Hoping your daughter will wind up becoming a doctor or a lawyer? Have your husband do the dishes! An upcoming paper in Psychological Science suggests that one of the biggest influences on young girls' career aspirations is an equal division of household chores between mom and dad. According to research, little girls with moms who have careers do tend to have less gender-stereotypical career aspirations than their stay-at-home mom counterparts, but holding even more weight in this issue is when dads pitch in with the cooking, cleaning, and shopping; in turn, getting rid of any and all 1950-esque smells that may be lingering in your home.
The Association for Psychological Science says:
The study results suggest that parents’ domestic actions may speak louder than words. Even when fathers publicly endorsed gender equality, if they retained a traditional division of labor at home, their daughters were more likely to envision themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs, such as nurse, teacher, librarian, or stay-at-home-mom.
In other words, the ol' "do as I say, not as I do" argument? Lose it from your vocabulary if you really want to instill something in your child.
This philosophy of course extends way beyond raising daughters who have aspirations to become scientists. This goes for everything we, as parents, want our kids to do, be, and think. We can talk to our kids until we're blue in the face about being nice to other people, but the moment they see us flip someone off who cuts us off, or trash talk a friend, they, consciously or subconsciously, think it's okay. Think about it: How many habits have you picked up from your mom and dad that they never spoke about?
The moral of the study? Be a parent of action. Dads can talk to their daughters on a daily basis about all the things they have the potential to become when they grow up. But if they just plop on the couch and flick on the TV at the end of a long day while Mom fixes supper, it'll all be for naught.
Do you ever find yourself subscribing to the "do as I say, not as I do" adage?
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