Maternal and paternal controlling feeding practices with male and female children

This study aimed to compare maternal and paternal feeding practices with male and female children and examine the influence of the gender of both the parent and child on the relationship between parental unhealthy eating attitudes and controlling feeding practices. One hundred and eighty-eight participants (94 co-habiting mother–father dyads, mean age 36.4 years, SD=4.9), who were the parents of 46 male and 48 female children (mean age 37.7 months, SD=12.7) completed measures of unhealthy eating attitudes and feeding practices. Mothers and fathers differed significantly in their reports of unhealthy eating attitudes but not in their restrictive or pressurising feeding practices. Mothers reported greater perceived feeding responsibility and greater monitoring of their children's food intake than fathers. Bulimia scores were correlated with controlling feeding practices in mothers of girls but not boys. Fathers’ body dissatisfaction was correlated with monitoring of sons’ but not daughters’ food intake. These findings suggest that parental extrapolation of weight concerns may be more likely to occur within mother–daughter and father–son relationships.