If there's one thing that gets on my goat as a parent, it's the assumption that I *must* have a favourite child.
Perhaps by virtue of the fact that I have three children, people just seem to assume that one must surely get special treatment. And now Metro is trying to suggest science can prove this is indeed true.
"Finally, science has confirmed what we all know to be true: our parents are playing favourites and NOTHING IS FAIR. It doesn't matter how many times our mums fiercely proclaim that they love ALL their kids EQUALLY. We know the truth…. As The Science of Us notes, research from sociologist Katherine Conger found that there definitely seems to be preferential treatment happening in families. "
Apparently the research revealed that "firstborn siblings tended to feel preferred" while younger kids reckon they received less positive attention and faced stricter rules than their older siblings.
What's more, a whopping 70% of dads and 74% of mums confessed that they did indeed give preferential treatment to one child over his or her siblings.
I don't know what those parents were thinking when they responded to this survey but I don't think I know a single parent who would say they give one of their kids preferential treatment. And that's not just cos they don't want to admit to it. I just don't think most parents see their kids like that; as entities to be compared or favoured.
Does my eldest child get more freedom than the others? Of course, but that's because he's the eldest and what's more, with freedom comes responsibility. As much as I entrust my eldest with more than I do his younger siblings, I also expect much more of him. And the younger ones will be entrusted with the same when they're the same age.
As an example, my eldest got his first phone when he turned 10. My middle child is desperate for a phone but he's going to have to wait another few months until he, too, turns 1o. Why? Because I happen to think that's fair, and fairness is important in good parenting, if you ask me.
I'm diligent about things like sharing portions equally, treating my kids fairly, and giving each child the same opportunities. As for making sure they each receive the same degree of attention and affection, I'm reminded of what someone once told me when I was pregnant with my first child - that the love you have for one child doesn't 'divide' when another comes along; it multiplies. You don't have to divvy up your affection to share it fairly between kids as your family grows - it simply grows.
But we'd love to hear YOUR views on this. Do you think parents do have favourites - even secretly - and do you feel your parents had a favourite child? Or are you, like me, convinced it's practically impossible to play favourites among your children? Leave us a comment below or come and join the debate over on our Facebook page.
P.S You're totally my favourite reader.