Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree
- Seeing friends and family regularly is worth an extra $97,265 a year. Being close to your family makes you trust strangers less. We watch TV and read books to simulate relationships. We love our families more as we age.
- Yes, grandmom’s cookies do taste better than anyone else’s and comfort food does comfort us. Freud was kinda right about it all being about your relationship with your mother.
- Being married does not bring you closer to your parents. Having kids does make you more like them. Being a criminal is hereditary. You get your musical taste (in part) from your parents. “Daddies’ girls” do choose men who are similar to their fathers. Your parents’ age and appearance affect who you are attracted to. The single strongest predictor of a person’s IQ is the IQ of his or her mother.
- Your siblings help siblings shape your personality. Birth order matters, especially if you want to go to Harvard. Is your brother smart? Then you might be crazy. Got an older brother? You’re less likely to have kids. Twin siblings? They’ll make you dumber.
- Mommy does not love you all the same. Parents do have favorites. Daddy loves you more if you look like him. Kids don’t make us happier. Those parent-teacher conferences aren’t really about the kids. Yes, we idealize parenthood to rationalize the extreme sacrifices it takes to raise a child. “Evil stepmother” is far, far from being a myth.
- Judges behave differently when they have daughters and companies pay women more if the male CEO has a daughter. Men with traditional gender role beliefs make better dads. Parents buy healthier food for their dog than for themselves and buy healthier food for themselves than for their kids. There are a lot of things parents are wrong about.
- Sexually promiscuous people have more sons. Skinny women have more daughters. Dominant women have more sons. Beautiful people have more daughters. Violent men have more sons. In general, people would prefer to have sons over daughters.
- Nepotism is more common than you think and your family can be very important in determining whether you get into a good college. Sadly, we lie the most to those we are closest to and the people who love you the most are the least likely to follow through on their promises.
- “We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.”
- Want to let a family member know how much they mean to you? Try a gratitude visit. There’s an optimal amount of kindness to express with different family members and a best way to show support. Making all your relationships much better is incredibly easy.
This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
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