Whether they care to admit it or not, your parents have a favorite child. If you confront them about this, they’ll deny it. “We love you all equally,” they’ll say while asking one child to do the dishes as the other cozily watches TV.
As the first-born child, it’s more than likely that you’ll believe your parents prefer your younger sibling. Meanwhile, if you’re the youngest, you’ll probably think that you will never quite equate to your big brother or sister.
To solve the problem, an intricate study has produced evidence to settle the debate once and for all.
The study quizzed 384 siblings, with no more than a four-year age gap between them. Researchers asked these participants a variety of questions to gauge which sibling received preferential treatment.
In one question, they asked the siblings to explain how they felt their parents treated them, and if they sensed any differential treatment. If so, the participants were asked whether or not this affected their confidence.
Along with the teenage siblings, researchers also questioned their parents. Their investigation revealed that a staggering 74% of moms and 70% of dads confessed to having a favorite – we knew it!
However, when it came to the results of the children, there was an unexpected twist…
The results of the study revealed that younger siblings often felt their parents were biased towards the first-born, which in turn knocked their self-esteem because they felt unable to compete.
Meanwhile, the elder sibling was found to have an inflated sense of confidence because they were the first to reach vital life stages – such as graduating from college – and thus they felt superior to their sibling.
During the study, the elder siblings acknowledged that they felt their parents preferred them, which they based on the fact that they’d been the first to succeed in life.
These results surprised Katherine Conger, a member of the University of California’s research team, who conducted the study.
“I was a little surprised,” she said. “Our hypothesis was that older, earlier-born children would be more affected by perceptions of differential treatment due to their status as the older child in the family.”
The results, of course, only the subject of one study and not necessarily the case in every household. Sometimes one sibling has a better relationship with their parents as an adult and ends up becoming the favorite later in life.
The elder sibling isn’t guaranteed to be the family favorite, but it cannot be denied that, at least initially, they hold a stronger affiliation with their parents because they are the first to experience things in life.
But then again mistakes can be made with the upbringing of the eldest child. Parents can enforce what they’ve learned from their first-born onto their following children. Essentially, they can deliver perfection the second time around!
At the end of the day, parents may prefer one child marginally to another. But, unless you’re this prodigy child, there is nothing you can do that will make your parents love you any more than they already do!