As children with siblings, we have often teased our younger brother and sisters about how we are loved more by our parents. While our parents have always denied this, most kids have harboured the feeling that their sibling is the favourite.
Interestingly, A study conducted at the University of California shows that out of the 768 parents surveyed, 70 per cent of mothers and 74 per cent of fathers admitted to having a favourite child.
A total of 384 families were studied; with all participants living in a family with two parents and two children and with children who were born within four years of each other.
While the parents did not specify which child was their favourite, results from the study suggested that it was the older child who was normally preferred.
All children in the study were asked if they felt their parents treated them differently, and whether this affected their self-esteem.
Younger children were more likely to report having low self-esteem caused by their parents’ favouritism than first-born children, suggesting that it is generally older siblings who receive special treatment.
The study was led by Katherine Conger, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of California.
Professor Conger said she was surprised by the results of the study, as she had assumed older siblings would be more likely to feel like they were being treated unfairly.
Our working hypothesis was that older, earlier born children would be more affected by perceptions of differential treatment due to their status as an older child—more power due to age and size, more time with parents— in the family, she added.
Pune365 spoke to a few city parents and children on what they felt about this revelation-
I completely agree to the fact that parents do have a favourite child, but they will never acknowledge the fact, says Deepak Kawde, a Marketing executive.
My brother is four years elder to me and he has been my parents favourite, always. I have always used his old shoes, old clothes and even old books.
It really hurts and impacts the younger child when they see their parents displaying favouritism with their kids. And, the saddest part is that our parents don’t even realise that they are differentiating between my brother and myself, Deepak added.
Shraddha Dhopatkar, Child counsellor says, “Favouritism has a bad impact on kids, they can sense it easily. Kids are immature and adapt to things they hear or learn from their elders. It is also said that the first kid is the most favourite kid in the family –
“They’re given all kinds of special treatment often resulting in the younger one’s low self-esteem. Parents don’t actually differentiate between the kids, but the elder ones needs are always considered the priority”
Trupti More, Housewife says, “We both love our children equally. Every kid is born with different strengths, personalities and weaknesses. I may get along with one real better on one day, but it is with my other child the next day.
The study states that elder kids are more loved by their parents, though, I don’t think we have ever made our second child ever feel insecure about the love we have for him.
Probably, they think this way because the elder one may get things easily and at times when it is demanded by the younger child, it is denied.
However, the fact is that the elder may get something because he needs it or he is mature enough to handle it. Moreover, our kids end up sharing everything, anyway.
We as parents may hurt our kids but both of them are always loved equally, Trupti adds with a smile.