6 Reasons Why Boys Are Easier To Parent For Some Mothers

Photo: DuxX / Shutterstock
mother cuddling young son

When you’re pregnant with a baby boy, a lot of moms quickly share with you that they find boys easier to parent.

Some of the reasons are due to individual personality factors, and some are due to deeper psychological, social, and cultural variables.

If you find it easier to parent your sons than your daughters, read on to explore some possible reasons why.

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Here are 6 reasons why boys are easier to parent for some mothers:

1. Boys are less emotional than girls

This isn’t actually true. Still, women usually are more verbally expressive with their feelings, which can start very early on.

For women who were raised in homes without a lot of emotion, and who may not be comfortable expressing emotion themselves, girls may be more difficult and uncomfortable to parent.

2. Boys are less sensitive

Again, this isn’t true. In my case, my son is my most sensitive child (if you want my totally unscientific way to tell if your child is sensitive, see if they cry when they read this book… at least if they are a dog lover. My son did and my daughters didn’t). 

Highly Sensitive Children are of both genders. If you had a highly sensitive parent or sibling that you felt was always making life difficult, then it may trigger you to think of a child who is sensitive, and since many people mistakenly assume that girls are more sensitive and boys are innately somehow "tougher," they bring this misconception into their gender preference.

3. You have never been comfortable with women

Some women have never had many girlfriends, and stereotype women as overly girly, catty, or interested in shallow things.

I posit this as the first reason, because if you feel this way, it ought to be explored further, and probably relates to one of the deeper level reasons I get to later on.

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4. Your own relationship with your mother is misattuned, actively conflictual, or estranged

For women whose relationships with their own mothers are difficult, it can be very stressful to have a daughter.

You may go into this new mother-daughter relationship with subconscious hopes that it will be close and attuned enough to compensate for the disappointing relationship you have with your own mother.

However, if your daughter is not wired like you, or worse, reminds you of your mother, then you may feel very triggered much of the time.

Additionally, you may not have developed the interpersonal skills that would make the mother-daughter relationship easier, because you did not learn them from your own mother’s interactions with you. If this resonates with you, there are many great books to read about difficult mother-daughter relationships, like When You And Your Mother Can’t Be Friends by Victoria Secunda and You’re Wearing That? by Deborah Tannen.

5. You overidentify with your daughters

If you're a woman with low self-esteem, it can be very hard to see that your daughter has the same "flaws" as you perceive in yourself.

It can make you want to "correct" your daughter so that she does not suffer as you feel that have. Sometimes this correction comes in the form of telling your daughter to diet or exercise, study more or even to not act "slutty" with boys.

There are so many women who feel that their mothers were overly harsh or mean about their looks, and in therapy, we actually determine that the woman’s mother likely felt that her daughter actually looked like her and was projecting her own terrible self-evaluation onto her daughter.

Others may feel that they threw their lives away by getting married and/or pregnant too young and then act very rudely about their daughter’s own relationships, marriage, and/or pregnancy. Examples like this abound.

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6. Boys can provide validation that a woman is lovable or worthwhile in a way that daughters may not be able to

Many women were raised in a culture and/or family that prioritized the opinions of men over those of women. It can be hard to shake the idea that males’ viewpoints are somehow more valid than those of females.

Therefore, when a son tells you that you are the best mommy, it can feel more "real" than the same words spoken by a daughter. This is unfortunate for the daughter, who may often perceive that her mother finds her brother’s love to be more fulfilling than her own.

All of these reasons can be very useful and interesting to explore via introspection (you can even use the bolded phrases as writing prompts) or individual therapy.

For women who only have sons, internal expectations or unexamined thoughts like these may not impact their day-to-day life.

However, for women with both sons and daughters, their unexplored and subconscious, or conscious, preference for their sons may have a deleterious impact on all of their kids. (Remember, being the favorite isn’t always great; for many kids, it comes with a healthy side serving of guilt when they are old enough to recognize how their siblings are treated in contrast to them.)

If this post either outright spoke to you, or even tugged at the edges of your consciousness in an uncomfortable way, I really recommend thinking about it more deeply, particularly in regard to your own upbringing and how it impacted your assumptions and expectations about males and females. It is something that I personally notice in myself and actively work to explore and manage.

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Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.

This article was originally published at Dr. Psych Mom. Reprinted with permission from the author.