If you ask any parent, they will be quick to say that they do not have a favorite child. When you really press them over the issue, they will likely tell you that they love all of their children equally. At the same time, they will be cuddled up to one child reading a book while the other child cleans up the dinner plates.
If you happen to the be the first-born child, you probably have it in your head that your parents love the younger siblings more than you. On the other hand, if you are the youngest, you probably think that the oldest sibling gets all of the good attention. If you are in the middle, well, that’s another story.
In order to bring peace to the universe, a study was conducted that set out to settle the debate once and for all.
This scientific study called on 384 siblings to answer some questions. In order to take part in the study, there could not be any more than 4 years between them. They were asked a variety of questions to see which of the siblings got the preferential treatment.
One of the questions that were asked was in regards to how they were treated by the parents. They were asked in they sensed any differences in the way the siblings were treated. If they did see an issue, they were then asked if it affected their confidence level.
The parents of these siblings were also questioned. After the smoke cleared and the results were tabulated, they found that some 74% of moms and 70% of dads actually confessed to having a favorite.
The study also came with an unexpected twist when it came to the children.
According to the study, the younger siblings often felt that the parents were biased to the firstborn. This impacted their self-esteem because they felt they couldn’t compete.
On the other hand, the older children had an inflated sense of confidence. This was due to the fact that they reached milestones in life earlier than their siblings.
The older sibling would often admit that the parents had a preference for them. This was based on their ability to succeed in life earlier than their siblings.
Katherine Conger, a member of the University of California’s research team was surprised by the results:
“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.”
Although this may be rather telling, it is only the results of a single study. Different households may yield different results.
If you are the elder sibling, you might not always be the favorite but, overall, the older child will be closer to the parents because they tend to experience things first in life.
They also tend to grow up with the mistakes of the parents. They tend to get the hang of things by the time your siblings are going through the same issues. Things might be better on them for that reason.
At the end of the day, there is not all that much difference between siblings. Unless you have some special gift that makes your parents love you more, you probably are just going to fall in line.