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Family dynamics

08th May 2018

Turns out the youngest child really IS is often the ‘favourite’

Are you guilty of favouring one child over another?

Anna O'Rourke

If you’ve ever felt that your parents favoured your younger brother or sister over you, prepare to feel vindicated.

If you’ve ever noticed yourself going a little easier on your own younger child as a parent, however, prepare to feel guilty.

A study which looked at how parents are perceived to treat their children differently has produced some interesting findings.

Researchers Susan M. McHale and Alexander C. Jensen concluded that younger siblings tend to be the favourite largely because they see themselves as the favourite.

McHale and Jensen “anticipated that youth who perceived themselves as favoured would develop better relationships with their mothers and fathers” and they “expected that these patterns would be stronger for secondborns,” according to the study.

“In all four models when secondborns perceived themselves as favoured in terms of receiving less discipline, both mothers and fathers reported more positive relationships,” it stated.

The research points to a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy whereby younger children who believe they’re the favourite get on better with their parents and are more likely to actually become the favourite.

Via research, we know that birth order can affect more than just a child’s relationship with their parents.

Being the eldest, youngest or middle child can also impact on things like your personality, love life, bank balance and even your driving skills.