Mila Kunis says this is the difference between raising a son and a daughter

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Kayleigh Dray
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Mila Kunis has nailed the big difference between raising a son and a daughter – and we’re sure women everywhere will relate.

Mila Kunis often forgoes the celebrity party line in favour of the unvarnished truth – and one thing she isn’t afraid to speak openly about is motherhood.

The actress has two young children (daughter Wyatt and son Dmitri) with partner and former That 70s Show co-star Ashton Kutcher, and has previously said that “children are f***ing crazy”.

She has also defended her right to breastfeed in public, and observed that it’s in both her and her kids’ interests for her to be a “happy, fulfilled woman” with a successful career (here, here).

And now, in a new interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Kunis has opened up about the realities of parenting a boy and a girl – hilariously nailing the big difference between the genders in the process.

“My boy’s like a sloth,” she explained bluntly during her appearance on The Ellen Show. “He’s wonderful, and I love him – ’cause one day he’ll probably watch this and be like, ‘Why did you say that?’ – but the truth is, women are smarter than men. And I have this evidence from my two different humans that I created.”

Kunis continued: “Girls are just on it and boys are like, ‘Dum da-dum da-dum da-dum,’ they’re more like little linebackers going through life, and like … Neanderthal-ish. Wyatt will be like ‘Pass the cup, please,’ and my boy’s like ‘ungh, ungh.’

“That’s it! That’s all you get and you’re like, ‘Ungh? What could ungh be?’ You look around, you’re like, ‘Ah, ball!’ There’s just a huge difference.”

Kunis might have been joking but she isn’t wrong. In fact, Professor David Walsh has published an entire paper on the subject, explaining that girls do tend to be more socially intelligent than boys – and often demonstrate a clearer grasp of language skills, too.

“Girls talk earlier than boys, have larger pre-school vocabularies, and use more complex sentence structures,” he wrote in his report for PBS.

“Once in school, girls are one to one-and-a-half years ahead of boys in reading and writing. Boys are twice as likely to have a language or reading problem and three to four times more likely to stutter.

“Girls do better on tests of verbal memory, spelling and verbal fluency. On average, girls utter two to three times more words per day than boys and even speak faster – twice as many words per minute.”

Walsh added: “The list goes on and on with the differences persisting throughout life. Among elderly stroke victims, for example, women recover their speech much more quickly than men.”

So why is this?

Well, researchers have discovered that, during infancy, the left hemisphere (the brain’s language centre for most people) develops before the right for little girls whereas the order is reversed for boys. Similarly, women and girls tend to have at least 20% more neurons than males in the brain’s Broca area (where we produce language), and they have as much as 18% more volume in the Wernicke’s area (where we interpret language). 

Which might go some way towards explaining why women tend to make better leaders and CEOs than men.

During her interview with Kunis, Degeneres joked that she had actually never seen Dimitri walking, always sitting in a ‘contraption’ on Ashton’s back.

“He doesn’t walk – he just runs,” explained Kunis.

“He’s in the hiker backpack a lot when we hike, but that’s ’cause we’re hiking and he’s a year old, guys!”

Again, Kunis’ words are bolstered by scientific research: while boys may not be early talkers, they are usually more physically active than females – and the difference is thought to begin in the womb.

After reviewing 46 previous studies, Canadian researchers have concluded that baby boys tend to move about more than baby girls: they squirm more on the changing table, get restless in the pushchair, and crawl over longer distances, for example.

Hmm. We guess there might be something in that “women are from Venus” theory, after all…

Image: Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.