Studies find dads are far more attentive to baby girls – and there is a reason for it
When looking at your own parenting, do you think you parent boys any different to girls?
Really think about it.
Because according to science, the gender of our children affects how we talk to, play with and even spend money on them.
In 2014, Ohio State University shared their findings with Science Daily. Researchers discovered that women who waited to find out the baby's sex until the birth had more egalitarian views of gender roles; they tended to believe that women and men should care for their children equally and in the same ways. These women were also more conscientious and open to new experiences than their counterparts.
This matter because according to another study, mothers transfer their sexist attitudes to their children more strongly than fathers. Researchers interviewed mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters about their views on gender roles. What they found? Sons and daughters were more likely to display sexist, discriminatory behaviour when their mothers had more sexist attitudes.
When it comes to how our life changes once we become parents, science says people start being more careful and taking fewer risks once baby arrives. However, how much more careful they become depends on the sex of their baby apparently.
The Society for Risk Analysis published the results of research on the topic, and found that parents of boys are about twice as likely to take a risk as parents of girls. That's significant.
Dads are most attentive with daughters
More studies found that how dads interact with their children also depend on the gender of the child.
Research by Emory University looked at how fathers interact with their children, and found that fathers were more attentive to their daughters than to their sons.
The researchers discovered that fathers sang more to their daughters and used more emotive and feeling words with them, while with their sons, they opted for more achievement-related language like 'win' and 'proud.'
Even more significant, when the toddlers cried or asked for daddy, fathers were more likely to respond to daughters than sons.
Mothers also parent boys and girls differently, and a study by the University of Surry found that mums talk more about feelings with their daughters, and less with their sons.
A common denominator researchers found between the many studies was that boys are often overlooked when it comes to talking about feelings. And this has huge consequences. In fact, some scientists even claimed this can lead to depression in adult men.
We spend money differently on boys and girls
Apparently, we spend money differently on boys and girls too. According to the Society for Consumer Psychology, mothers are more likely to spend on daughters and fathers are more likely to spend on sons. However, the researchers point out that this has little to do with favouritism, but rather with empathy. Mothers seem to understand more about what their female children want and need. Fathers do the same for male children.
Another study from Temple University showed that our children also have an effect on how we shop for ourselves. In fact, mothers of teen girls frequently bought the same beauty products and clothes as their daughters.