I Asked 23 Parents If They Have a Favorite Child
Photo by John Rawlings/Condé Nast via Getty Images.

As a child, I was accused by my older siblings of being the favorite. Yes: accused. It was a title I rebuffed over and over, even if I privately hoped it was true. It wasn’t that I thought myself more lovable, I just gave my parents less grief over the years. I was exceptionally afraid of getting in trouble and was by most measures a goody two shoes.

As we’ve grown into adults, though, the designation has been passed around repeatedly. Kelly talks to them nearly every day — so she must be the favorite. My parents laugh at everything Andy says — so he must be. And all the while, as we debate the particulars of The Favorite, my parents have denied one exists at all. Of course we don’t have a favorite, they say. That’s just silly.

It’s the tune most parents sing, as if by hospital-provided script, and I’ve always wondered: Could it really be true? Surely parents favor one child over another at certain times; they’re only human. In search of answers, I asked as many parents as I could to reach for their deep-seated truth in exchange for the cover of anonymity. Then I watched with rapt attention as the responses trickled in by way of anonymous survey.

“Some days are sunny. Some days are rainy. We want both but —  let’s face it — not in equal measure. I have two children. One brings warmth and sweetness into the room, the other sometimes makes me want to run for shelter. I can relax when I’m with one, I laugh more and it’s just more pleasant. With the other, interactions are intense, not because we have conflict, but because I never know what emotions will pour forth. When I think about it in terms of liking one or the other more, I resist that characterization because the experience with each is dissimilar to the other. Sunny days can go unnoticed, but a thunderstorm makes us pay attention.”

No! They are all special in their own way. I might be able to relate to one more easily than others, but that does not make him/her my favorite.

“Fortunately, I love AND like both equally. They each have different and great qualities that I admire…but during high school, the youngest pushed us to the point where we always had one eye open on weekend nights. We’re glad he made it through high school and college without a DUI, but I don’t know how he was so lucky. You might say he was a social drinker.”

No. Fortunately, I have a child for each of my personalities!

“I can say I honestly love my children equally. However, there were definite phases where I preferred one over the other. My mother however, showed extreme favoritism toward the baby of our family. We were five kids versus my two children, so that may be a factor.”

Not really one favorite child. But at times you like one better than the other. Over the years, each child seems to hit the ‘Favorite Child,’ top-of-the-list position.

“The truth is: Yes, I have a favorite child, but it has always been ever-changing. Just like that group of friends you hang out with, sometimes one over the other seems like your BFF and then later they don’t. I’m lucky that I have kids who are lovable in their own rights and are nice human beings, but they all have their quirks. My husband says my boys are ‘mama’s boys’ and my daughter is — well, she’s a girl and we relate! Right now, she’s ‘it,’ but it’s been known to change.”

I have been able to relate to one of my children better than the others at times, but I can honestly say I don’t have a favorite. I love each of them for who they are.

“In my honest and truthful attempt to determine which of my children I like better, I could not decipher a winner. It could be my inherent societal programming that says it is inappropriate to have a favorite, but I’m genuinely stumped. There inevitably are going to be things about each kid that annoy you or things you appreciate about each. I’ve asked myself this question in the past when one of my kids does something awesome, amazing, stupid, inconsiderate or nasty, but it’s always fleeting. A more telling question for me would be: ‘Do I ever feel sorry for one kid consistently more than another?’ I think the answer for every parent with multiple children would be yes.”

I love my kids equally. Like? Well, that changes by the day.

“I don’t love my kids equally. I love them differently. It’s hard to compete with the first born…unless they turn out to be truly awful kids! There is something about experiencing motherhood for the first time that creates a bond with that first born. That is why my youngest has always said I love her sister more.”

No, I like them equally.

“In theory, there may not be a favorite child, but it’s possible the parents may feel closer to one or they may have a stronger, more meaningful relationship with one. When I am asked this question, I always give the five fingers example: Which one of my fingers in my hand do I prefer over the others? The answer is obvious: None! But you may measure love in different ways. Who do I like to spend more time with? Which one of my kids makes me feel better to be with? Which one is more fun? Which one is kinder, more considerate to me? Which one of my kids makes me really proud? It would be easier to answer this question when asked in these forms, and I am sure the answers might impact a parent’s love towards his or her kids.”

Do I have a favorite? No, but perhaps a closer relationship with one over others.

“I have worked really hard to show my kids that I love them equally. I even have a spreadsheet each year to make sure their birthday and Christmas gifts are equal in value. However, one time, when they were both in elementary school, my daughter said that I liked my son best and, after telling her that it wasn’t true, she wouldn’t let it go. So when we got home I said to my son, ‘Want some ice cream?’ and we sat down together to eat the ice cream. My daughter said she wanted some, and I said, ‘No, because I obviously like your brother better.’ She relented that it wasn’t really true, so we all had ice cream and she never accused me of liking him better again.”

I have a boy and a girl. At different times, I felt more loving towards one over the other, but never in a lasting way. I still would do anything for either of them as I did in the past as they had different needs/challenges as they grew up.

“I love my three young adult children dearly but I absolutely have a favorite. She’s the one I want to spend time with. I feel totally relaxed around her. Our relationship is not work. If I say something that offends her or bugs her, she doesn’t sulk, she asks for clarification. We work through it. My other two I could go weeks without hearing from them and I’m okay with that, but I miss the favorite when we don’t connect. We treat them all equally as far as gifts, money, vacations, etc., but I am pretty sure that ‘the fave’ probably has figured out that she is the fave.”

I absolutely do not love one more than another, but I for sure like one more than others at times! The greatest part is that each has unique qualities that you treasure — but it never made me love one more.

“Oh my, this is a tough one. I have twins and, over the years, one has definitely been the rebel, and the other the pleaser. While I love them both so much, my pleaser stays in contact and reaches out for my advice and support, while my rebel tends to call when she needs something (usually money) and is horrible about correspondence. I must say our relationship has suffered because of her pushing me away. But I see glimpses of our relationship getting better. As a mama, I will never give up hope. So, honestly, it’s easier to like my pleaser more — because we communicate! I feel closer to her. But I do love my girls so very much.”

No, but sometimes one is more likable.

“I am lucky to have two children, a boy and a girl. Both are very different, yet I see commonalities. I love them both equally, and loved spending the first three years alone with my daughter and then the years alone with my son after she went to school. I have to say, it was perfect! The gift of getting older and my children becoming young adults is that they are my friends. Just like friends, they know me very well and give me different perspectives and different advice. My son and I are like-minded and he gives me the opinion I want to hear. He feels I can do anything. My daughter is more protective and gives me advice that jolts me but is good for me.”

I don’t have a favorite child; they are all amazing! Each one has a special place in my heart. But one of the four is a little more respectful, sensitive and caring.

“Whenever my kids ask which of them I loved more, I always answer that I love them both the same amount but that I love them each differently. I love a perfectly-grilled prime rib steak and I love Läderach dark chocolate. They are both so different and fulfill different tastes; how can I possibly say which one I love better? My son was Mr. Mellow growing up and my daughter was much spicier. He was easier to be around and caused less stress and worry during the tough teenage years. During those years, I loved them both the same amount, but I did ‘like’ my son better. Now that they are both young adults, I like and enjoy them both, each in their own way.”

If you’re a parent: Do you have a favorite? If you’re a child: Do you think your parents have one? It’s truth time.

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  • Bailey Stark

    I am 1 of 4, and being number 3 I can confidently say I am not the favorite. My oldest sister is very smart and determined, and is also a huge help to my mom. My other sister is also very smart and driven, but also really sensitive, so my parents have a soft spot for her. My brother is the youngest AND the only boy — so that’s a double win for him. And I’m the annoying sister that always forgets money when we go out, I’m the laziest, I get in my bitch moods a lot, and I love to talk and laugh at inappropriate times. (I also feel this need to always talk to my mom, I call and text her everyday and I can totally tell it annoys her sometimes). So yes, parents have favorites, even if they deny it.

  • Mel

    As my parent’s only child, I think my odds are pretty good.

    • CayC

      Same. My mother used to joke that I was “usually” her favorite child ;). Glad to have never had to wonder, although the trade-off, of course, is all of your parents’ attention and expectations on your little shoulders.

      P.S. Man Repeller – your fancy color-changing coding is super cool for the quotes, but is it possible to have them not turn pale pink? It’s really difficult to read against the white background.

    • Ha, I love the perks of being an only child.

  • SK

    I have two kids, a girl & a boy. It probably appears to the outside world that I have a favorite, but it’s really just that my son is easier to love than my daughter. She makes you work for it, but I enjoy the process of being her Mom and I adore who she is.

  • LD

    It depends on the day. Sometimes I like one more than the other, but I really believe it evens out over time. Equal is a very difficult standard to uphold!!

  • Abby

    My dad had 3 boys and then me, and I only share a mom with the one right before me (the oldest 2 are my half-brothers). My dad always wanted a girl, plus all 3 boys had some pretty significant behavioral problems growing up while I didn’t cause any trouble at all…so yeah, I think I’m the favorite. With my mom too, because my brother is still a very difficult person to be around, even as an adult. I’m far from perfect, but comparison is a very strong tool…

  • everyone knows the dog is always the favorite sibling! but truthfully, i think i’m my father’s favorite and my brother is my mother’s favorite. we are loved equally, but for sure loved differently. i loved reading these answers!!

    • Lyla

      Haha but my dad hates the dog!

  • I swear these parents are lying… or are just trying to convince themselves…

    Charmaine Ng
    Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    • Lady Grinning Soul

      Not necessarily. I have two daughters, aged 5 and 3. They couldn’t be more different, and I love them more than life itself. My relationship with each of them is different, but I absolutely do not have a favourite. I love and like them the same amount: infinitely.

      • Basil

        I totally agree. Admittedly I’ve been a parent of more than one for just over 24 hours (baby girl arrived yesterday), but so far, despite worrying about this a lot I’m just so in love with her, after being really worried that it wasn’t possible to love another child as much as I love my son. He and I are very close and I just adore him, so it was a worry but so far so good.
        On the other hand, what about children having favourite parents? I think my son often takes me for granted whereas his papa is the BEST. He’s definitely my son’s hero and is the one he has fun with – he wouldn’t even laugh for me before he was 6 months old but would chuckle at his papa from way earlier on

        • Alexia

          As someone that is still a teenager, I think kids go through different phases of who is the favorite (when my brother and I were younger we were both very attached to our mum). However, as time went on, it depended on the occasion, and I can honestly say I love both of my parents equally. I will say that I feel like my dad and I are more similar, but I love the female connection I have with my mum. I go to them for different reasons too. If I want to talk about career related things, I go to Dad (since my dad and I pursued somewhat similar fields). If I want someone to listen and provide emotional support, I go to my mum.

        • Lady Grinning Soul

          It’s absolutely normal. I have two girls and they are batshit crazy about their dad. I know they love me too but when daddy is around… Mom disappears lol
          Relax, it’s just two ways of loving. Same as us.

        • aisling

          Huge huge hugs and congratulations. Enjoy your new baby and the developing relationship with your son. You sound like an amazing mama x

  • Leandra Medine


    • JennyJen

      The one with 4 kids! You’re the respectful, sensitive, caring child! 🙂

      • Anne

        My thought exactly.

    • Amy Mills

      The last one!

  • Adrianna

    Two-child families can be an intense environment. You’re constantly compared and contrasted, despite any good intentions. It’s particularly dark when you and your sibling don’t like each other, or you haven’t spoken in seven years. I’ve been expected to replace one parent with the same instincts or priorities as a parent, despite the fact that I was younger and 16. I know it’s easy to want something you didn’t experience, but I frequently wished we had another person to cut some of the tension and pressure.

    • Lady Grinning Soul

      That is why I would love to have three kids. We have two, but I grew up with two brothers and know so well what you’re talking. Having a third one to nag to is so comforting.

      • Adrianna

        I’ve been thinking about the pressure my sister and I had to have a certain kind of relationship my mother expected her daughters to have. My mom’s reactions to our sibling fights were worse than the actual fights. She had one brother, whereas my father was one of five kids. Needless to say, my father never cared if my sister and I got along or argued.

      • Kiks

        That’s so interesting because I was one of three and it was horrible. Maybe if you’re the single one of your gender it’s better. I was constantly compared (usually unfavourably) to my younger sister, AND she & my brother always ganged up on me and excluded me (actually, they finally just stopped doing that about three years ago…)

        I have adamantly told my husband I would never have three children because I’d hate for anyone to feel the way I did growing up. In my mind, two is perfect. I don’t care if they get along or are friends or not, but at least they have each other if they want to.

        • Adrianna

          re: ganging up – My older sister and mother would gang up on me all through my childhood and adolescence. Unfortunately it can happen in most family dynamics. We all view our negative experiences as one of the worst possible outcome

      • Alyanumbers

        Are you kidding? With three children, you have a middle child, and that’s horrible. I know because my mother is a middle child.

  • meme

    Oh this is making my anxious. I don’t want to know but I’m pretty sure I’m not the most loved but probably the most liked.

  • Teresa

    At my grandma’s house, my brother is far and away the favorite (first boy, named after my grandfather, you get the picture). The rest of us see how we measure up at any particular time based on where she places her photos of us. The mantle is gold, but the dresser in her bedroom is platinum.

  • Teresa

    I’m not a parent, but I wonder if sometimes parents overcompensate for their less-favorite children by consciously spending more time and giving more love to them since it does not come as easily.

  • Rebekah Jane

    I can say with confidence that my parents don’t have a favorite – but they certainly have an easier child. My sister still lives in our hometown, still holds the same values and beliefs as my family, is getting married in a church and is in a respectable career. I moved 7 hours away, am a raging liberal “city girl” as my mother puts it, got married in a brewery and am a writer. They praise us equally for our capabilities and have always ensured that we feel loved and appreciated, but I can tell that she just makes more sense to them. Processing me, on the other hand, can be a challenge, particularly for my mother.

  • mapillski

    My mom says she doesn’t have a favorite. But in the same breath has said that I was the child she always wanted in terms of my interests and personality — the type of person she would want to be friends with if I wasn’t her child. She said my two sisters are the children she didn’t know she needed until she got them.

    • Imaiya Ravichandran

      thats such a lovely way to put it!

    • Lady Grinning Soul

      That’s such a beautiful way to put it.

  • speedychick

    I have three currently, with the hopes of one day adding a fourth and final child. Each child is so very different and I cannot imagine my life without any of them. I love them all so very much it hurts my heart and can honestly say I love them all the same amounts of different kinds of love. All three are very much bonded to their momma! <3 <3 <3

    • speedychick

      As a side note, I am the middle of three siblings. Growing up I was by far the favorite, in that I had excellent grades, was athletic, worked for everything myself and played sports my parents enjoyed attending to watch. However now, I have moved away and my sister, the baby, stayed close to home is now the favorite 🙂 unfortunately my brother was always a rebel and never held the favorite title for very long!

  • abby thigpen

    My mom always says, “I don’t love you all equally or even differently- I love each of you uniquely”

    I’ve always loved that. It validates our quirks and embraces our not so sunny sides.

    But with that being said, I’m definitely the favorite.

    • Modupe Oloruntoba


  • Pam

    Im an only child on my mothers side, and I was raised alone as one. But even then I can tell you, while my mom loves me, she probably didn’t like me all the time. My grandfather however, will tell my whole family im his favorite grandchild, without hesitation. It’s created some resentment between the grandchildren.

    • b.e.g.

      I have experienced this same thing. When my mother divorced my father, we lived with my grandmother. Naturally we became close. And over the years all the other grandchildren (20) always resented me for being the favourite. My grandmother would deny it, but in my heart I always did feel like her favourite. I think I needed the love more than the others because they all had both their parents (and other grandparents) their whole lives, while I only had my grandmother as my mother worked all the time, and had a caustic personality. Also, I only had one grandparent. None of the other three grandparents had any role in my life. None. So my grandmother was my life. I probably loved her more than my mother to be honest.

    • Eliza

      My grandparents on my dad’s side were the same – my older sister was the first grandchild and apparently the only one that mattered! On my mum’s side, my grandma had something like 40 grandchildren and at her funeral each one said they were sure they were her favourite…except for me and one of my cousins who for unknown-to-us reasons she definitely didn’t like. I KNOW she loved me, but I also know she didn’t like me that much. I also know her actual favourite was my younger sister, the youngest grandchild, because my little sister spent the most time with her and was also the kindest to her – she absolutely deserved to be the favourite and I don’t resent her one bit for it!

  • La

    I can without a doubt claim to be the least favorite child in my family. I have absolutely nothing in common with my parents and siblings. My mother told me I was her most difficult child. Snidley she said once that I’m an “interesting” person. My parents worked hard to change me and indoctrinate me into the person they wanted me to be. I worked hard trying to please them and be that person, going along with everything they wanted me to be/do, but it caused me to have many disruptive emotional issues. After many years of therapy, I finally had to “give up the ghost” and accept who I am without manipulating my personality and choices. I’m emotionally a lot more stable now because of it. I think it’s understandable for parents to have favorites, because it’s human nature for people to want to commune with like minded people who enjoy the same things. When all is said and done, parents are only human beings. It’s just how things are.

  • shuzluva

    I have twin daugters and a boy who is 3.5 years younger than the girls. My girls are tweens, and yeah tween girls are hard. But it’s also fabulous. I’m their mom, not their friend, and I’m *still* the person they confide in about intimate stuff (imagine the most cringeworthy conversation: we have had it). Do I expect this to last forever? Nope, which is OK. I hang out with all three of them – together and individually – and I really can’t imagine having a favorite or treating one as a favorite. They are all so dramatically different from each other with distinct personalities, likes, dislikes, abilites…you name it. They each have their moments, but those pass like a thunderstorm. I don’t play favorites with any of them. My husband says I’m equally hard on all of them. Yeah, I’m that parent. But they love me anyway, and they absolutely know I love them.
    I think about this a lot because my brother (who is 5 years younger than me) is definitely our mom’s favorite. This is not a secret; my brother and I have had conversations about it, have worked around my mom because of (in spite of?) it and don’t get in each other’s faces about it. I think my mom is trying to make up for it by treating my daughters like solid gold. She sometimes forgets that I have a third child.

  • claire

    “You might say he was a social drinker.” HAHA

  • I feel like my younger brother and I are loved equally. I’m astonished how writing it down here fills me with love.

    But… there is one grandparent who has a favourite (both child and grandchild). At adult age it has angered me several times, but these issues are often so complicated that one can’t but just try to understand the difficulties someone might have had that are at times reflected in current behaviour.

    • Lyla

      My grandmother tells me and my cousins that I’m her favorite. I call her and have long conversations with her once a week. We have lots in common and have spent more time alone together. I don’t know about her telling people, but I think it makes sense that the fact that I show how much I care about her makes her love me more.

      • Well that is different of course. 🙂

        In our case it’s a lot trickier than that (and such a long story that I cannot possibly write it down here).

      • Kiks

        I know I’m my grandmother’s favourite as well. It’s partly just a product of circumstance, as I by far spent the most time with her as a child…mainly because my brother and sister always wanted tons of attention and sometimes I just needed to escape. She gave me the special one-on-one time that my
        mom didn’t seem to have the ability or desire to. To be honest I just don’t think she realized how much I needed it.

        But also my grandmother and I just have a ton in common. I am super girly and into fashion and decorating just like she is. We are both very anxious and sensitive and like to talk about our feelings a lot. I feel like she really sees me in a way my mom kinda doesn’t. I feel so lucky to have such a close relationship with her. I don’t know what my life would’ve been without that.

        • b.e.g.

          Sometimes I feel that grandmothers are like mother we should have had.

  • Emily

    I’m the 2nd of four- 3 girls and a boy at the end (so the middle girl). Me and my younger sister have always called the two bookends the “golden children”. They didn’t drink until they were 21, followed the rules and really didn’t ruffle any feathers. Never once did I feel like I was loved any less, though! It was the role we all played and it was an open joke, with some truth to it. It turned out the bookends/golden children caused more stress after they were out of the house! I think as a middle child you learn to do your own thang which leads to independence and success in the “real world”!

  • Kittybat

    So the answer is Yes.

  • Lindsay

    That first quote about sunny days and thunderstorms was poetic and eloquent and applicable to lots of things and relationships. I loved it!

    • Lady Grinning Soul

      Yes, it really was a beautiful way to put it.

  • Lady Grinning Soul

    I have two girls, still very small. They could not be more different. One is like a Bob Dylan ballad, the other one is a Ramones song.
    I could never pick a favourite. They mean so much to me, and in such different ways. My experiences with each are very very different, but intense all the same. Also, they are like siamese twins, so close. So it’s like this little unit, impossible to set apart.
    I love having a Bob Dylan ballad and a Ramones song in human form in my life. That’s how eclectic my playlist is, and I am thankful for that.

  • Abby

    It’s easy to be the favorite when your brother is a total deadbeat…

  • I was one of 3 boys and although I longed for the acceptance and love of my father , I knew deep inside it was ok ! Because this little gay boy had an incredible bond with his mother. Favorite is not the word I would choose, I just had a unique and speacial relationship with my mommy !
    Dress The Part

  • Lyla

    I feel so conflicted reading this. My relationships with my brother and parents are so complex. I know I was a difficult teenager and young adult and still am sometimes. Behavior that drives my dad away from me seems to pull my mom in even though she is the one I have always struggled most with. Is it because she cares more about me? The reality is that I care more for my dad. We have more in common and I think that is why any problems we have hurt him more. I know my dad dislikes my brother, but with all of our problems, does his moderate preference for me mean he loves me more or is he out there alone?

  • Erika Galan

    This was the best read. I am not a parent yet but honestly, reading the comments that admitted to a favorite made me sad. I’m glad my mom sticks to the: “I love you both equally but in different ways” argument.

    • LS

      I felt the same way. At the start I wanted honest answers and not just the ” I love them all equally” that you’re supposed to say. But as soon as I got to one that was honest about having a favorite, it made me sad.

  • marie cz

    I wish you have posted the ages of the parents because I really do think that most of them will have a favorite once they grow up

  • Hmmm…all these parents sound way too nice! I know my parents don’t have a favorite, they love all of us, but they make more concessions/time/priority for some over others.


  • Alexia

    The favorite in my house has four legs and a tail.

  • Michelle

    I have a closer relationship with my dad and his family. My parents divorced when I was in middle school and my family is very split – my mom and brother are closer and my father and I are very closer. I spend most holidays with my dad and his family. It gets difficult when I spend time with my mom because there’s constantly an elephant in the room. I guess in the opposite way, I do love my dad and my dad’s family more..they’re there for me one million times and a half more. I feel the familial love I would have never felt, if it weren’t for them.

  • Emily Stark

    I absolutely have a favorite. We decided to only have two children and while I was pregnant we agreed that the one inside me would be my favorite and our son would be his. That way both of them can be a favorite. But, real talk, he really truly is my favorite. I chose well. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b9595ceacab3c48d35fdd84742b1a8c07f751e7036d3abcd8af50b0203e3b9ab.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1a3c490e5d747c7d4cfad3dd552518a3882e20b292292f25ab96de32428618f7.jpg

  • Modupe Oloruntoba

    fascinating stuff! my parents arrive for the holidays in a couple of weeks, I can’t wait to bring this up in typical middle child fashion. 🙂

  • Emily

    My mom’s favorite thing to write on my and my sister’s birthday card is “you’re my favorite…don’t tell your sister”. NICE TRY WE’RE ON TO YOU MOM

  • Emily M

    I’m a twin and my mom has often TOLD me that she “likes” me more than my sister because we “get each other” more. That being said, in high school I gave them hell and my sister was told that she was the easier one, so I guess it all evens out. Both my sister and I know that we are loved very much, no matter who is “liked” more at the time. 🙂

  • b.e.g.

    I am the eldest of three, only child from my mother’s first marriage. My stepfather says I am my mother’s fave. I don’t agree. I think he says that to manipulate me. I think my mother’s fave is my youngest brother. Lots of evidence for this claim. The middle child, my sister, is the most caring toward them, my brother is the most spoiled, and I was the problem child. Tumultuous relationship doesn’t begin to describe it. Yet, I always feel my mother suffered more for me than the others and that made me feel like I had a special spot in her heart. But definitely my brother is her favourite.

    I have one child, and, yes, he is my favourite. He facetimes me. We chat often. We text. We cook together. We party together. We argue. I reprimand him. He consoles me. He gives me sage advice when I need it. Definitely my favourite.

  • amelie

    Reading this article and realizing that I’m probably not the favorite.

    • Paige Kay

      I know for sure I am not my parent’s favorite. My mother makes it clear she doesn’t like me, and prefers to talk to/be around my sister, and my dad, well, I suppose he likes parts of me, but he has a VERY clear soft spot for my wild and reckless older sister, so clear others have seen it and comment on it. And still, at 28 years of age, this realization hurts like hell.

  • Eva Kuzyk

    I’ve struggled a little lately with the ways my parents express love and like me and my siblings. I realized that, like every other human, they learned to love from their families and relationships with friends and significant others. So when we act up in ways similar to when they’ve been through before it the past, they don’t respond like parents, they respond like people. You know? Since my siblings and I are all so different, we all bring about different reactions. Whether they love one more than the other doesn’t really show, and it doesn’t really matter in my mind because it’s all about how they know how to respond to us.

  • I’ve always wondered this though I’m an only child and not a parent yet
    great post

  • rolaroid

    It’s quite comforting that the answer throughout is pretty much the same – love them equally, like one better than the other sometimes. But it’s nice that one admitted that her first is her “favourite” and that she spoke about that bond. I’m the youngest, and I have always thought that I was the favourite, though I know we are equally loved by both our parents. I have had a much more difficult with each parent individually than my sister, but I also connect with them in a different way. I think that they like me better sometimes.

  • Aydan

    in my family its so clear, but it def goes along personality lines. I’m more like my dad, my older brother more like my mom, and my little brother–well he’s the baby so we all just love him the best!!

  • Tara

    I honestly can’t tell who’s the favorite in my family, which is a credit to my parents. My brother is the super-hyper-smart overly-accomplished one who has been lauded 100x over. However, he’s very emotionally difficult to deal with, and has turned into a bit of a spoiled brat as he’s aged. While I have gone to great schools (the same schools as my brother, actually), I did not have a prestigious major, win any cool awards, or do a graduate degree in anything exciting. My career is stable but boring, and my Master’s is in my field. I think I’m easier for my parents to deal with because I’m much more even-keeled emotionally. I guess the answer is my parents probably are prouder of my brother, but maybe enjoy hanging around me more.

  • Kristie

    I have four brothers, and as the only daughter in the family, my mum would always say “You’re my favourite daughter”, to which I would reply “But I’m your only daughter!”. Her response was always “Not only are you my only daughter, but you’re my favourite daughter! Well I got lucky!” I think it was a quote from a movie or something, but it always made us laugh and made me feel pretty special.

  • Xyzing123

    As I read this, I kept having to put it down because it was making me upset. My parents have 6 kids and though I’m the youngest I’m far from the favorite- there are 2 favorites and it’s really obvious. I would love to hear from favorites about how that feels- being a “mediumish” is sucky. The difficult ones get a ton of attention, the favorites get everything else, and the rest of us are just there trying to be noticed.

  • Mare

    I read a new york times article about this subject and remember it said that if you asked the parents if they had a favorite, they would usually say no, but if you asked the children if their parents had favorites, the children could absolutely rank each other!

  • mollie blackwood

    My nephew, who is 8, is an only child and his parents try to get him to answer who he loves more… mom or dad? He’s never slipped up.

    I felt bad reading the response that one parent had a favorite. But at the same time I hope I’m the favorite. Ha.

  • Alyanumbers

    “I have worked really hard to show my kids that I love them equally. I even have a spreadsheet each year to make sure their birthday and Christmas gifts are equal in value. However, one time, when they were both in elementary school, my daughter said that I liked my son best and, after telling her that it wasn’t true, she wouldn’t let it go. So when we got home I said to my son, ‘Want some ice cream?’ and we sat down together to eat the ice cream. My daughter said she wanted some, and I said, ‘No, because I obviously like your brother better.’ She relented that it wasn’t really true, so we all had ice cream and she never accused me of liking him better again.”

    She never said that again because she probably remembers how bad it hurt when you treated her that way. I hope your daughter gets away from you as soon as she can.