Mums who are often angry and upset with their male partners spend more time talking to their infant sons, leading to an increase in “Mummy’s boys.”
Bad husbands are leading to a generation of “Mummy’s boys”
Psychologist Elian Fink and colleagues from the University of Cambridge studied both the behaviour of 93 first-time, heterosexual parents and the extent to which they interacted verbally with their seven-month-old infant children.
The team interviewed the parents about the quality of their romantic relationships, asking them to rate how satisfied they were.
Conversations with the children were measured over a full day — one during which both parents were at home together — using a wearable ‘talk pedometer’.
The researchers found that mothers spoke to their infant sons more when they were unhappy in their relationship.
Mothers who rated the quality of their relationship as ‘low’, rather than ‘average’, used around 35 per cent more words when talking to their sons and started around 20 per cent more conversations with them.
‘It’s possible that the mum is trying to compensate for the poor relationship she has with her partner,’ said Dr Fink.
‘What is particularly interesting is that mums only seem to compensate when they have infant sons, not daughters.”
Dr Fink hopes that the findings will help encourage parents to talk more to their infant children, regardless of the latter’s gender.