Most Parents Have A Favourite Child

Have A Favourite Child? (Oh, Please...)
13 April 2016

So which one's your favourite child, then?

Seriously, is anyone else bored of this so-called story? I feel like we've already posted about this several times before but still the 'Parents have favourites' headline gets rolled out relentlessly.

Its latest incantation comes in the form of a new study which 'reveals' that 70% of mums and 74% of dads who have more than one child, prefer one over the other.

The Independent reports:

The parents did not specify which child was their favourite, but results from the study suggest it is the older child who is normally preferred. All children in the study were asked if they felt their parents treated them differently, and whether this affected their self-esteem.

Unsurprisingly, the poor kiddos in question reported an impact on their self-esteem from feeling that an older sibling was the favourite child.

Is it just me who thinks this, or does it seem as though we've forgotten that one of the first rules of good parenting is NOT to favour one child over an another? When did it become considered ok to do so, never mind alright to freely admit to something which has the potentially to be so damaging for a child?

I'm going to stick my neck out and say that if you have a 'favourite' child, it might be time to get some support with family life.

Yes, it's perfectly natural to have a child whose temperament most closely matches yours and whom you thus have a particularly easy relationship with.

It's even ok, I think, to acknowledge that one child's age or stage of development can make that child particularly easy or enjoyable to be with compared to his or her siblings.

My youngest is still in that delightful toddler stage where all she really wants to do is please and impress the ones she loves, so she's obedient, obliging and beautifully well-behaved 99.9% of the time. But that's not ground for singling out as my favourite or for treating her differently from her siblings.

To do would obviously be unfair and potentially very damaging to her siblings but I don't think it would do her any favours in the long run, either. Being the 'favourite' child in the family can theoretically be as difficult and pressured as being the non-favourite.

But we'd love to hear your views on this. What do you think of studies that continually suggest that most parents have a favourite child? Do you agree, or do you think the data just keeps getting wheeled out because it makes for a good headline? And DO you have a favourite child? We'd love to hear your views either in the comments or over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parenting Tips


  • Leona B.

    I have 2 beautiful girls and i dont know how a parent could even contemplate saying they had a favourite child!! Dont get it at all. I love both my children equally and thats the way it should be!!

  • Joanne S.

    I really can't understand how parents can have favourites. I have 1 of each and love them both equally.

  • Nicola O.

    My girls are 2 very different characters and I love them both in very different ways, but neither is more than the other. I absolutely adore them both and couldn't imagine ever favouring one over the other.

  • Kimberlie R.

    I have 2 boys a 7 yr old and 1yr old and they are my world and I could not love one more then the other I love them for different reason one being my first born and other being my youngest and my miracle baby so no I don't have a favourite my boys are equal x

    • Hannah451

      My parents blatantly have their favourites ever since we were small. They never hid the fact and still don't. The worse thing though is they do it with the grandkids now, they favour the grandkids of their favourite children over the others. Very hurtful when you've lived with it all your life  and to see them do it with your kids aswell.

  • Nadine W.

    I love whoever behaves, cleans up, and sleeps through the night :sob::wink: just saying kids it's all to play for!!!

    • Sharon L.

      :joy::joy::joy: fantastic comment!!!x

    • Siofra M.

      Love this lol!

    • nadacolada

      That's exactly what I was going to say! My favourite is whoever is behaving. :D

  • Sandra B.

    I have a favourite but right now in my defence I do only have granddaughter...:heart:

  • Emma W.

    I have 4 children&love them all the same they are my world..:heart:really makes me angry how any parent could say they have a favourite..

  • Lauren M.

    Me and my partner had this discussion... needless to say we didn't agree haha. He said everybody has a favourite and just aren't brave enough to admit it!! Personally I love all my children endlessly and definately do not love one more than the other. HOWEVER they all have bad days lol, so on those days im quite happy to admit i dislike one more than the others :joy: xx

    • Lauren M.

      For example the little toerag that just emptied a packet of crisps into the carpet (that I just hoovered) is losing today :joy::punch::punch::punch:

    • Kathryn M.

      My youngest during the holidays smashed my big TV put plastic in my toaster and fell (huge bump and scared on face ) making us look terrible... needless to say that week he was not my favourite lol

  • Claire L.

    I have two beautiful boys who i love equally. Their personalities are very different, but i love each of them exactly the same. They are my world :blue_heart::blue_heart:

  • Dawn J.

    I rest my case...

  • Penny B.

    Depends on the time of the morning its gotta b the youngest, purely cuz he actually gets dressed without a huge melt down over tights vs socks, or "got distracted" etc, but at night my eldest is an angel and its the youngest running around in the nude shouting something about poo, pee, bum, willies or to say he's my other half child at night :joy:

  • Jessica H.

    I dislike my babies the same amount haha only joking LOVE them both the same amount my little life lines xxxx

  • Taryn-Lee R.

    I definitely have a favourite - my one and only :)

  • Ellie F.

    I've never met a parent who says they prefer one child to another! Foul

  • Jodie M.

    I think the youngest's were definitely the favourites today!! Lol xx

  • Hollie W.

    I've got three kids a boy and two girls and do not have a favourite. I would be so upset if they thought I did!

  • Amy D.

    I have a 1 and 2.5 year old my youngest is my fav most of the time as shes so much easier and doesn't argue back yet but in a few months I'm sure it will change. Children change so much all thr time I can dislike them both the same like them both the same or have differnt favourites depends on time of day my mood everything.

  • Victoria G.

    A parent that has a 'favourite' isn't a parent and needs a good slap. All your kids should be loved, cherished and held in your heart the same. Three boys here and all loved to death equally and always will be.

    • Angela S.

      Theres a big differece in 'liking' 1 child more than another and 'loving' 1 more than other!!!

  • xenophon

    Of course in an ideal world parents shouldn't have a favourite child but alas it's a fact many do. Likely they refuse to admit it to themselves although sub-consciously they favour one over another. My mother would choose my brother over me if she was really pushed although she would never admit it, the rest of the family would agree, the two have always been closer. I think it is only natural that you might feel somewhat more strongly to one over another but you must still try to be fair and even handed and probably best that you deny it and fight against outwardly displaying it at all times.

  • Jade K.


  • Beth M.


    • Ollie S.

      No I completely agree with . She doesn't have a 'favourite' child.....she just loves me more because I'm her only child....your adopted!

  • Lynsey S.

    I have favourite things about each of my children but could never have a favourite child. X

  • Justyna L.

    There is no question that I love my children the same BUT some days one will be more challenging than others which obviously is not great. Doesn't mean I love this child any less. My mum always said that children are like fingers, doesn't matter which one you'd cut off the pain would be the same. Gross analogy but makes perfect sense to me.

  • Tricia J.

    How can you possibly love one more than the other??? Although I know a few horrid people who do!!!

  • Gemma T.

    Just don't get it. No matter what you just love them the same. It's things like that that make kids go off the rails.

  • Katherine C.

    Can I throw an idea around. Everyone is so quick to criticise the parents who appear to have a favourite child.. Has anyone ever considered that these parents may have suffered a difficult labour, post natal depression or even ptsd after having one of the children.. I'm going to be a rare mum and say I love my children but dislike them most of the time.. Call me what you like.

    • Katie M.

      I struggled to bond with my second after ending up in icu. On top of that number 1 was far from impressed with the new addition. I also suffered pnd. With that being said today i love my beasties equally (although i don't like them from time to time) :boy::heart::boy:

    • Katie T.

      I love my kids bit I'd say for 80% of the day I'd swap the kids for a dog, much easier to train :joy:

    • Charli C.

      My kids are amazing and I adore them but I'd agree with 80% of the time I'd swap them for a rabbit or a gerbil... at least a gerbil is cute all the time and not just for ten seconds of the day !

  • Chloe L.

    Depends on how they are behaving :joy::joy::see_no_evil: seriously though, I love both my children to bits, my son is 2, my daughter is 9m!

  • Leigh H.

    My favourite is whoever is being good at that moment :joy::joy:

  • Jane B.

    My one child is my favourite :)

  • Colin W.

    I have two favourites

  • Gemma M.

    I wonder who is :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::joy::rat::rat::rat::rat:

  • Jane B.

    My one child is my favourite :)

  • Shoni D.

    Older child prefferd my arse

  • Lynn R.

    Depends on the day :kissing_heart:

  • Victoria B.

    I think you appreciate different things that each and every child brings. I only have the one- and o love her always, but some days I don't like her behaviour!!!!

  • Janet M.

    How can you have a favourite child , so unfair to your other children . Every child is special .

  • Kelly A.

    I love all 3 of my children actually the same however..... Some days/minutes/hours I favour one or more over the others but surely if everyone was honest they would say the same right??

  • Angela S.

    I think its true that you can like 1 child more than another! Definatly at different stages in their lives n i for 1 will admit this being the case with my children BUT i love them all the same no matter what!! That's the difference!!

  • Angela S.

    Alot of people,infact most are missing the point here!!! No-one has stated that having a favourite means that you love them more than another child!! I have 3 children,2 teenage daughters n a 3 yr old boy My daughters have been causing me loads of shit for past 6 months n have had me in tears so i will openly admit that my lil boy is my favourite at the moment.He is an absolute joy and has been my saviour past 6 months BUT i LOVE them all equally and that is the difference.

  • Hilary P.

    I was my dad's favourite. My sister was my Mum's, but we didn't mind. I haven't got a favourite between my two. Maybe it's because they are a boy and girl. When my daughter was a teen and giving me grief she accused me of loving her brother more than her. My answer was, "I love you both the same, I don't LIKE you much though"!

  • Sally-Marie E.

    I love both my children equally but I love different things about them if that makes sense I would never dream of having a favourite or treating either differently

  • Suzanne M.

    I think that maybe as human beings it is entirely possible that, because of personality types, you can 'get on' with one child better than another but that does not translate to loving one more than the others. X

  • skia

    I love my children the same and I like them the same. I just don't get it, I can't imagine having a favorite. I know someone who does and it's heartbreaking as you know the less favoured child can tell. 

    I know sometimes people have difficulty bonding with a child for different reasons and you can understand that. In the case I am aware of though, that is not the reason and that I do not understand. 

    I think it's very very sad that this can be the case. We all have times we are angry or upset with our children but having a favourite and the way in which the article describes it, suggests a more permanent situation.

    For me it's definitely not about being brave enough to admit it, both my children are amazing. I have a daughter of 5 and a son of 2.5.

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