You do have a favourite child - and it's costing you money

Perhaps not surprisingly, mums tend to favour daughters while dads tend to favour sons.
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Perhaps not surprisingly, mums tend to favour daughters while dads tend to favour sons.

It's official, when it comes to financial decisions, you do have a favourite child - science says so.

According to a recent study, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology researchers have shown that mums spend more on their daughters while dads spend up big on their sons.

The research only dealt with gender bias, so if you have children of the same sex this study doesn't shed any more light on favouritism in your family.

However, for those with a boy and a girl the research had a pretty clear result.

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"Even though parents say they do not have a favourite, they also admit they do not actively track investment in each child, which leaves room for bias," researchers said.

"The bias toward investing in same-gendered children occurs because women identify more with and see themselves in their daughters, and the same goes for men and sons."

Despite more than 90 per cent of study participants claiming they treat their children equally, the results proved differently. 

The study conducted four separate experiments in both America and India, to take into account varying cultural differences.

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In one experiment, parents were told they'd be given a $25 treasury bond to give to only one child. In a majority of cases, the mothers gave theirs to their daughter and the fathers gave theirs to their son.

In another experiment, they were each told they'd be given one lottery ticket to win a back-to-school pack. The results were striking, with 75 per cent of mums deciding to enter on their daughter's behalf and 87 per cent of men choosing to enter on their son's behalf.

 

"This is consistent with the idea that people tend to spend money on things that align with their identity," the authors said.

"Gift giving to one's children can be a way for parents to bolster their sense of identity and live vicariously through their children.

"If this gender bias influences decisions related to charitable giving, college savings, promotions and politics, then it can have profound implications and is something we can potentially correct going forward."

In daily life, the financial bias can have significant ramifications.

"For example, when men control the family's financial decisions, then sons may chronically receive more resources than daughters," said researchers.

"By contrast, if women are the primary shoppers, this can result in subtle but consistent favouritism for daughters."

The authors noted that in same-sex or single parent households the ramifications could be even more far-reaching, as there was no levelling out bias in the opposite direction.

 - essentialbaby.com.au

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