Parents Talk to Sons and Daughters Differently After Injury

Oct 18, 2015

A new paper from the University of Iowa has found that parents tend to talk to sons and daughters differently after an injury.

Research shows boys are more prone to injury than girls. Elizabeth O’Neal, a Ph.D. candidate at UI’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, says a contributing factor could be the way children are socialized after an injury.

Her research, published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, found that parents are four times more likely to tell a daughter, than a son, to be more careful after a trip to the emergency room. And while this advice might be protecting girls, there is a flip side.

"It's important for kids to sort of push themselves, a little bit, so that they can develop new skills," says O'Neal. "By telling girls to be more careful, [parents] may be hampering them a little bit."

O’Neal adds social science research also shows that parents generally expect and encourage boys to take more risks.