Competing for Mom's Heart - FamilyEducation

Competing for the Place of Honor in Mom's Heart

Learn the ways in which sibling rivalry relates to a need for mom's attention.

The answer to this question is not gender related. Researchers discovered that sons and daughters have equally positive relationships with moms. However, the qualitative content of that relationship is different:

  • Mothers feel closer to daughters because they are more open and less distant than boys, envision a greater "sense of permanency" with daughters, and see them in their own likeness.
  • Boys receive more lenient treatment than daughters, a cause of resentment among their sisters. Mothers do not place as many demands or expectations on sons in terms of their responsibilities within the family and to others. Furthermore, they are also given more leeway to deviate from acceptable behavior. A lot of moms are known to go so far as to adopt the attitude that their sons can do no wrong.
  • Daughters can also prove to be more tiring than boys and evoke more agitated motherly responses that result in friction between the two. The reason being girls are more difficult and more demanding emotionally than their brothers. Additionally, moms sometimes put added pressure on daughters if they see their own image in her and feel the need to redo themselves.

What is of particular importance here is how a daughter perceives the treatment her brother is getting in contrast and comparison to herself. If a rivalry for Mom's attention is ignited or if a daughter feels like she is second fiddle, the mother-daughter relationship could easily be negatively impacted.