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