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Science confirms the truth: parents really do have a favourite child

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No matter where you land in the family pecking order: oldest, middle or youngest child, it’s likely you've always had a sneaking suspicion that your parents have a favourite.

Did a sibling always get let off easier than you, growing up? Were there always more chips on their plate? More sprinkles on their ice cream?

Well, it turns out that the rumours are true; your parents did, and probably still do, have a favourite child.

Science has confirmed it.

In a study carried out by sociologist Katherine Conger, researchers asked 384 groups of adolescent siblings whether or not they felt their parents preferred one child over another, and how that has affected their self-esteem.

The primary findings of the study revealed that the eldest child most commonly feels that they are they favourite, due to a combination of factors including first-born status, and the increased power that comes with age and a lifetime spent paving the way.

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The youngest siblings reported that they often felt the least appreciated, and were regularly on the receiving end of stricter rules as a result of mistakes made by their older brothers or sisters.

But while that’s all very interesting, here’s the part that’s really grabbing headlines.

After talking to the siblings, researchers also asked the respective parents for their perspective on the feedback.

Although all parents agreed that they would never reveal the information to their children, they did confirm to the researchers that they may have treated one child a little better than the rest.

An incredible 74 per cent of mothers and 70 per cent of fathers admitted to giving preferential treatment to one child over the others. Which as we can all deduce, equates to having a favourite.

So, there you go.

 

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