

Moreover, different areas – such as the frontal lobe – mature and develop more and more, but during the development phase there comes a time when neurogenesis stops, and large numbers of these cells die.

Neural pruning has shown the main reason women usually show early maturity compared to men (Pixabay)
Nervous pruning
The writer has shown that the so-called neural pruning, or synaptic pruning, is a biological process that occurs mainly during adolescence, when a large proportion of the neurons in our nervous system degenerate and die.

Although the fact that a large number of nerve cells degenerate or die may seem negative, in reality it performs a function of great importance. Specifically, these neurons fulfill the function of improving the performance of our brain by eliminating those connections that we do not use in practice, thus allowing more efficiency for various mental processes.

In this way, our brain gets rid of those neural connections that we do not use, or that provide redundant information, in addition to that the brain is reorganized, where the most used connections survive until the information processing and integration becomes more effective, which leads to the expenditure of mental resources. Less, and thus the ability to better invest what we have.

In this nervous pruning, the main reason why women usually show early maturity compared to men is found.

Various research shows that the process of neural pruning begins early in women, which allows them to improve their neural networks and in many cases reach the stage of mental maturity.

Hormonal aspects
Hormones also have a large role in this process, but we – on the other hand – notice the presence of male sex hormones during the early stages of development, except that they enter a stagnant phase later until the age of puberty.

In addition, the female hormonal cycle – in addition to the secretion of estrogen – is stable and continuous throughout the growth period.

Social expectations and the roles played by both genders have a strong influence on how we act (Getty Images)
The influence of the environment
Various research indicates that women mature before men; So the female develops some cognitive and emotional abilities early, especially during adolescence. It should be noted that the social expectations and roles played by both genders have a strong influence on how we act.

Traditionally, gender roles have taught men in a way that tends to enhance competitiveness and individuality, while women have received an education focused on caring for others, self-management and self-preservation.

This does not necessarily mean greater maturity on the part of the female sex, but it does mean that despite this trend it is necessary to take into account that the level of maturity depends to a large extent on the circumstances in which we grow up, the external stimulation and the experiences that we have throughout our life.

It can be said that an environment that stimulates maturity or one that does the opposite can enable both men and women to deal more or less effectively with situations and to reach different degrees of maturity at the same age.

About the author

Dana Peterson

I'm Dana Peterson, a freelance writer, serial blogger, self-published author of 7 books, and speaker who enjoys enlightening others about unknown and little-known facts.

I'm a mother of two kids, but I've also been a typographer, a film composer, a piano player, a singer in an all-girl rock band. I love writing on cruise ships, or late nights, but also at home in my sunny southern California garden.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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