“It’s a boy thing” (Apparently). According to this article in The Economist, couples who have sons are more likely to stay together than those who have girls. Now, I’ve read this article and I have to say that I’m not completely convinced by it. Maybe it’s because the men interviewed are all New Yorkers, or maybe they’ve just been carefully selected to prove a point the author of this article wanted to make, but the reasons these men give as to why they are better able to create relationships with their sons, and how this impacts their the likelihood of remaining in a relationship with their children’s mother all seem fairly weak to me.
These weak explanations (in this author’s opinion) notwithstanding, this article doesn’t seem to consider the relationship between father’s and daughters and how special these can be.
I know that it probably isn’t a very PC thing to say, but from my experience of working with families these last 25 years, I tend to see parents creating slightly different relationships with their children of different genders. Daddy’s girls and Mummy’s boys are well known concepts, and of course Freud also gave this a bit of thought about the different type of relationships formed by men and women with children of different genders in his writings about what he called the oedipal complex.
In this author’s opinion, to go so far as to state that because men are better able to create a relationship with their sons as opposed to their daughters and that this will be a significant factor in whether or not men will remain in a relationship, seems a bit of a stretch to me. The love of a parent for their children is, in my opinion a completely different emotional thread from the love (or lack of) parents towards each other. In fact, one of the most important lessons mediators and therapists teach parents when separating is to ensure that their children know they are deeply loved by both of them, and that this love is in no way impacted by the fact that mummy and daddy feel they’re better off living separately from each other. In summary then, to say “It’s a boy thing”, is not something that I can really give much time to.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this though so please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thinking.