Do You Have a Favorite Child?

Loaded question, I know. If you say yes, you are a careless parent. If you say no, chances are you are lying. In a study done in 2005, at the University of California at Davis, 65% of moms and 70% of dads show a preference for one child. This caused quite the stir. As we all know, it is unconscionable to play favorites, akin to child abuse, even. Perfect parents everywhere were up in arms, only a few admitting they might harbor special feeling for one particular child.

And the award goes to …

The study explained favoritism is an evolutionary necessity, and that it is usually the firstborn who is given the “Child I would save if I could only save one” award. Subsequent studies report smaller numbers, stating about 25% – 33% of parents have a favorite. This seems more reasonable to me, because even if the 2005 study was accurate, I can’t believe they got over 60% of parents to admit it.

I have a favorite child, but every day it is someone different. It depends on my mood, their mood, what I am looking to accomplish, and who is bugging me the least. Lorelei is my favorite when I am on task. At 8 years old, that kid could clean out the garage by herself if I asked her. If I want to chill, Charlie is my favorite kid. He’s a couch potato of the highest degree. On many days, my oldest, Madelyn is my favorite because right now, she wins nicest overall. Shane is my favorite when I need to feel loved, and Serena is my favorite if I need a good laugh or a great pair of shoes.

Our kids are different — thankfully, how boring would it be if they weren’t?? Why should we be expected to feel and act toward each of them the same. They are not just our DNA, kids are people too. Do not feel guilty if you are feeling preferential toward one! You don’t have to broadcast it, but you also don’t have to overanalyze it … parents are just people too.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


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