The Long-Lasting Effects of Being a Favorite Child: Consequences of Parental Favoritism

Having a favorite person in our lives is not an uncommon experience. We naturally connect with particular individuals more deeply, and these preferences may change over time.

But when it comes to our own children, is it possible for parents to have a favorite without causing harm?

One individual shared their experiences of growing up with a blatantly favored sibling and the long-lasting effects of parental favoritism.

The Impact of Favoritism

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“My mother, growing up, blatantly favored my older sister and youngest brother. There’s 5 of us kids total, but those 2 just were perfect, and she put them on a pedestal.”

The speaker’s mother showed evident favoritism towards their older sister and youngest brother, treating them differently from the other children.

They were placed in a position of higher importance and received special attention, privileges, and affection, while the rest of the siblings were neglected or treated differently. The youngest brother, being the baby of the family, enjoyed preferential treatment and often escaped accountability for his actions.

Meanwhile, the sister, who had a significant age gap of 14 years, had a different relationship with their mother and was frequently excluded from special mother-daughter activities.

This favoritism created a strong sense of inequality and unfairness among the siblings, leaving the speaker feeling overlooked, undervalued, or less loved by their mother compared to their older sister and youngest brother.

Learned Behavior

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“But the thing is, my mother grew up in a household where her and her siblings uh, were constantly fighting for the favoritism of her parents.”

Favoritism, a learned behavior, can be influenced by parents’ upbringing. The speaker’s mother’s upbringing was characterized by constant sibling rivalry for their parents’ favor.

This environment likely shaped her behavior, perpetuating the cycle of favoritism. In contrast, the speaker’s father grew up in a family where all children were treated equally, suggesting that favoritism is not an inevitable outcome.

Understanding the historical context of the mother’s upbringing provides insight into why favoritism persists within the speaker’s family. By recognizing that favoritism is learned and influenced by upbringing, it becomes possible to break free from this pattern and create a more equitable environment.

The Consequences

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“So parents, we see what you do – when you are blatantly favoring one of our siblings. And if you are wondering why one child doesn’t really talk to you or might see you, you might need to take a look in the mirror.”

Parents may underestimate the profound effects of favoritism, but children possess a remarkable ability to discern the intricate dynamics within their own families.

When parents blatantly favor one sibling over the others, the repercussions can be far-reaching. Such favoritism has the potential to breed resentment, undermine a child’s self-esteem, and strain the once harmonious parent-child relationship.

Parents need to take a hard look at themselves if they notice one child growing distant or disengaged. It serves as a poignant reminder that the consequences of favoritism extend well beyond childhood, permeating and reshaping the long-term dynamics of the entire family unit.

The Importance of Equality

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The video serves as a reminder to parents about the crucial role that fairness and equality play in fostering emotionally healthy children. It acknowledges the difficulty of avoiding personal preferences but emphasizes the significance of making sure no child feels unloved or favored.

By actively cultivating a sense of equity and fostering strong connections among siblings, parents can contribute to the development of solid and supportive relationships that will extend into adulthood.

Comments from the Viewers

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Image Credit: TikTok @alyssajk_326.

The comment section is buzzing with relatable experiences and strong opinions about the favorite child phenomenon. Clearly, the topic strikes a chord and elicits diverse perspectives on the intricacies of parental love and favoritism.

One viewer vents their frustration about parents and in-laws openly favoring certain grandchildren, highlighting how it can be a real source of annoyance.

“I can live with not being the favorite but when my parents and in-laws make it obvious that my kids aren’t the favorite, it pisses me off.”

On the other hand, another viewer passionately defends their stance, asserting that they love their children equally and have different ways of connecting with each based on their unique needs.

“I love my kids equally, I don’t have a favorite. I have 1 that I understand more & 1 that needs me more. Unconditional love for both & they know it”

Interestingly, a controversial statement sparks debate as one person boldly claims that all parents with multiple children have a favorite, triggering mixed reactions from those who strongly disagree.

“I’m a firm believer all parents with multiple children have a favorite. people get really mad when I say it.”

Is Having A Favourite Child Really A Bad Thing?

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Many parents have a favorite child, but this topic is often taboo and not openly discussed. Parental favoritism can be influenced by factors such as shared values and family engagement. Research indicates that up to 74% of mothers and 70% of fathers show preferential treatment towards one child. Parents may favor children who are most like them or represent their ideals of successful parenting. [1]

Younger children are often preferred as parents become more confident in their parenting skills over time. However, this favoritism can cause guilt among parents due to potential impacts on a child’s self-worth. [2]

Despite these concerns, unless favoritism is extreme, it doesn’t significantly affect most children. The key lies in parents managing their children’s perceptions of favoritism effectively.

More from Viral Chatter

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Photo Credit: fickes/Shutterstock.

Growing up in a dysfunctional family can be challenging, often leading children to assume specific roles within the family dynamics.

As described by family therapists Hawkins and Hawkins, these roles shed light on how children adapt to and cope with difficult circumstances.

Whether you were the responsible hero, the scapegoat, the lost child, or the class clown, each role uniquely shaped your childhood.

So, let’s take a closer look at these roles and reflect on your experiences.

Kicked-Out Kids Open Up About Parents Who Send Them Packing at 18

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Image Credit: EILC/Shutterstock.

Turning 18 is a significant milestone in many cultures, marking the transition from adolescence to adulthood. However, in some families, this age also signifies the time for the young adult to leave the family home.

But what drives parents to make such a decision? Here’s a look at the types of parents who might choose this path, based on the shared experiences of various individuals:


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@alyssajk_326#stitch with @raeredd Parents: We see you and how you treat our siblings vs us.
♬ original sound – Alyssa

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.