Moms Tougher on Daughters Than Sons

moms favor sons over daughters

Are you tougher on your daughter than your son?

Are you quicker to correct and criticize your daughter while you are more accepting of your son’s mistakes and flaws?  If so, join the crowd.

According to a new survey, a whopping 88% of mothers admit that although they know it’s wrong, they are tougher on their daughters than their sons.

As part of a gender survey, online parenting community Netmums polled more than 2,5000 mothers about the way they parent their sons versus their daughters.

The results show that for many of us, there is a marked difference in the way we view and interact with our children based solely upon their sex.

  • More than half of the moms said they felt a closer bond with their sons than with their daughters.
  • One in five admitted that their boys get away with more than their girls.
  • The moms surveyed said they are twice as likely to be critical of their daughters.

In addition to giving sons preferential treatment, many moms admit to using negative language to characterize their daughters while using positive words to describe theirs sons. Boys are cheeky, playful and loving while girls are stroppy, serious and argumentative.

Even mothers without sons admit to using negative labels to describe their girls.

Netmum’s Crissy Duff, a psychotherapeutic counselor, says all this negativity toward our daughters could have a lasting effect on their lives.

Women in particular seem to carry the feelings of parental disapproval and negative typing into their adulthood. The experience of receiving more negative reinforcements for stepping out of line than their male counterparts can lead women to view themselves as more needing of censure. This could be why women tend to be more self-critical than men, who often have a more happy-go-lucky attitude when it comes to making mistakes and moving past them.

I’ve never raised a son but I did have an older brother.  He passed away seventeen years ago, so I can’t ask him for his take on mom’s treatment of us as children.  But I do know that I grew up feeling like there was a definite double standard in my house.  Brother could do no wrong while my sister and I were constantly being reprimanded for every little transgression. I was mouthy and headstrong while he was outgoing and independent.

What’s more, mom cooked and cleaned for both my brother and my father while my sister and I were left to fend for ourselves at a very young age.

But while I may have resented this treatment at times, it never made me feel less sure of myself.  In fact, because my mother clearly expected more from me than she did my brother, I grew up feeling somewhat superior to him.  Maybe that was just childhood rationalization but in the end, I don’t believe I am any worse for the experience.

How about you?  Do you favor your sons?  Do you worry about the message such favoritism might be sending your daughters?

Image: rolands.lakis/Flickr

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