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Are You The Favorite Child? Here's How To Tell

By dadcamp |

favorite childSo there has been a lot of talk around the internet this week about parents and favorite kids.

I wrote about the preference I have in my life (Admit it. You Have A Favorite Child, I Do.), and the web went wild.

My assertion is that all parents have a favorite child, even if they won’t admit it. It’s true you have a preference between your kids, just as your parents have preferences between you and your brothers and sisters.

Sure, you all might not write about it on the internet, but it will eventually come out. As a study from Purdue University found, there is a time when every parent must choose.

As the generation of baby boomers grow old ahead of us, soon it will be our responsibility to go back and take care of our aging parents. And unless you’re the favorite child looking after mom, there will be added stress in her life.

Researchers interviewed mothers, and 75% of them were willing to name the child that they wanted to care for them when they got old. Then the researchers checked back seven years later to see what happened.

The moms that were saddled with a child who wasn’t their first choice had higher levels of stress, were more depressed, and had more sleep problems.

“This matters because it makes people comfortable, and this is especially important when people are under a lot of stress and in situations where they relinquish control to another person,” Suitor says. “And who do you want to give up control to? To someone who has the same outlook on life and who you think is very much like you, and, therefore, can respond to your needs and be a source of reassuring support.”

For example, one of the moms in the study said that her preferred caregiver, who lives far away, was her preference because they “can talk about anything. I think she understands me best.” And while the mom acknowledged the daughter caring for her was helpful and reliable, she couldn’t talk with her as openly. She “would get annoyed with me. Although, she’s my rock here because she’s the one that’s here.”

Parents have favorites. You may deny wanting to make the choice public in the way I did, but it will come out sooner or later.

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Read more at DadCAMP or The Blog According to Buzz.

Get more DadCAMP on Kid Scoop:

The Time When My Girlfriend Got Pregnant
Admit It. You Have A Favorite Kid, I Do.
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Image Credit iStockPhoto


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About dadcamp



DadCAMP is Buzz Bishop, a dad, broadcaster, writer, and runner from Calgary, Alberta. When not working the mic on XL103, or wrangling his two boys, he's always training for another Team Diabetes marathon somewhere in the world. Read bio and latest posts → Read Buzz's latest posts →

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9 thoughts on “Are You The Favorite Child? Here's How To Tell

  1. Christine.Coppa says:

    My fave kid is JD.

  2. AliaAtreidesBr says:

    There is one thing, though: usually the daughters get to care for parents. I don’t know if it’s just an impression I have, or if there’s any truth in it. In my country – I’m from Brazil – it’s very unusual for the male children to have parents living with him in old age. Don’t know if something similar happens in North America. That said, I guess many parents don’t end up with their favorites… Is that sad? I don’t know. Maybe it’s an important opportunity people have to get closer and appreciate more a child that they didn’t have the chance of knowing and spending much time with.

    I have a friend whose grandmother has always seemed to favor her two sons. They were always the most smart and obedient of her children. They are also wealthy and have great wives and children. However, although they help with money and visit her a few times every month, it’s her daughter who cares for her every day. This daughter of hers has caused many problems in her youth, but now has a job and a child, and turned out to be a responsible adult. My friend, whose father is the son of that elder woman, says that her aunt has been great, and now her grandmother is finally able to appreciate her daughter. They now have a relationship. I think it’s a great example of how life is full of unexpected blessings, if only you know how to look. Not getting your way might be a good thing, sometimes.

    Thanks for the article, it’s good information.

  3. Allyssa says:

    I don’t think this study means the child that you pick as you wanting to take care of you in your old age is your “favorite child”. I mean, between me and my 2 sisters, I’m the most responsible, most educated, most organized, most dependable, most able to juggle life, etc, so I would think my parents might choose me as the one they want to take care of them (please don’t!!), but we don’t get along at all, and I’m pretty sure they don’t consider me their favorite…though, in all honesty, my parents aren’t the type to put that information out there. So, I just don’t see how the study necessarily supports your assertion that every parent has a favorite.

  4. Elaine says:

    Picture this – you arr coming home from mexico on a plane – and before you board, your younger sister texts you to come straight to the hospital because Dad is dying.She’s been with him all week while you played, and yet he says to her – ‘I am waiting for my ‘Numbef 1 daughter to get here’ -; then he gets morphine. And Finally, I rush thru the hospital door to his bedside where mh 3 younger siblings stand , he squeezes my hand hard – and he dies within hours.

    parents: Don’t ever call someone your number one or number two or three child.We are left with our siblings. Of course I wanted to be the favorite on some level . Most levels. Until then.

  5. sofar says:

    Wow, Elaine. Tearing up. My god. While I do think it’s normal and OK for parents to have a favorite, I think they have to be careful about saying it…writing it down…being blatant. I had a tumultuous relationship with my mom growing up, while my sis was more…easy going…and loveable. I know deep down my sis was always probably the “favorite.” But if I were to find something my mom had written down calling my sis her favorite, my heart would break a little, I admit. I guess it would depend on how old I was when she wrote it. If I were still a baby, I could chalk it up to me not having much of a personality yet. But if she wrote something like that when my sis and I were a bit older…it would hurt.

  6. Phil says:

    I don’t know. I am certain I am the least liked of all my siblings. I am the middle child between an older brother and a younger sister. The actions of my parents make it really obvious that they don’t like me much. Of course they love me. I’m their child and I don’t think anyone really allows themselves to admit that they don’t love their child, but they don’t like me much. I would rather hear them actually admit to that. It would clear up a lot of confusion. I don’t want a reason (or reasons) why they don’t like me. That would be too harsh I think. I mean, we meet people everyday, some we like, some we don’t. We don’t always have a reason why we don’t like someone. Why should it be different for parents and children. Just tell me you don’t particularly like me being around, and let me go on with my life. I’m not scarred because of the lack of affection from my parents. I consider myself to be rather successful in life. For a time, I really wanted to hear my parents tell me they were proud of me. But that has never, and probably will never happen. I would just like some honesty in the relationship.

  7. Marilyn says:

    I believe taking the view of “having a favorite child” is oversimplifying the complexities of human relationships. Every person has strengths and weaknesses to bring to the table in any given instance. Parents (adults) picking a favorite is a kin to a fifth grade popularity contest. It shouldn’t happen. Children should be allowed the freedom to develope into the personality type to which they were born not controlled by “Conditional Love”.We should revel in the differences and uniqueness of each individual and not try to create little “Mini MEs”.Each of my four children is a “Superstar” in my book. Picking a favorite is disfuncional parenting.
    As for picking a Care giver in your golden years; that includes multiple factors such as; financial security, availability, prior responsibilities, activity and stress level of houshold as well as number of family members and even pets in household, and how about the proximity and availability of quality health care for that area. Come on guys were not supposed to be BFFs we’re supposed to be a FAMILY.
    I learned a great philosophy from a friends Mother, Maxine. On any given day, no matter what the circumstances, when asked about her children her standard response was,”They are the Joy of my life.” and she meant all of them.
    Kudos Maxine!

  8. Xaaaaaaraaaaaaa says:

    I don’t think every parent has a favorite child, but I do think some parents feel closer or more alike one child than another. I don’t necessarily consider that being a “favorite” automatically. Because some parents favor the child that is nothing like them, but maybe what they wish they could have been like. For instance, I have a friend who is the favorite child and it’s because she was super popular and her mom was kinda bookwormish/social outcast. So her mother poured everything into her (the mom married her wealthy dad, so they could spoil my friend and her brother in a way that my friend’s mom didn’t experience). I have another friend who had a mom who was popular and my friend was kinda eccentric and her mother favored her because she was really academic and focused (her mom was only focused on winning the cheerleading competition when she was growing up). So, the whole favorite things gets overplayed. Just my opinion.

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