5 signs you have a favorite child

Younger child gets away with more

When older siblings complain about a “spoiled” youngest sibling, it might be time to look at your parenting.

The youngest child has always had a reputation for always getting what he or she wants—and sometimes the reputation is earned. If your other children complain that the youngest sibling gets everything his or her way, this is a good tip-off that you might have a favorite and can lead to your older children becoming resentful.

References

  1. Psychology Today. The Favorite Child.
  2. The Gerontologist. The Role of Violated Caregiver Preferences in Psychological Well-Being When Older Mothers Need Assistance.

Comments

  1. I think that all those “moms” that are commenting on this page are just being immature and over reacting, u guys need to calm the f**k down. and if its negative stuff that ur thinking about this sh*t, then keep it to ur self or go tell ur “wonderful” husbands about how ur “so raged” about this little thing. Didn’t YOUR parents teach you ” if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all”
    Ya that’s what I thought ????☺️☺️☺️

    Reply
  2. I have two, the older a boy, the younger a girl. They BOTH use to accusing me of loving the other more. I honestly never felt that way and use to tell them I loved them differently but not more either way. I adored my son because he was my first and adored my girl because she was the tiny baby I always wanted.

    Even now that they are in their 30’s my daughter STILL accuses me of loving her brother more. I try to do more with my daughter and now live 15 minutes from her but she never has time to do anything, she had 4 children of her own and they have a VERY busy life. I am welcome every Sunday for dinner and love the time I get to spend with them. She insists I’m to always call before coming over. Her dad, my ex bought a larger home to accommodate her ever growing family. When he put the last house on the market I was surprised, I said why are you selling? He said, I need a bigger place, she keeps having babies, so he bought a 6 bedroom. Her husband works and she home schools so he is a full time grampa, he loves it.

    When I said I was moving here she said, you can’t move here. She said if I live here I would be the mum and she couldn’t be the mum anymore. I have kept my distance to let her know I have NO intention of being the “mum”, I’m the gramma and I like it this way, I did my time. lol

    It has been almost two years since moving here, I mentioned once that I should move to the coast, it’s 4 hrs away, I use to live 9 hrs away. She said, oh sure you come here to be closer to your grandchildren and you now want to move away? I said, well it’s only 4 hrs away, technically I could come every weekend even if I do move away. I’ll just continue to test the waters for a couple of more years before I make up my mind. She has come around a bit recently so maybe she is getting use to me being around again. My son would love to move here to be near us all but his job is 9 hrs away and just no decent jobs here for him.

    Our son has said, she looks after there dad so he will look after me when the time comes I need looking after. Her dad actually looks after her and her family more than they look after him at this point but should the time come she would definitely look after him, just as he looked after his mom and his stepdad until they died. Our children were lucky, they had his parents there right after they finished high school and I had left.

    As for the grandchildren, the two younger ones, 2 & 7 adore me, but that makes sense being I’ve been around for pretty much all of the youngest one’s life and since the other was 5, the two older are 9 & 12, they have recently become more affectionate and hug me without being told to hug me when I arrive. lol The 12 yr old is a boy and now towers over my 5’1″ frame, he quite likes that he is so much taller than gramma and now his mum who is 5’4. lol

    My son inlaw is finally getting use to me being around, I think he wasn’t so sure about me for a while. Makes me wonder what sort of view my daughter gave them before I moved here. She doesn’t remember her dad and I being married, she was 4 when I moved out with her but she had her dad every single weekend while I worked a second job. Our son had stayed with his dad, we gave them the choice. It would have been very hard to leave them both but a couple of years later I moved with her to his new military base, she was missing him and had tried to move with him but then she missed me so it was the only solution.

    Here I go rambling again, is it obvious I live alone? LOL

    Reply
  3. I think it’s important to note that, based on your above comments, you can safely answer “No” to this question.
    Congratulations!
    However, that doesn’t mean the points made in this article aren’t a valid way of determining whether or not a parent has a “favorite child.”
    Of COURSE younger/-est children are treated differently for a number of reasons.
    You’ve given excellent & valid examples of this in your comments above.
    Here’s an example of when it’s done to the children’s detriment:
    “A” (names withheld for purposes of privacy) took her 5 & 7 year-old sons (“B” & “C”, respectively) to the zoo.
    We used the occasion to celebrate C’s 7th birthday.
    We boarded the double-decker tour bus for a zoo tour.
    C wanted to sit on the lower level.
    B wanted to sit on the upper.
    A sided with B, & led the way to the almost-empty upper level.
    Seeing the excitement in C’s eyes dim slightly at not getting to sit on the lower level, I offered to take him downstairs & sit with him.
    A said absolutely not, & told C to quit acting like a baby.
    I pointed out to C how empty the upper level was, & how fun that we had it almost all to ourselves & could sit wherever we wanted!
    B chose a seat on the left.
    C chose a seat on the right.
    Both boys told A, “Sit with me, Mom!”
    A (predictably) began to move towarC B, whereupon C said, louder, “No, Mom, sit with me! This dude’s better!”
    B & C continued begging A to sit, with them, voices escalating, until A shouted:
    “Enough!”
    Then turned toward C &, annoyed, again told him to “Quit acting like a Baby!”
    A turned to sit with B, & C, lower lip quivering, quietly implored A:
    “No, Mom, you always sit with him. Please, sit with me. It’s my birthday.”
    Visibly torn, A turned back to B & said:
    “C’s right. Mommy’s going to sit with C ‘ cause it’s his birthday.”

    Reply
      1. I agree!! and you know what else, the kids know it too! He knew consciously or not that moving back and forth would cause a ruckus and his mom would move him close. There is so much tension between that triad and I feel for the mom- she is trying to keep it together but her idea of fairness is unrelated to the reality of the situation and her lack of setting limits creates resentment in the older child who is minimized and anxiety in the younger child who doesn’t get a direct and stern message across from his mom.

        Reply
  4. It took me a while to realize that ‘younger child gets away with more’ is part of the list. I kept thinking that I’d been directed to the wrong page. The youngest child gets different treatment for a whole list of well known reasons, and favortism isn’t generally one of them. Parents are more relaxed….tired…..have older siblings to help out….etc.
    I get the feeling that the ‘author’ of this article doesnt have kids.
    I see NO reason to read any further. What a waste of time this was.

    Reply
    1. Yes, that’s true. There are plenty of everyday reasons why we act differently towards one child vs the other, but I think when taken in conjunction what the author noted you get a different picture. Also, if the parent is coming up with reasons that are unrelated to the child’s discipline as to why they are going against the grain or doing things different from what they would like or what they did with the first born, then it’s also time to re-evaluate the parenting style. Because, parenting, as a discipline cannot be a result of reactions to our day to day emotions- it is based on morals, and wishes for our children as they are now and as they grow up. I agree, we can be more relaxed as we get better practice at parenting- but again, if you only read the first page of five you miss the entire story.

      Reply
  5. No, I believe it is just that they have been through parenting once already, so they’re more lenient towards the next offspring. I am the second oldest child of five.

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  6. I am the youngest child of five and have five children myself. I was accused of being “favored,” but when each of my siblings got married under 20 and I was left “home alone” who was there to drive my mother to doctors when needed? She was diagnosed with staph infection in her bone marrow after 5 surgeries in 2.5 years. I was a mere 17.5 when she had her last surgery. I helped my shy sister plan her wedding and making every dress for the three brides maids, flower girl, and my mother. Also, doing the shopping, taking care of a huge garden and canning 1000 quarts of fruits and vegetables all by myself that summer when I was 17. I have been accused of “favoring” our youngest son, but I have to tell my older children that I have learned over the years and am wiser now. There is safety in numbers. The older ones couldn’t go to the park alone, but when there are five…sure! Older children get the privilege of driving…they take the younger one places, not because the younger one is favored, but because they are serving the parent to take the younger one like the mom did for them. Now, my own five are 25-33. They no longer claim I favor him…they also have grown wiser.

    Reply
    1. It sounds like you sacrificed a lot of what would be the “funner” years of your late teens and early 20’s to help your family in their times of most need. Your family is very lucky to have such a devoted family member. Sometimes, there is some comfort with the younger one, that keeps the parents closer to them. Once the other siblings have grown up and you can still cuddle with the littlest one is very rewarding. Also, I see a good point you made- falling into the “it’s not fair” trap can be dangerous and how you raise one child in that circumstance is and will be for the most part different than how you raise the rest of the children. I think it’s a balancing act of letting all children feel respected, integral part of the family.

      Reply
  7. How silly. A mother (oh how retro-Freudian) is unfairly accused of something, for instance favoring a younger sibling because younger sib is at a different developmental stage than a many years older former only child. By the very act of explaining this rational reality she is immediately and without discussion deemed to be most certainly guilty of favoritism because her attempt to enlighten and prevent further hurt feelings cannot possibly be taken at face value. She is, after all, a mother and thereby the root of all evil no matter what she does or does not do in each and every situation, real or imagined.

    Reply
    1. Wow! I feel what you are saying, but I think that the author’s idea has been minimized to a degree. I don’t think she meant that at all. A “good enough” mom definitely should treat the younger sibling based on his/her developmental stage, you are totally right about that. BUT, the parent who allows the younger sibling to do as he/she pleases and uses the “but he’s so little, he doesn’t understand” rationale ALL the time, runs the risk of two things: one devaluing the child’s level of intelligence and capability to act correctly in given circumstances and grow from each circumstance and two- side with the younger one thereby neglecting the older sibling’s desires, wishes, feelings, autonomy, freedom, whatever is at stake there. I think that yes you are right to treat each child at their developmental level is crucial for their growth, and I don’t think that the author would negate that. By the way, this can be said of anything- because one is a boy vs a girl, one is older than the rest of the siblings- it begins in the mother’s fantasies about what rights and privileges each child should have and can end in creating some resentment between siblings.

      Reply

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