Parental favoritism and gender

Jeffrey Kluger, Science Journalist & Author, shares advice for parents on the surprising role that gender can play in favoritism between parents and their children
How Gender Can Affect Parental Favoritism - Kids In The House
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Parental favoritism and gender

Gender plays a role in favoritism that we wouldn't necessarily imagine. One study that I looked at in my book, found that 70 percent of fathers and 65 percent of mothers, exhibit a preference or a favorite among one child or another. That's a very high number. More than anyone would imagine. But which child is favored can sometimes be surprising. The most common favorite for a father tended to be a youngest daughter. The most common favorite for mothers, tended to be the oldest son. This isn't just because they are attracted to the uncomplicated love and attention that can come from a boy, or dad finds his frilly little girl. It's often because, what parents are seeing are paradoxically, traits that are opposite from traits in their own gender. So the business man father, whose daughter is a tough as nails MVP and she is going to go out and start her own company, or the sensitive mom who goes gooey over son, the poet. They are both finding traits in their opposite sex that are commonly associated in their gender. Your opposite sex child can never resemble you perfectly, the gender is all wrong, but if they take the time to resemble you temperamentally, you are going to love them all the more for it.

Jeffrey Kluger, Science Journalist & Author, shares advice for parents on the surprising role that gender can play in favoritism between parents and their children


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Jeffrey Kluger

Science Journalist & Author

Jeffrey Kluger is a senior editor and writer at Time magazine, covering science, health and other fields. He is the coauthor, along with astronaut Jim Lovell, of Apollo 13, the book that served as the basis of the 1995 movie. His more-recent release, Splendid Solution, told the story of Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine.  His novel, Nacky Patcher and the Curse of the Dry-Land Boats, was published in June 2007, and his newest nonfiction book, Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex, was published in June 2008.

Before coming to Time, Kluger worked for Discover magazine, where he was a senior editor and humor columnist. Prior to that, he was health editor at Family Circle magazine, story editor at The New York Times Business World Magazine, and Associate Editor at Science Digest magazine. His features and columns have appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Gentlemen's Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Omni, McCall's, New York Magazine, The New York Post, Newsday, and, of course, Time. He has worked as an adjunct instructor in the graduate journalism program at New York University; is a licensed—though non-practicing—attorney; and is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Baltimore School of Law. He lives in New York City with his wife Alejandra and their daughters, Elisa and Paloma.

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