Study Says Oldest Child Perceived As Parents’ Favorite

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Data pix.

If your parents have told you they love you and all of your brothers and sisters equally, well,  they might be LYING RIGHT TO YOUR FACE. And research is backing it up.

Sociologist Katherine Conger put 384 adolescents under the microscope to find out if parents treated their children differently based on birth order.

Conger's research revealed that 74% of mothers and 70% of fathers reported differential treatment toward one child, though they wouldn't reveal which child they favored.

All children in the study, no matter their birth order, felt as if their parents treated them unfairly. (We probably should have seen that coming.)

However, first-born children seemed unaffected by the findings, suggesting that they feel they are their parents' preferred child, while the youngest siblings' self-worth seemed to suffer due to differential treatment.

"Our working hypothesis was that older, earlier born children would be more affected by perceptions of differential treatment due to their status as older child—more power due to age and size, more time with parents in the family," Conger told Quartz. "Everyone feels their brother or sister is getting a better deal."

The study was first published in the Journal of Family Psychology in 2005 but has recently resurfaced online, probably because siblings love to poke fun at which one they believe is the preferred child - even though most parents will never own up to favoring one child over another, if they even do at all.

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