You don’t always want to admit it, but we all play favorites.
We have a favorite dental hygienist, a favorite bank teller, a favorite boss, a favorite cashier at Foodland. It almost ruins your day to deal with anyone else.
But what about a favorite child?
A recent survey published in Time Magazine shows that parents do have a preference.
About 70 percent of fathers and 65 percent of mothers exhibit a preference for one child over another. For father, it’s often the youngest girl. And for mothers, it’s typically the oldest boy.
Remember: it’s exhibiting a preference. Most parents are pretty good at concealing their bias.
But, according to Jeffrey Kluger, author of the new book, “The Sibling Effect,” deep down you have a favorite.
“It is my belief that 95 percent of the parents in the world have a favorite child, and the other percent are lying,” said Kluger, the father of two daughters, 10 and 8, to TODAYMoms.
And guess who’s left out? The middle child. Research suggests middle-born children — hey, that’s me! — are less likely to be the favorite than oldest or youngest kids.
I know, as kids, we feel like our parents prefer one over the other. My brother got to stay out later than me. My sister had her own room. But I don’t know if it’s that clear cut.
I might have been the annoying youngest daughter — until my sister came along — but now I’m the one who’ll pick up my parents when their Pontiac craps out in Kaneohe.
Certainly I must be the favorite now, right?
Thoughts on this?
I come from a family of 6 children. We all know for a fact the Deb, the second oldest, was the favorite. I don’t know if that affected her later in life but she went on to become head cheerleader, homecoming queen, valedictorian and first to get her undergrad degree. Maybe all that attention gave her more self-confidence? Who knows? We all love her though, no hard feelings. Heck, I favor her over my other siblings! j/k 🙂
I have twin daughters so there was never a time that we favored one over the other. If we did they would always call us on it; “hey not fair”!
That’s interesting that you know who’s the favorite. I wonder if your sister — Deb — knows it, too.
I come from a family of six sibs also. I am the second youngest overall (and youngest boy). My oldest sister who has been the matriarch of the family even when my mother was still alive always kidded me (with a certain amount of realness to her tone) that I was mom’s favorite. She does it in front of all the other sibs as well, who all agree with her… I’ve always been uncomfortable with that.
You were the favorite, huh? I think I’m my mom’s favorite, too, only because we eat together. LOL
According to my sibs I was, but I never saw it that way, LOL!
Hey Cat: … let’s see … I was the youngest and only boy … so yeah, I remember some special treatment and maybe more toys and other stuff … and everyone said I was spoiled … .maybe so …
… but I don’t necessarily think being a little spoiled meant that I was the favorite …
… it’s hard to say without getting it straight from your parents … and most times, they’ll won’t really admit to having a favorite …
… Have a Good One Everyone!!! …
Well, you’re going into the whole birth order discussion. I was the baby for 12 years — so I’ve definitely got that “last child” syndrome. (We’re the best, by the way 🙂 )
Talk about a hot button topic.
As the oldest child, and oldest grandchild on both sides of the family, expectations were high. Then along came a flood of other children in the family, my younger sisters were born and suddenly I was a mere curiosity. It may have had something to do with being born with Peloric Stenosis and nearly dying two days into this nonsense. Perthes Disease followed a few years later https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002244/ and I was in the Forrest Gump get up for a year or so. No, I did not run out of my braces and yes the bullies had a field day with me. As an aside there was no Jenny to sit in trees with etc. Then there was that being the shortest kid in school issue. All I can say is thank God at age 19 I finally had my growth spurt.
Yes, my parents had their favorite and it was my oldest sister. I regularly had to listen to stories about how healthy she was etc etc etc. So did my younger sister. We still love her. But we weren’t too fond of mom and dad during this period. She had the nicest clothes, had her car bought for her, and when she stole mine never got in trouble. And if she told mom or dad you did something to her you got in huge trouble. She knew she had this power and abused it. Frankly I hid from her. Trust me when I say I have issues with diva chicks to this day.
Don’t expect the favorite to ever not be the favorite. It NEVER changes. Nor does anyone forget you were born with oddball medical issues. Or that you were 5’9″ and weighed 138 lbs at high school graduation. It does not matter that a year later you grew to 6’2″ and 176 lbs of solid muscle. Or that you are now 55 and healthy as a horse, and as strong as one too. You are always the sickly skinny little kid. It is odd in a way but really a lesson in disguise. It was a really good way for me to learn to have an open mind, to see potential in people, and allowing them to grow into that potential.
Hey, I am not bitter. Just calling it the way it was. Call me lucky, my son lives with me and he is all I have to focus on. And as a single dad I am holding off on looking for that special someone until he gets to around 16 or so. Kids respond well to feeling like they are number one. You just have to trust me on this one.
I wonder if your sister knew she was the favorite — or if she thought differently. It’s all about perspective, you know. I remember thinking my brother was the favorite because my mom would always pull out steaks whenever he would come over. But I failed to notice that she did that for all of us. I was so focused on what HE was getting, I didn’t notice what I was getting, too.
Frankly I think she spent her teenage years so outrageously stoned she’d have to ask around to find out what she was up to 🙂 Not that that was a good thing, it was just her thing.
It is a perspective thing. As the boy in the family I suppose I did have more freedom than my two sisters did. There is likely something to be learned there. I had more freedom and never was rebellious. They had less and rebelled like crazy. Funny how that works!
Hello Cat, I have 2 younger brothers and my parents depend on me more than my brothers maybe because I’m the oldest, don’t know if that makes me the favorite one. I favor my daughter a little more than my son I think for the same reason as my parents did to me.
I think fathers tend to favor daughters… I’m not sure why. But I’ve heard of mothers getting jealous of their daughters because of the attention they get from their fathers. It’s a strange dynamic, but it happens.
I was easily the favorite. of course, I was also an only child, so it would have been troubling if I wasn’t favored.
with my kids, though, I can’t say that I have a favorite (yet). my son is six and he’s just a neat little kid. good athlete, smart (although his academic strong points don’t line up with mine…he’s good with languages and sucks at math). kind of a knucklehead, really, but in a good way.
my daughter is only one, so, of course, there is a fair amount of attention that has been paid to her the past year. she’s also the only girl on my wife’s side of the family so she’s been showered with adoration. she’s also a neat little kid with a strong personality and very playful.
looking forward, since I’m mostly sports and outdoors oriented, I can see how my son would become my favorite, but my daughter is such a cool little chica that I’ll happily sit though girly stuff just to watch her.
maybe repost this in about five years and I’ll have a better grasp on who gets written out of the will.
I love your opening line. Made me smile!
My parents had no favorites among thier five children. I have no favorite between my own two children. I doubt that my children have a favorite parent.
Hey, that’s a great twist on this blog: do we have a favorite parent! I know I do! LOL!
Yep. My middle brother totally got the shaft–I was my dad’s favorite, my baby brother was my mom’s. My daughter has nothing to worry about since, as an only child, she’ll always be the favorite.
You would be my favorite, too, Heidi! 🙂
Both of my kids are young adults and I know that they favor me over their mom, my ex. They don’t even call or visit her and when they do they argue the whole time.
I didn’t think about kids having favorites, too. Good point.
There were definite favorites in my family. Rather than birth order or gender, I think the cause was personality. I gave my parents the least amount of grief and was self-motivated and thoughtful enough to receive their constant good graces. My siblings, on the other hand, were not so nice and although they sometimes got more attention, it was not the warm and fuzzy kind. Now that we’re older, you can really see the differences in the nature and depth of the relationships more clearly. I hope not to play favorites with my own, but only time will tell.
I agree. It does come down to personality. And similar interests. I get along with my mom because we both like food and gorging on it. So we get along. 🙂
I still haven’t fully processed what this means; but, when he was little, my younger brother once asked my mom, “why do you love me more than my brothers?” That being said, I think my parents did a good job hiding which one of us is their favorite… to this day, they just call us their “three princes”. lol.