In an anonymous survey, one in 12 British parents confessed to having a child they like more than their other offspring. Sixty-two percent of parents admitted that they do not give their children equal attention.
The poll surveyed 1,237 parents with at least two children older than the age of three, according to the Daily Mail. The poll also asked children who had siblings about how their parents treated them, and about half said they felt their parent had a favorite child.
Mark Pearson of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, the website that conducted the survey, said, “Most parents agree with the fact that you can’t necessarily give the same amount of attention to all children, only because every child is different.”
Pearson added, “It will always sound insensitive to admit that you have a ‘favorite child,’ but I guess it’s more about sharing more with one than the other.”
Pearson’s theory is corroborated by a 2009 study of 14,000 families in the Bristol area which found that each child after the firstborn received “markedly” less attention and care from their parents than their older siblings. The study also found that older children were better fed and had higher IQs than their younger siblings because their parents gave them their undivided attention early in life. That amount of attention decreases with each subsequent child.
Of course, admitting to having a favorite child isn’t something that parents should advertise, which is exactly what one Canadian father did. Blogger Buzz Bishop unabashedly confessed to liking one of his sons better than the other.
“Yes, I have a favorite son, and I’m not ashamed to admit it,” Bishop said. He then told Good Morning America, “If I were to be absolutely honest, my older son is my favorite of the two.” Bishop was quickly criticized for his comments, but he tried to defend himself by saying, “I don’t play favourites with my children. I don’t … shun my younger son. I may say I like Zacharie a little more, but it doesn’t mean I love Charlie any less.”
The fact that Bishop and others parents have a favorite child shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Psychologists have long believed that parents tend to favor the firstborn child because they have invested so much time and energy into raising them. But actually admitting to it? That’s a different story.
Do you believe your parents had a favorite child? Do you have a favorite?