Parental favorites: Middle kids miss out

June 03, 2014, 10:16 AM GMT+0

Nearly one in two middle siblings say that they weren't their parents' favorite child, but youngest siblings don't think that their parents were playing favorites at all

If you asked most parents if they have a favorite child you'd be met with claims that picking a favorite out of their little angels is impossible and that they're all loved equally. Yet scientific research shows that parents actually do have a favorite child, and that it's often the eldest. Most parents play favorites at least a little bit and researchers found that the amount of parental effort expended decreases significantly for each new child.

The latest research from YouGov shows that just under half of the country (48%) do think that their parents had a favorite child, with 15% saying that they were the favorite. Middle children (45%) were by far the most likely to say that they weren't the favorite child and were the least likely (13%) to say that they were the favorite. Middle children are inherently at a disadvantage in vying for their parents' affection anyway, by virtue of being one of at least three children their chances of being favorite are hurt.

17% of eldest and youngest children say that they were parental favorites, while youngest children are the most likely (43%) to say that their parents didn't play favorites.

Men and women are roughly as likely as each other to say that they were, or were not, their parents' favorite but sons do come out on top when people are asked whether they would rather have a son or a daughter. Men clearly prefer sons (40%) over daughters (19%), but even women narrowly prefer a son (33%) over a daughter (28%).

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty