While a parental divorce can be a struggle for most children, a study from the University of California at Berkeley identified that in our culture, daughters tend to suffer disproportionately. This happens because, according to the study, marriages with firstborn daughters tend to end in divorce more often than marriages with firstborn sons, all else holding equal.
The paper reports that the chances of a firstborn girl living without a father are 3.1 percent higher than a firstborn boy, which, they say, is a difference of approximately 5,000 girls a year. This increase in divorce among the parents of daughters can cause long term problems if both parents do not take steps to avoid them.
Why the Difference?
While the study did not delve deeply into the causes of the gender difference, the study’s authors put forward three possible theories to explain the gender gap. The first theory is a simple preference of parents towards sons. If parents or even just fathers prefer having male children, then it would keep the family happier, and consequently reduce incidences of divorce. But, the authors also provided two alternative, non-gender-biased explanations for the difference.
First, fathers may believe that the lack of a male role model in the home affects boys more severely, which would make them more likely to stay for the benefit of the children. Finally, fathers may believe that girls cost more to raise than boys. Although economic data does not support that belief, it is a commonly held perception. That extra cost could drive some fathers away from raising girls as opposed to boys.
What Can Be Done?
The study’s authors were unable to offer any concrete solutions to the problem. However, they do make the point that attempting to prevent the family’s breakup is probably not the right tactic. The reasons for such familial dissolution are complicated, and cannot be boiled down to a single factor. Instead, parents should focus on mitigating the economic costs of the divorce on the children, and having both parents play an active, healthy role in their daughters’ lives. This will provide the best resolution for a difficult family situation, while preventing negative long-term impacts.
If you have found yourself in the middle of a divorce or are considering seeking one yourself, contact an Illinois divorce attorney
today. Their knowledge and experience can ensure that your interests are fairly represented in court.