Study suggests that the youngest sibling tends to be parents' favourite child

Headlines 15/08/2019

It's an age old debate, do parents have a favourite child? And if so, which one is it?

We've all heard about the classic "middle child" yarn where a lot of middle children feel hard done by and neglected in comparison to their siblings, but a new study may partly confirm those fears, suggesting that parents tend to favour the youngest sibling.

The Independent reports that last year,  "Mumsnet conducted a survey of 1,185 of its users that are parents, while Gransnet carried out a survey of 1,111 of its users that had at least one grandchild."

Over half of the parents who admitted to having a favourite child, also admitted to it being their youngest, with 61% claiming that the other children were more "tricky or demanding".

"Of the parents who confessed to having a preferred child, 41 per cent stated that the favourite reminded them of themselves, while more than half said that the child made them laugh more than their other offspring."

In fairness, more than half of the parents and grandparents surveyed believed that favouritism amongst children is "awful."

“Favouritism is one of the last taboos and can provoke a lot of guilt, so it’s important to say that feeling a greater affinity for a particular child - often, whichever one is willing to put their shoes on - is fairly common, and doesn’t have to be disastrous,” said Justine Roberts, founder of Gransnet.

“Toxic favouritism, where siblings become aware of being treated unfairly over the long term, is a whole other ball game.

“The distilled Mumsnet wisdom on this issue is that lots of parents like their children differently: the crucial thing is to love them all wholly."