There is one thing you should never ask a parent and that is which child is their favourite because they’ll refuse to answer such a bizarre question. Choosing a favourite child is like mission impossible.
Being competitive is normal for siblings. They’ll try their hardest to get the best grades in school or to tell the funniest story during dinner time.
There’s one topic that will cause serious drama between siblings and that is discussing which one is the family favourite.
However, a new study has revealed that the youngest sibling is more likely to be a parent’s favourite.
The researchers found that it’s all about perception. The younger child is more worried about being liked because they feel like they must live up to their older sibling’s reputations.
Researchers from Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life stated that the youngest child will always try harder to be the favourite because they feel like they need to.
Developing a deep bond with their parents is more important to them because their older siblings have been around longer to strengthen their relationship with their mum and dad.
300 families took part in the study. Parents had to have two teenagers in order to take part.
The team quizzed the families about favouritism and conflict. Parents were asked how much they argue with their children, they were also asked about how well they get along with the adolescents.
The team asked the teenagers about their relationship with their parents. The researchers found that the parents and youngest child had a healthier and deeper relationship if they both believed that they were the favourite out of all the siblings.
If the youngest child didn’t feel like the parent’s favourite, they had a weaker and more problematic relationship.
Older siblings admitted that favouritism didn’t matter to them, therefore, their relationship with their parents remained the same.
The study suggested, “These findings may suggest a hierarchy within families: parents may serve as referents for firstborns and firstborns as referents for second-borns.”
Assistant professor at the School of Family Life, Alex Jensen shared that social comparison may be to blame for the family matter.
She said, “My guess is it’s probably rarer that parents will say to an older sibling, ‘Why can’t you be more like your younger sibling?’ It’s more likely to happen the other way around.”
It's important to remember that sibling rivalry is a normal part of family life, we often argue with our brothers and sisters over the silliest things, like borrowing a pair of socks without asking us or eating the last slice of pizza.