Positive Parenting: Do Parents Play Favorites With Money?

Parents love their children equally, but do they also play favorites when it comes to money?

Rutgers University Marketing Professor Kristina Durante and her colleagues tested that theory.

“We were having parents enter a lottery to win a treasury bond worth $25, and they had to tell us with a name which of their children they would give the treasury bond to,” Durante says.

The parents could only enter once and had to choose between their girl or their boy for the potential winnings.  For the most part, moms chose daughters and dads chose sons.

“It suggests that we do play favorites, even if we don’t think that we do,” Durante says.

In a follow-up study, researchers had parents with kids of both genders enter a lottery for a backpack with school supplies.

Again, moms chose girls 76 percent of the time. Dads chose sons 87 percent.

Durante says parents should know this spending bias exists and ensure all their kids have equal opportunities for enriching activities like music lessons, dance, and sports.

Parents are advised to check twice and keep it “Even-Steven” between siblings.

Researchers say parents may be favoring a child of their own gender simply because they identify more with them.

Durante also recommends parents track spending on each of their kids, because that will help parents have a clear picture of where their money is going.


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