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Who is your favourite child?

6 February
Posted by:
Michael Grose

If you think of your family as a tribe of equals, then think again. If siblings are programmed to fight, then parents are programmed to have a favour one child over the others.

There are many factors at work including temperament, charm, attractiveness and ability. Some children have personality types that you relate to more easily. Gender also plays a significant part when it comes to playing favourites.

Some fathers are extremely hard on their sons, yet their daughters can have them wrapped around their little fingers. That’s the way of families.

In two child families parents will often split their family favouritism, often down gender lines. However, if both kids share the same gender then parents will split favouritism.

In larger families more often than not, it’s a subordinate or later born child who will assume the mantle of parental favourite.

Mothers are most likely to favour their first born sons, while youngest daughters are the most likely to wear the golden child mantle in the eyes of fathers.
There are a number of elements at play here.

I suspect that as fathers are often toughest on their first borns boys than other children, mothers will compensate with added attention, even doting. Mothers often don’t see the same charming princess that dads see when they look at the last born girl.

So what is it that parents find so appealing in their favourites.

Studies show that parents value the attributes in their opposite-sex kids that are associated with their own gender.
Mothers value empathetic, nurturance in a son, while fathers will value knock-about, independent, take-no-prisoners approach in their daughters.

Your kids may not look like you but you’ll appreciate them more if they act like you.

Do you have a favourite child? Who do you favour in your family? Let me know on my Facebook page.

I'll be talking more about family favourites at my Raising Happy Siblings seminars in March.
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