Parents admit to favouritism - survey

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Home Alone stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister. Most of his relatives either ignore him, ridicule him, bully him or accuse him of being a troublemaker.

London - Of course, it’s what many of us have suspected all along. But it seems there’s every chance your parents really did have a favourite child.

In an anonymous survey, 62 percent of British parents revealed that they did not give their children equal attention.

About eight percent said they had a child who they treated differently because they were their favourite.

Over a quarter of those who admitted having a favourite said that it was an older child who they felt they could do “more things” with.

The most common reason for having a favourite was because parents felt they had a “stronger bond” with the child (42 percent), while 13 percent said it was because their other child or children misbehaved more.

Of those who confessed they did not give their children equal attention, 45 percent claimed it was because they had “different needs”, while a fifth said it was simply because they saw their children for different amounts of time.

The poll, which involved 1,237 parents with at least two children aged three or over, also asked those who had siblings about how their own parents had treated them.

Nearly half said they felt that their parents had a favourite child when they were younger.

Mark Pearson of shopping discount website MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, which carried out the research, 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.

“It will always sound insensitive to admit that you have a ‘favourite child’ but I guess it’s more about sharing more with one than the other.”

In 2009, a study of 14,000 families in the Bristol area that found that each successive sibling received “markedly” less care and attention from their parents than their older siblings.

Older siblings were found to be better fed and had higher IQs because they were given their parents’ undivided attention for the first part of their lives.

Psychologists have suggested that older children are often favoured because of the Darwinian logic that first-born children absorb a lot of time – and parents believe that once they have invested so much in a child they might as well carry on.

American science writer Jeffrey Kluger published a book about siblings that claimed parental favouritism is hardwired in the human psyche. In The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, he wrote: “It is my belief that 95 percent of the parents in the world have a favourite child, and the other five percent are lying.” - Daily Mail

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