Most mothers would tell you they speak to all their children the same way. A new study suggests they might be deceived. In a study published yesterday in The British Journal of Developmental Psychology , authors Ana Aznar and Harriet Tenenbaum found that mothers are more likely to use emotional words and emotional content when speaking with their 4-year-old daughters than with their 4-year-old sons. On the plus side, though, it may be why women tend to have a higher emotional intelligence than men.
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Editor's Note: Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Have a question? Email her at dear. My husband and I have two adult children: a year-old son who is married with three children and lives 15 minutes away, and a year-old daughter who is single and lives out of state. Even though he lives close by, my son hardly calls or comes over. We do hear from him when he needs something, like someone to watch the grandkids. This year, I asked my son whether his family would be coming over on Easter, and I explained that I had Easter gifts for the grandkids. My husband and I were hurt and felt it was somewhat selfish of my son and his family not to spend any time with us.
When kids are young, it's easy to find excuses to bond with them. After all, they're living in your house, and you get to see them almost constantly. When someone depends on you for food, clothing, and shelter, you don't exactly have to make dinner plans to see them regularly. But some parents worry that, when their kids grow up and leave the house, it'll be harder to stay in touch. Will they only see their children on major holidays, or not even then? How will they keep that connection alive when their kids aren't right in front of them? Well, for those parents, here's some good news. You may be heading for a closer relationship rather than a more distant one. Of course, this isn't to say it's easy. Nothing meaningful ever is.