95% of us have a favourite grandchild… and the rest are lying about it 141



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Talking to my own grandmother today made me realise, that even in her 90s, she still has her favourites. As my last remaining grandparent, she of course is my favourite, but the same can’t be said for me! Ever since I was a child, I remember my cousins getting presents and attention from Grandma, but never my brother and I. She would visit them on occasions outside of Christmas and Easter and I’d often wonder why.

Well, studies have now shown that grandparents do in fact have favourite grandkids, and they’re lying to ourselves if they say they don’t.

According to psychologist Professor Peter Smith, of London’s Goldsmiths University, while grandparents generally say they are equally close to all grandchildren, research shows they are, in fact, closer to their daughters’ children than their sons.

But why? “The first is that mothers tend to be closer to their daughters and the second is that of paternity,” he told the Huffington Post.

“Certainly they can be sure that their daughters’ children are theirs, but they can’t be quite so sure with their sons’ children. They may not be consciously aware that this is an issue but it factors in research studies”.

The study in question was research conducted around how genes are passed down and how that correlates to how close we are with our grandchildren.

A woman passes around 31 per cent of her genes to her son’s daughters but just 23 per cent to her son’s sons – suggesting a protective effect for the grandchildren they are most closely related to.

Dr Urban Friburg, of the University of California, and colleagues, said grandparents can “differentially care” for grandchildren based on both their gender and their lineage, reports the Telegraph.

And in a Body and Soul article, US journalist Jeffrey Kluger said, “95 per cent of parents in the world have a favourite child – and the other five per cent are lying through their teeth”. He adds that everyone should stop feeling guilty about this because apparently we are all hard-wired to have a favourite.

It is a debate that has been longstanding in society and a quick Google search shows many mums searching the internet for answers to questions like, “Does anyone else have grandparents who have favourite grandchildren?” and are followed up with pages and pages of comments and discussions about situations deemed as favouritism.

Whether it is right or wrong to have favourites among grandchildren seems rather black and white, but whether it is right to play favourites is another thing. Grandparents.com suggests that grandparents should ask their children if they are playing favourites by asking point blank “Am I playing favourites?”, and take on board their feedback carefully.

But what if they tell you that you are? Would you modify your behaviour? How important is a balanced relationship with your family to you?

So today, we want to open this for discussion. Do you feel closer to one or more of your grandchildren? And if so, do you keep it to yourself?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I have seven gorgeous grandchildren i hope I am not playing favourites I try hard not to, but some time it is hard to that them all the same!!

  2. Its not about favouring, its about access. I have had more hands on access with my daughters children.
    My sons daughters are beautiful but his partner lived away when they seperated.

  3. I feel that I can favour the younger because of ‘antics’ that make me laugh…I do have a serious NON favourite and this one is favoured by his mum (my daughter) he will bully his siblings and get away with it time n time again….my grandfather had his first grandchild as a NON favourite….he always said ‘here comes boofhead!). …guess the article says something

  4. I just can’t understand how people can have favourites. I don’t have a favourite child, or grandchild. I love them all to bits!

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  5. We only see one of the 6 regularly, as the others live interstate. Of course he is a bit more special. But they are all special, especially when we have time with them.

  6. I certainly don’t believe that or feel that way, I have 4 Grandchildren and 4 Step Grandchildren and love them all the same, I don’t know where this information has come from but I don’t BELIEVE it.

  7. I think it’s more about the relationship you have with the child’s mother. My daughter and I of course have a bond so when she needs advice or is feeling the need for time out she comes to me to look after the kids. My daughter in law does the same with her mother. Yes. Do see more of my daughters children I’ve had more access to them bonds have formulated between us. My sons children have more access to there mothers mother she has special bonds with them. I do know my daughters children more Than my sons as I’ve spent much more time with them helping her out. Over all it all balances out anyway between the both of grandparents

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    • Agree. Plenty of research that backs you. I’m very lucky to have a daughter in law I get on really well with and so see my granddaughter lots. But I love my grandchildren equally.

  8. I have 5 grandchildren ranging in age from 23 down to just coming up 4; my grandchildren are ALL treated the same. I don’t believe in favouring one child over another. I will shortly have my first great-granddaughter; and she will bring her own special little traits; and I will love her just the same as the others.
    Love each and everyone the same.

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