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How Moms Treat Sons and Daughters Differently

Hey, moms: Next time you chat with your daughter, take note of the words you use. Do you say things like “happy,” “sad,” or “worried”? What about with your son? According to a new study, you’re more likely to use these and other “emotional words and content” with girls than boys.

The study, published Wednesday in The British Journal of Developmental Psychology, analyzed conversations between 65 Spanish parents and their four- and six-year-old children. “Our study suggests that parent-child conversations are gendered, with mothers talking more expressively to their daughters than their sons,” lead author Dr. Harriet Tenenbaum, of the University of Surrey in the U.K., notes in a press release. “This inevitably leads to girls growing up more attuned to their emotions than boys.”

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