It’s a boy thing

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 all live in New York, maybe it is because they are the kind of people who would agree to be interviewed by New Yorker magazine, or maybe they’ve just been carefully selected to prove a point the author of this article wanted to make. Either way, the reasons these men give as to why they are better able to create relationships with their sons, and how this impacts 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, the article doesn’t seem to consider the relationship between father’s and daughters, or how special these can be.

Regular readers of my blogs will know by now that I often say things that are not particularly politically correct, and here comes another. From my experience of working with families as a couples counsellor throughout the Bishops Stortford area these last 25 years, I tend to see parents creating 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. At the end of the day though, Father/son relationships vs. father/daughter relationships are completely different. Neither is better, neither is worse. They are equally fulfilling, just in different ways.

This is why it is my opinion that to then go as far as to state that men are better able to create a relationship with their sons than their daughters, and that this will then 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. I’d very much love to hear your thoughts on this though so please do email me at to share your thinking.