Wednesday, December 13


Mum's favorite child is the first-born, researchers say

by Staff writer

It's long been suspected by fighting siblings that parents favor youngest.

But researchers say it’s the first-born who feel they get preferential treatment the most.

In one recent study, 74 per cent of mothers confessed to liking one child more than another, and the lead researcher from the University of California was 'surprised' at the finding.

The study revealed 74 per cent of mothers and 70 per cent of fathers confessed to liking one child more than another.

While the parents did not specify which child was their favourite, when siblings were interviewed themselves, results showed younger brothers and sisters often sensed a bias towards the first-born.

The younger children said this knocked their self-esteem.

The study asked pairs of teenage siblings no more than four years apart how they felt their parents treated them.

Sociologists found that simply being the first to complete a task made the eldest child more confident and assertive.

Professor Katherine Conger from the University of California said her team were trying to prove that first-borns felt hard done when compared with their other siblings.

But their study of 384 families, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, said the eldest child actually felt their accomplishments meant more to their parents – who were most likely experiencing exam or sporting success with a child for the first time.

Professor Conger said: ‘I was a little surprised. Our hypothesis was that older, earlier-born children would be more affected by perceptions of differential treatment due to their status as the older child in the family.’

The study asked pairs of teenage siblings no more than four years apart, how they feel their parents treat them.

A sociological survey asked if they sensed a differential treatment between their siblings, and how that has affected their confidence.

Younger siblings said they could sense a first-born bias, which had knocked their self-esteem.

A previous study from the University of Toronto discovered having an older sibling could help to boost intelligence.

Separate research from Ohio State University said growing up with brothers or sisters may also make divorce less likely as an adult.


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