Two daughters: the ideal family set-up

Family life is easier if you have two daughters, according to research.

Family life is easier if you have two daughters, according to research.
Researchers came to the conclusion after examining the lives of families with different combinations of children, both male and female.
The results show that, of all the variations, two girls make for the most harmonious family life as they are unlikely to fight and will generally play nicely.
Two girls rarely annoy their parents with too much noise, confide in their parents and are unlikely to wind each other up or ignore each other, say the researchers.
By contrast, doubling the number of daughters is likely to lead to a whole world of drama, the report found.
Mums and dads with four girls turned out to be the least happy with family life overall, with one in four of those admitting they were not 100% happy with their lot – and one in three finding it hard to cope on a daily basis.
Parents of four girls also admitted to having to cope with an average of four fights or arguments a day.
Faye Mingo, spokeswoman for which carried out the study among 2,116 parents, said: "The mums and dads we polled obviously dearly love their children, but those with bigger families find it much harder to keep the peace on a daily basis.
"The findings were absolutely fascinating – we often assume little girls behave like angels, and if you have two this certainly seems to be the case.
"But the more girls you have the more of a handful they become – more so in fact than boys. In fact, going from two to four girls seem to take parents from one extreme to the other – whilst doubling the amount of boys has much less impact.
"We expected two, three or four boys to come out as the most difficult combination of children to have, purely because of their energetic and boisterous personalities."
The study looked into families with twelve different combinations of children, excluding only children but including everything from a brother and sister to four of the same sex.
Mums and dads were asked to rank their children’s behaviour within the family unit based on a string of categories including ease of care, compatibility and overall behaviour.
Two girls scored highly in every category. They were ‘easy to reason’ with, ‘helped around the house’ and generally ‘liked each other’.
But parents of four girls ranked them at the lower end of the spectrum in most sectors due in no small measure to the sheer workload managing four children who regularly squabble and know how to wind each other up.
Some 63% of mums and dads of four girls have had to buy a bigger house and car. They also find it impossible dealing with everyone when they’re ill and spend most of the time encouraging the girls to get on.
In fact, mums and dads with four children of any gender found it harder, the results showed. And meal times, mornings and the bedtime routine emerged as key areas which become difficult with four children.
Parents with four children also admitted neglecting one or more of their children on occasion, and find it harder to share their attention equally amongst everyone.
Other difficult combinations of children include two boys and two girls, three girls and one boy, and three boys and one girl – although 62% parents with this combination would have exactly the same number of children if they had their time again.
After two girls, the second most satisfactory combination of children was one boy and one girl.
Some 86% of parents with one of each gender said they would honestly say their children were friends.
Parents of one girl and one boy also commented that they rarely argue over toys, belongings and who can have what.
The report found one of each gender can also be reasoned with easily, making it easy for mums and dads to quickly sort out problems.
The only downside of having a boy and a girl was a lack of shared interest as they grow up.
The third easiest combination of children was two boys.
Parents of two boys revealed they frequently pay each other lots of attention day to day, and are often best of friends throughout their childhood.
But while having two boys can be something of a pleasure when the children are little – parents can find the boys rarely confide in them as they grow up.
Faye Mingo added: "Rightly or wrongly, many parents have a set idea about the combination of children that would make up their ideal family unit. But of course nature doesn’t allow us to choose what we actually end up with or even what personalities our children will have. 
"Every child is a blessing and there are lots of things parents can do to ensure family life is as harmonious as possible.
“Making sure quality time is spent with all children, reminding them how lucky they are to have siblings and creating family rituals such as eating and playing together can all help everyone to get the most out of family life together.”

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