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Most mums admit favouring sons

Amelia Hill from
October 12, 2010

Survey of 2,500 for parenting website reveals 90% of mothers treat boys and girls differently

Mothers are more critical of their daughters than their sons, and admit to having a having stronger bond with their little boys, according to research.

While they praise particular characteristics in their sons – seeing them as being “funny”, “cheeky” and “playful” – mothers admit that they are likely to denigrate their daughters for showing similar attributes, referring to them instead as “stroppy”, or “argumentative”.

The 2,500-strong survey by parenting website Netmums found that although almost one half of mothers say they know it is wrong to treat boys and girls differently, almost 90% admit they do exactly that. Mothers are, the research shows, twice as likely to be more critical of their daughters than their sons, while over half admitted that they feel a stronger tie to their son than their daughter. The research shows that mums “type” their children according to gender, with boys being labelled with far more positive traits than their sisters. More than one in five mothers questioned admitted that they turn a blind eye to behaviour of boys for which they would reprimand their girls.

Crissy Duff, a psychotherapeutic counsellor, said this combination of a more critical upbringing and attributed negative personality types can have a long-lasting and serious effect on daughters.



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