​What Happens When Your Kids Think You Have a Favorite Child

siblings jealous

Let's get real: research shows that about 80 percent of parents have a favorite child. But a new study conducted at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah has found that playing favorites doesn't matter. Rather, it's whether your kids believe you play favorites that carries some frightening consequences.


In the study, 282 teenage sibling pairs were asked whether they thought their parents played favorites. Researchers discovered that kids who believed they received less favored treatment were more likely to dabble in risky behavior like drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or dabbling in harder drugs than kids who thought their parents loved them both equally. Yikes!

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Yet luckily, researchers also found there was something parents could do to curb the dangers of perceived favoritism: don't fight so much. In close-knit families with peaceful relationships, kids who believed they were slighted were less likely to turn to the dark side.

I'd say these results rings true with my own family, where I, the youngest of two sisters, was my mother's favorite... or was I? Now, I'm not so sure if my mom actually favored me or it was all my imagination. Yet since we both grew up in a relatively drama-free household, my sister didn't seem to suffer all that much. It also probably didn't hurt that my sister was our dad's favorite... or at least that's what I thought growing up. Clearly favoritism is very much in the eye of the beholder!

Do your kids think you have a favorite child, and if so how do this affect them?


Image via Anelina/shutterstock

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