Mums do best at showing love

Herald on Sunday Apr 3, 2011

Sibling rivalry is often said to be rooted in a fight for parental attention. But the roles could be reversed after new research revealed children are more likely to feel unconditional love from their mothers than their fathers. Otago University professor Amanda Barusch quizzed more than 1400 Kiwis aged 18 to 25 to study the relationships between adult children and their parents. She found clear differences between how they viewed their mums and dads. The five most statistically significant were that mothers were more likely to be perceived to give their children unconditional love, be honest and frank, sacrifice their own comfort and be a friend to their children. In contrast, fathers were more likely to disagree with their children. Barusch said the findings were linked to how many people perceived the traditional roles of fathers. She said fathers felt solely responsible for providing for their family and made work a priority. “Fathers do love their children but they express it by doing things,” she said.

…The chief executive of parenting resource Parents Inc, Bruce Pilbrow, said stay-at-home mums traditionally had more time for their children and might have been perceived to care more. But he said that was unfair and “undervalued” the role of fathers. “Mums are nurturers but it would be interesting to do the same survey in 18 years’ time because more often both parents are working nowadays.”