- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 10:30AM
It may come as no real surprise that the youngest child is usually considered the favourite in the family.
However, the reason behind this may have parents reconsidering the way they treat all their kids.
New research has revealed that often the youngest sibling considers themselves to be the funniest, even though that may not be the case.
Similarly, their perceived position in the favouritism-stakes stems from the amount of attention their parents give them compared to their older siblings.
A study by Science Direct explains that this assumption that the youngest is the favourite creates a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy in that it leads to that child having a better relationship with their parents and therefore less arguments.
Why is the baby favoured?
Parents often form a strong bond with their youngest child because they're perceived as the "baby" of the family. They rely on their parents more at a time when their older siblings are growing in independence.
So because the younger child demands and gets more attention from their parents, they are often deemed "the favourite".
The report showed researchers "anticipated that youth who perceived themselves as favoured would develop better relationships with their mothers and fathers" and they "expected that these patterns would be stronger for second borns.
"In all four models when second borns perceived themselves as favoured in terms of receiving less discipline, both mothers and fathers reported more positive relationships," the report added.
How to avoid favouritism
The subsequent parenting advice from researchers is to be expected: They suggest parents should do their best not to have favourites and try to be more aware of how children see themselves fitting into the family dynamic.
They advise parents to treat all children equal to one another, and make all children feel as if they are equally cared for. This will also help create stronger bonds between siblings and less conflict.
This article was first published on NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.