All of us have been teased by our elder siblings with words like “mom-dad mujhe jyada pyaar karte hai” or their all time favourite “you’re adopted.” It was all fun and games but don’t underestimate the capacity of elder siblings in being mean, sometimes their entire agenda is to reduce you to tears! In all your misery, you used to go to your parents for solace and they comforted you by chiding your elder sibling. However, despite all the bantering, we have felt our parents be partial to one kid and most of the times it’s the elder one, and what’s more – there’s research to confirm it.
A study led by Katherine Conger, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of California shows that out of 768 parents surveyed, 70 per cent of mothers and 74 per cent of fathers admitted to having a favourite child. The study was published by the Journal of Marriage and Family, and it states that 75 per cent of mothers report feeling closer to the eldest child, her first born. How we wish times would change, but a similar study 10 years ago had produced the same results.
Favouritism has never done any good and children of the families were inquired if it affected their self-esteem. It was found that the younger child is likely to suffer from low self-esteem caused by their parents’ special treatment towards the elder child.
The saddest part is that parents do not even realize when they are meting out preferential treatment and it affects the mental health of all kids- elder or younger. We can only hope that the younger siblings get the love they deserve!