Having a favourite child isn’t as unusual as you think 2

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It turns out most parents have a favourite child.

It is generally said that most parents love all their children equally.

Sure there are ups and downs, like with any relationship, but at the end of the day most parents like to think they treat their kids equally and love them just the same.

Well, this is the perception anyway.

It turns out that we’re not as ‘love friendly’ as we thought. A study by the University of California has found that the majority of parents — a whopping 74 in fact — favour one child over the other.

Researchers found that 74 per cent of mothers have a favourite child, while 70 per cent of fathers say they favour one over the other.

But how could this be? When we talk about this issue, most parents say they are shocked by these results and that they can’t imaging loving one child more than the other.

But if the data is anything to go by most of these parents are telling a tall one.

While some mothers and fathers have admitted, behind closed doors, to having a favourite child it’s not something many would walk down the street shouting about.

It seems there are plenty of parents who feel this way, they’re just not talking about it. Why is that though? It’s one thing not to mention it to your children, for obvious reasons, but people don’t even talk about it with their close friends and family.

The idea that we would have a favourite is the kind of taboo topic that causes people to brand each other as ‘bad parents’ – something many of us spend a lifetime trying to avoid.

With so much naming and shaming going on out there these days, especially thanks to the internet, he last thing anyone would want is an angry pack of online commenters coming after them for admitting their preference.

What might come as a surprise to many parents is that their children usually know who the favourite is and who is coming in second best.

Professor Dalton Conley, head of social sciences at New York University, says kids easily pick up on the subtitles and are well aware of who is the top dog in the sibling department.

This is a thought that horrifies parents who would hate for their children to think they played favourites between them. Unfortunately though it’s all too common. When thinking back to our own childhood, many might remember having an inkling their parents favoured on sibling over the other.

Although many parents have a favourite child, it does not mean they are bad parents. These mums and dads would still do anything for any of their children. They still love them all tremendously and would go above and beyond for any of them.

They just happen to feel closer with one more than the other. This doesn’t make them a bad person. It just makes them human. To reassure people a little more, doctors say we can’t always love everyone equally, as much as we might like to try to.

Where do you stand on this issue?

Do you have a favourite child? Did you feel like your parents had a favourite?

Starts at 60 Writers

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