Mothers who are dissatisfied with their male partners spend more time talking to their male infants, say researchers at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge. The study published in the Journal of Family Psychology (September) examined the quality of parental relationships and the ratio of parent-infant talk within a group of 93 first-time heterosexual parents.
The study reveals that mothers who were dissatisfied with the quality of their marital relationship spoke 35 percent more words and had 20 percent more conversations with their children than those who were in satisfied relationships. However, this heightened interaction was only seen with male children.
On the other hand, regardless of the infant’s gender, fathers spoke significantly less with children. “It’s possible that a maritally dissatisfied mother tries to compensate for the poor relationship she has with her partner by putting more time and effort into her relationship with her other close male social partner, her son. What is particularly interesting is that mums only seem to compensate when they have infant sons, not daughters,” says Dr. Elian Fink, research associate at Cambridge University.