April 7, 2011 at 12:50 PM ET
What’s the secret to a blissful family life? Apparently it's a game of X's. (Well, four X chromosomes, to be exact.)
Having two daughters leads to the most harmonious family life, according to a study by the popular U.K. parenting website Bounty.com. The survey of more than 2,000 families with different combinations of siblings found two girls are most likely to be: well-behaved, play nicely together, easy to reason with, and rarely try to push each other's buttons.
But don't think that more girls means more giggles. Au contraire. The study included an awesome list, ranking the "Best to Worst Combinations of Kids." Second was one girl and one boy. (See below for the full list.) At the bottom: four daughters, the recipe for the least amount of familial peace.
Why? Because all those hormones result in negatives such as fighting and arguing, making a lot of noise, chaotic bedtime routines and general dislike for one another.
If you've ever been in a house full of kids, regardless of the mix of genders, you know that chaos and happiness aren't mutually exclusive. (Remember the Brady Bunch -- three girls, three boys; and what about the Kardashians -- six girls, four boys? Plenty of turmoil and tranquility in both cases.)
However, the Bounty study found that there was something about just four girls that made moms and dads surveyed the least happy with family life overall.
One in three parents of four girls "found it hard to cope on a daily basis," reported the study. "Parents of four girls also admitted to having to cope with an average of four fights or arguments a day."
Liz Davis of Jupiter, Fla., says the study "is a riot." She and husband Joe have four daughters – ages 24, 22, 18 and 16. And while she admits that life with four girls has had its "loud, crazy and chaotic" moments, for the most part, it has been nothing but pleasure.
Responding to the list of four-girl negatives, Davis agrees with a few. The family did have to buy a bigger house – one of the negatives on the Bounty list – and also had some tough family crises, including moving to a new city and a family illness, that made for difficult times for some of her daughters.
But getting ready for school was not the nightmare that it can be for some, because Davis would lay the girls' clothes out the night before. (She does admit to being late to the school bus on more than one occasion.)
While Davis' experience doesn't reflect the study findings, she theorizes that the age range of her girls made a difference. She had the oldest two, and then waited four years to have the younger two.
"I essentially had two and two," says Davis.
Two sets of two daughters. Maybe that's the ultimate formula for family happiness.
Here's the full list -- how does your family rank? What combination of siblings do you think creates the most familial bliss?
Best to worst combinations of siblings, according to British web site Bounty.com:
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