Apr 7, 2011  •  In Parenting, Personal, Relationships

Are Two Girls the Best?

People often ask us how many kids we plan on having, and our answer is: “It depends.”

J and I made a deal before we got married. J wants lots of kids. Like, enough for a full soccer team. (“But I’ll settle for a basketball team,” he says. :roll: ) I was never sure if I wanted kids, but if I were to procreate I thought that two would be a nice number, the reason being that one would be too easy to spoil and three would be too much for me to handle.

So we compromised. Since I would be the primary caretaker of the kids, we would aim for two. But if they were the same sex, we will try for a third.

What if the third is the same gender as the first two? We’d still stop at three.

That being said, J — as the oldest male in his family’s generation — has pressure from his parents and his own Asian guy pride. “We need to have at least one boy,” he says. I roll my eyes at him. The notion that a male is needed to pass down the family line and name is outdated and pretty sexist, in my opinion (and believe me, I have pretty conservative views when it comes to male-female gender roles). I tell him that even if we end up with three girls, his brother or a cousin can have a boy and the family will have to be happy with that.

What brings up this numbers and genders talk? Well, apparently a new study shows that having two daughters will lead to the most harmonious and happy family life.

What’s particularly interesting about the study is that while two daughters may be the best, doubling that number to four daughters often leads to a whole lot of mess. In fact, parents of four daughters turned out to be the least happy with family life overall.

Here are the ‘best’ to ‘worst’ combinations of children:

  1. Two girls
  2. One boy and one girl
  3. Two boys
  4. Three girls
  5. Three boys
  6. Four boys
  7. Two girls and one boy
  8. Two boys and one girl
  9. Three boys and one girl
  10. Three girls and one boy
  11. Two boys and two girls
  12. Four girls

Innnnn-teresting! As my readers know, I come from a family of two girls. And although my sister and I didn’t exactly have the best relationship growing up (we usually just ignored each other), we’ve certainly grown a lot closer over the years. And whilst my family may have been through some difficult times, I would definitely say that my parents are generally very happy with their lives and — not to toot our own horns — their daughters.


My sister and I, before we were old enough to fight over toys and clothes

And, as I’ve mentioned before, my father has confessed to me that he longed for a son in those early years…but after having witnessed his two daughters grow up, he now says that he wouldn’t have traded it for anything. He says that his two girls have taught him to be more sensitive, generous, and a better man overall.

J, too, grew up with one younger sibling but he comes from a family of two boys. His parents certainly seem proud and happy with their sons, but my MIL has confided in me that she would have loved to have at least one girl. My in-laws have even described to me how last year, when my FIL was admitted to the hospital for a surgery, they noticed that the only visitors his neighbors received were their daughters. “And if a son happened to visit? You could tell that his wife had made him do it!” my FIL added.

Since J and I already have one daughter, I hope that our second would be a boy. Not only because I’m scared three children would be too much for me to handle, but because I get worried that if we have two girls then a boy, the boy would get too spoiled (the same would go for two boys then a girl). Besides, two girls and a boy ranks seventh on the list above.

But after reading this study, I am now more convinced that having just two girls would be totally fine too.

What are your feelings on the study? How would you say your own family life compares?

I would also like to see how only childs fit in the list.

18 Responses to “Are Two Girls the Best?”

  1. Donna:

    Hrmmm…i’m definitely torn on this one. I’m the oldest of FIVE – four girls and one boy and to be honest, I talk to all of my sisters if not daily but every other day and we’re all pretty close. My brother (also being the youngest) hears from all of us on a weekly basis. However, from oldest to youngest, there is a 12 year gap, too.

    I guess, for us – since we already have a son – here’s hoping for the #2 or #3 slot!

  2. Stephanie:

    Wow! Neat study. I am one of two girls and my husband is one of three (two boys, one girl). I’ve always wanted two girls and he’s always wanted three of any combination that involves a little boy. We have twin daughters. ;) I am, without a doubt, 100% done with having children. I love my girls and enjoy them, I even enjoyed being pregnant, but I always wanted the family that I now have and think that three kids is just more than I want. Maybe I can show hubs this study to convince him that we don’t want to slide from #1 to #7. ;)

  3. Jan:

    I come from a family of 2 girls. My father like yours, initially longed for a boy, but now he says he is happy that he had 2 girls. I am Asian too, and some of my aunts and uncles live with their sons. They complain that they are not very happy with their daughter in law. Not because she mistreats them or anything, but the fact remains that they are not her parents. Also, the sons don’t talk as frequently to their parents the way we do. So I think I would want atleast one girl and I have told my husband that I want to keep trying (subject to a maximum of 3) until we have a girl.

    Another thing I have noticed is that there is a stigma attached to third child if the older ones are girls. If I were such a third child, I would feel sad because I would know that the only reason my parents had me was because they wanted a boy.

  4. Hi there, I’m a new reader, so I thought I’d comment and say hello :)

    I am the oldest of 2 kids, I have a younger brother. I’m 33 and single and only starting to play with the idea of having kids one day (till recently I was really unsure for various reasons) but I think I’ll start with one and then will see how I handle – since I haven’t had the best relationship with my brother, the idea of a single child doesn’t sound that bad to me. But time will tell :)

  5. Di:

    I’m the youngest of a two boy, three girl family (in that order). We fought as much as most siblings do growing up , but all get along well now. I have a friend whose family is five girls and they are best friends. I’ve never seen such a tight-knit family.

  6. LHR:

    This is so interesting. 4 boys is #6, yet 4 girls is #12. Too much drama, I guess!

    I come from a family with 2 girls. I know my dad always wished that he had a boy. When we asked he wanted a grandson or a granddaughter, he said grandson without hesitation. I think it’s the Asian lineage thing and he always thinks that my sis, mom, and I gang up on him.

    Growing up, our lives were harmonious enough. We were good kids and were extra good, I’m convinced, because most girls I know are more susceptible to parental guilt.

    I have a son, and hope to have a daughter as well. And, like you, I think 3 is too much to handle. My husband is convinced that if we have a boy next I’d want to try for #3. I guess I’ll see if that time comes. He knows that I feel strongly about how daughters tend to stick closer to the family. I don’t forget birthdays, I talk to my parents about once a week, my mom is one of my best friends. On the flip side, he talks to his parents…when they call. I’m in charge of all holidays and birthdays.

    For my family, I think 1 boy and 1 girl trumps 2 girls. My husband is a total boy and wouldn’t know what to do with 2 girls. He also thinks that he’s the only parent in the history of mankind to actually admit that he has a strong gender preference for his unborn children.

  7. What a cool study! As someone who desperately wanted a girl as my first (and then ended up having a boy and falling head over heels for him), I’d honestly be fine with another boy. On the other hand, I think my husband would turn to mush with a little girl. Either way, I think we’d both be happy. (We’re also stopping at two.)

    Since we had a boy first, we don’t have the pressure of “keeping the family name going,” plus my husband comes from a HUGE family with tons of cousins who all bear his last name (but I know that’s just not the same as having your own son).

    I’m the oldest of two with a younger brother, and we fought constantly, and we’re just now getting to a place where we’re actually interested (OK, I’m actually interested, he’s still off in his own little world), in being an important part of each other’s lives. Interestingly enough, I have only two cousins, both male. One I never see and hardly ever talk to, and one who’s only a year older than me who I saw all the time growing up. He and I have gotten very close as we get older and he’s more like a brother to me than anyone. So in a way, I guess I kind of felt like I grew up with one older brother and one younger brother.

  8. Mary:

    I’m 7 of 12 so i”m all good with just 2-3 kids. The husband wants lots of kids since he’s an only child but he’ll settle for three kids. He already his BOY and tooting his horn. So anything else that comes along is fine but he rather have two boy first and then the last one be a girl. Now if we end up with 3 boys, we may try for a girl. My family has lots of boys.

  9. I have two little girls, so I may be a tad biased on this one! Before kids, I would definitely have thought two girls would be the least desirable option – but now I’ve changed my mind. Girls stay with you – all our patients put their daughters not their sons as emergency contacts for example. Of course – I mag change my mind when they reach puberty!

  10. I come from 1 boy 1 girl and obviously think that’s the best :P

    But I only want two kids. And if I can’t have one of each I’d rather two girls.

  11. I am an only child and growing up was kind of lonely, so I would definitely like more than one kid. My ideal situation would be two – girl first and then boy. I think I would enjoy this order because I could get used to the idea of having a kid with a decent frame of reference and then learn new, more boy oriented things with the second.
    Funnily enough my husband (one of two boys) is all about the idea of having a little girl. Often when we talk about our hypothetical children (no pregnancies yet!), he’ll talk about our first using the girl’s name we have picked out.

  12. In Korea, they say if you have 2 girls and a boy you have a gold medal (gum medal), if you have 1 girl, 1 boy you have a silver medal (eun medal), if you have 2 girls you have a bronze medal (dong medal) and if you have 2 boys you have a hangman’s noose (mok medal) …. i guess it loses the funniness in translation.

    If I could have everything my way, I’d want 2 girls and a boy.

  13. I am the oldest followed by my brother and sister.
    I couldn’t be happier. I loved them even when we were young. I had the best arrangement.

  14. I haven’t given this topic much thought (still trying to figure out when to get ONE kid into this world! hah), but had to say I was a little put off that ‘one child’ didn’t show up on the list. I’m an only child so I always think of these things. Then again, the list IS called ‘best/worst combinations’ and one isn’t exactly a combination. haha. On a mostly unrelated note, if the timestamp on the photo of you and your sister is accurate, it was taken the day I was born.

  15. lol I’m part of number 7. For shame. I’m the oldest, and I have one younger sister and one younger brother. Needless to say, I’m bossy with them. And I’ve been the surrogate mother to them, due to the fact that our parents were just too busy making a living, to make ends meet. My sister was the model child, perfect, quiet, docile, obedient. My brother is a mixture of both of us–book smart and street smart, and very social. I created the most problems with my parents…but eventually, things settled down after college and all. ;)

    Knowing what I know about what I did (and didn’t do) in my childhood and adolescent days…I am againt having daughters but I understand it’s playing the odds with nature anyway. My husband likes to say…we’ll have one kid, and then see if we can or want another child. He’s an only child, so……….

  16. Does that mean we’re screwed – we have only one child and aren’t aiming for any more (we’re not even on yoru list!) :P That said both of us are the eldest of 3. There are so many more ‘issues’ to be considered other than the number of children in the family though.
    Oh and apparently from mums with 3 or more kids, two kids are a log-wise jump from one, so having three apparently isn’t that much more work….

  17. I come from a 2 girl family too. And it was really fun! I love my sister to pieces. We are only 15 months apart. I dont know what my Mom was thinking having babies that close.

    itsheavenly.blogspot.com

  18. Thanks for sharing. I have two sons and am pregnant with a third. I see my happiness is expected to take a big hit, but less so if I was expecting a girl. Hmm.

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