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Watch: Can a mom have a favourite child?

"Most of the attention on parental favouritism is focused on childhood...And there's really good reason to be concerned with parental favouritism in childhood. Reports from both parents and children suggest it's very common and it's very consequential."

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Can parents favour one of their kids over another? Contrary to general assumption about unconditional, equal parental love for all of their children, Dr Jill Suitor suggested that parental favouritism does exist and it can impact kids.

In a Ted Talk, Suitor said, “Most of the attention on parental favouritism is focused on childhood…And there’s really good reason to be concerned with parental favouritism in childhood. Reports from both parents and children suggest it’s very common and it’s very consequential.”

Suitor went on to discuss a study titled Within Family Differences Study that she has been working on for more than 15 years. For the study, her team interviewed mothers, who revealed their favourite child, followed by recording their kids’ responses on the subject.

Who is most likely to be a mom’s favourite child? “First, being a daughter. Daughters were overwhelmingly chosen over sons (in the study). The mom-daughter tie in adulthood is typically very intimate,” Suitor said. Daughters were also the ones with whom moms had maximum conflicts, as per the study.

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Again, favouritism was also influenced by how the kids shared their mom’s values. Interestingly, the moms interviewed for the study chose their youngest kids as their favourites as opposed to the general assumption about firstborns are always given preference.

A child’s perception on favouritism matters more than the mother’s. “In families, in which adult children feel that mom does favour someone…the presence of perceptions of favouritism lead to a lot of sibling conflict and a lot less sibling closeness. And we found higher depressive symptoms among adult children who’ve perceived they have the most conflict with Mom or in whom she was the most disappointed,” Suitor explained.

What surprised the researchers was that kids who felt they were closest to mom also had higher depressive symptoms.

Watch the video here:

First published on: 07-09-2019 at 12:54:53 pm
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