decline in well-being of Mothers of three daughters


The decline in parental well-being lasts a decade and was caused by mothers having a third girl, according to research ( Stock Image )

It is said that women want a daughter rather than a son.

But mothers with multiple children, beware: One study suggests that having three daughters can lead to a significant decline in well-being.

Researchers combined data from two large UK studies that followed participants from birth to adulthood.

The subjects were surveyed at least once every ten years, reporting their level of life satisfaction and whether they had children.

Analysis found that after having a third child of the same sex, parents experienced a significant decline in their well-being compared to those who had a third child of the opposite sex from the first two.

The decline in parental well-being lasts a decade and was caused by mothers having a third girl, according to research ( Stock Image )

This effect persists for a decade, they found, and was entirely caused by mothers having a third girl.

The researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science also found that parents who had two children of the same sex were more likely to try for another child, and more likely to do so than those who already had a boy and a girl.

Lead author Professor Paul Dolan said: ‘Parents who have two children of the same sex are more likely to try for a third in the hope that they will ‘win’ the birth lottery.

“Our data suggests that the disappointment comes mainly from mothers with two girls who do not have a boy, as opposed to mothers of two boys who do not have a girl.”

He reported his findings in a study titled, “All we want is a healthy baby — well, and one that’s the opposite sex to what we already have.”

It reads, “We all know families with three boys or three girls.

‘Did they then have three children in the hope that the third child would be of the opposite sex to the first two?

“Are they disappointed if they have another child of the same sex?

Analysis found that after having a third same-sex child, parents experienced a significant decline in their well-being (Stock Image)

Analysis found that after having a third same-sex child, parents experienced a significant decline in their well-being (Stock Image)

“We show that… having three children of the same sex has a negative impact on life satisfaction. This effect is entirely caused by mothers having a third girl and lasts for 10 years after birth.

“It seems that mothers with two girls hope they can have a boy and are disappointed when they don’t.

“In contrast, we found that having two children of the same sex increases subjective well-being.”

Professor Dolan said the reason behind his findings could be that mothers don’t want too many women in a household.

“One possibility would be that this reflects boys’ superior earning capacity, which persists despite advances in gender equality,” he wrote.

“This would be a milder version of the perceived preference for boys in developing countries.”

The research is published in Elsevier’s Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics.