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Parents Tend to Prefer the Youngest Child, According to Survey


The favorite child debate is one that all families have had. If you ask Mom or Dad, the answer is always: “You’re all my favorite.” Put the question to Grandma or Grandpa and they say, “Each one is my favorite in different ways.” And according to the kids, it’s any sibling but them. So who really is the family favorite? A new survey confirms what all older siblings have long suspected: Parents and grandparents favor the youngest child.

In a survey on the online forums Mumsnet and Gransnet, websites for advice on raising and dealing with kids and grandkids, 1,185 Mumsnet users and 1,111 Gransnet users (Gransnet users had to have at least one grandchild), nearly a quarter of all moms and roughly 42 percent of all grandparents admitted that they preferred one child or grandchild over the others. Of the parents who said they were partial to one child, more than half — 61 percent — revealed that their youngest was the favorite. Only 26 percent of parents indicated that their favorite was the eldest.

So why does a parent develop favorites? While we truly love our kids in different ways, 41 percent said the favorite child was the one who reminded the parent of himself or herself. More than half of parents who copped to favoring one child said their favorite offspring made them laugh more than the other kids.

That said, more than half of the surveyed parents and grandparents held the opinion that playing favorites was wrong and even detrimental to the health of their little ones.

“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 Gransnet founder Justine Roberts. “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.”

One thing all parents can agree on is how cute the baby peach butt trend is!

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