Why Do Most Parents Treat Their Sons Differently Than Their Daughters?

Jocelyn Wade, J1 Staff Writer

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Is the way that parents treat their sons versus how they treat their daughters based on how society treats women? Perhaps the reason that parents are more protective of their daughters and give their sons more freedom is a form of protection for the future.

I have seen plenty of my friend’s parents treat them differently from their brothers, even when they are the same age or close to the same age. Some parents allow their sons to go out whenever and wherever, but for girls it’s different. Some parents don’t allow their daughters out unless they know exactly where they’re going, when they are going, who’s going to be there, how they’re getting there and back and what time they are expected to be back. Often this heavy handed parenting and control comes from fathers to daughters.

In “How Dads Parent Their Daughters Differently Than Sons” by Alice Park, she focuses on the different ways that fathers interact with sons and daughters. Park’s study of father/son and father/daughter relationships shows that there is definitely a difference in how most men treat their sons and daughters. One particular topic that Park speaks on is the studies that researchers did with fathers, daughters and sons. “The fathers also talked about sadness more with the girls than with the boys, and they were more likely to engage in rough physical play with their sons than with their daughters.”  

Park makes it clear that the ways in which parents treat their children is often innate – something that they do without really knowing or realizing it. However, she also notes that this can change if people are aware of their biases. She writes,  “Just being aware of the biases we have by virtue of being part of our culture may help us to do a little better in preparing our kids in less biased ways.” So yes, sometimes parents do base the way they parent their kids based on society and don’t realize it.

Girls and boys should be treated equal to one another no matter how society views them or how “protected” parents feel a girl needs. One way that parents can insure fair treatment is by giving the same rules and expectations. Allow them to go to events together, such as a party or hanging out with their friends. Girls should not be limited to things they can do because of their gender. What kids can do outside of the house should depend on their behavior and responsibility.

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Why Do Most Parents Treat Their Sons Differently Than Their Daughters?