Anyone who has—or has been—a teenager knows how turbulent those years can be. Surveys confirm that teenage daughters and fathers, in particular, get on each other’s nerves. They also show that parents of teenage daughters argue more about parenting than do the parents of sons, and that mothers of teenage daughters report significantly more disagreements with their partners over money, and become more open to the idea of divorce. Earlier research has also shown that one of the most common things parents fight over is how much they should control their teenagers’ personal choices, such as how they dress, whom they date and where they work.
In light of all this, it is intriguing to note that Dr Kabatek and Dr Ribar found one type of couple who seem immune to the daughter effect: those in which the father grew up with a sister. Having seen things somewhat from a sister’s point of view may act as a sort of social inoculation.