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Are sons loved more than daughters?

 
Research reveals surprising preferences when it comes to gender.
By Sipho Yanano

Pic: Shutterstock

 “If you had a choice of having only one child would you rather have a girl or a boy?” I posed this question to several of my male friends. Their responses shocked me because 90% of them preferred a male child!

When I asked I got the following replies:
  1. It’s easier for a man to raise a boy child than a girl child
  2. Some of the men felt they would relate more to a boy.
  3. Girls leave the family while sons will stay in the family.

Disappointed that in this day and age some people still feel this way I wondered if in other lands gender bias when it comes to parenting still exists.

The statistics

Time.com reports that Gallup polled 1,020 American adults, asking “if they could have only one child, which gender would they prefer. 40% of the participants said a boy, while 28% answered a girl.”

The poll revealed that in general both women and men were somewhat biased towards boys. The same report went on to reveal that “generations of girl-bias in Asia has eliminated 160 million future women.”

Are mothers guilty too?

In a family with children of both sexes one would expect the mother to be more understanding and to be less gender-biased, but reports suggest differently. The Daily Mail reports that website Netmums found that “88% of mothers polled admit to treating boys and girls differently, despite considering it wrong to do so.”
 
According to the same report:
  • The mothers in the research were likely to describe their sons as ‘funny’, ‘cheeky’, ‘playful’ and ‘loving’ while daughters were likely to be described as ‘stroppy’, ‘argumentative’ and ‘serious’,
  • 55%  of the mothers claimed that they found it easier to bond with their sons.
  • 7% admitted giving their sons more treats than their daughters.
  • Mothers were more critical of their sons than daughters
  • Sons were generally allowed to get away with mischief than daughters.

I can identify with the findings of this study. In the community I grew up in the girl child was expected to do most of the household duties while the boys did minimal work. It was girl who was given a strict curfew while the boys were allowed to come home at a time they wanted. It was the sons who were sent to good schools and not the girls.  I wonder how those girls felt.

According to Crissy Duff, a counsellor and adviser at Netmums, “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.”

So, are sons loved more than daughters? The statistics seem to tell us that there is still a bias towards boys, which is sad. Every child deserves to be treated equally because every child, no matter the gender, has a potential to contribute so much to society. No one chooses to be born male or female. Treating children differently because of their gender is very unloving and unfair. Parents with children of different genders should stand back and analyse whether or not they are favouring one child over the other. If you are practicing this hurtful favouritism it’s time to stop.

A mother summed it all up when she wrote: “Both sexes have lots to offer. I love the way that little boys can be confident and fun, but sometimes you crave a bit of peace and quiet that a little girl can bring.”

Would you agree? Are sons loved more than daughters?

Read more by Sipho Yanano


Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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