We would laugh in someone’s face if they asked us to choose a ‘favourite’ child. It’s just not the way parenthood works – we love each of our children equally, and that is that.
Or is it?
According to new research, it seems as though parents may actually play favourites without even realising.
The study – published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology – is based on fascinating evidence gathered when parents from the US and India were asked to make family decisions based on money.
In all, four experiments were carried out, in which parents were asked to make some kind of financial-based decision to benefit either a son or a daughter.
While around 90 percent of the respondents insisted they didn’t show preferential toward one particular child, the results suggested otherwise!
In one experiment, the parents were presented with a $25 treasury bond, and told to choose one child to give it to.
“Mothers consistently favoured daughters, whereas fathers consistently favoured sons,” the researchers observed.
“For example, parents were more likely to choose a real prize and give a real US Treasury bond to the child of the same sex as themselves.”
It was a common trend across all four experiments.
In another, they were given a raffle ticket; they then had to choose whether to enter it into a draw for a girl’s backpack, or a boy’s backpack. Here, 75 percent of mothers chose to enter the draw for their daughter, while 87 percent of fathers opted for the boys’ draw.
So, exactly what is behind the findings? Well, the researchers believe it could come down to something a simple as ‘identifying’ with their child’s gender.
“This is consistent with the idea that people tend to spend money on things that align with their identity,” they explained.
“Gift-giving to one’s children can be a way for parents to bolster their sense of identity and live vicariously through their children.”
What are your thoughts on these findings, mums? Let us know!