Parents and the "F" Word

The issue of favoritism is a strong one among many families.There are myriad sides in being the favorite&unfavored child.Favoritie children are idolized whereas unfavored children are demonized.
The issue of favoritism is a strong one among many families.There are myriad sides in being the favorite&unfavored child.Favoritie children are idolized whereas unfavored children are demonized.
In multichild families, there is a strong likelihood of favoritism.In such families, there is a tendency of children being treated more preferentially than &/or differentially from other children in the family.
In multichild families, there is a strong likelihood of favoritism.In such families, there is a tendency of children being treated more preferentially than &/or differentially from other children in the family.
Parents often treat their favorite children better than their other children.They are receive more parental attention.They also have more resources allotted to them.
Parents often treat their favorite children better than their other children.They are receive more parental attention.They also have more resources allotted to them.
Favorite children tend to be self-assured & self-confident.They also tend to be successful as adults because they possess belief in themselves. Conversely, many have a sense of self-entitlement, believing that THEY are the center of the universe.
Favorite children tend to be self-assured & self-confident.They also tend to be successful as adults because they possess belief in themselves. Conversely, many have a sense of self-entitlement, believing that THEY are the center of the universe.
Negative results of favoritism include resentment of the less favored child towards the more favored child in the family.Unfavored children also feel inferior & insignifcant in comparison to the favored child.
Negative results of favoritism include resentment of the less favored child towards the more favored child in the family.Unfavored children also feel inferior & insignifcant in comparison to the favored child.
Another negative result of being a favorite child is being held to a higher standard than the other children. Remember the adage where much is given, much is expected.
Another negative result of being a favorite child is being held to a higher standard than the other children. Remember the adage where much is given, much is expected.
Birth order can be influential regarding favoritism in families. Oldest &/or youngest children are more likely to be favored whereas middle children are unlikely to be favored.
Birth order can be influential regarding favoritism in families. Oldest &/or youngest children are more likely to be favored whereas middle children are unlikely to be favored.
 A byproduct of being a favorite chlld is being a golden child.Favorite children are often deified & idolized & seen as golden children who can do NO WRONG in the eyes of their parents.....
A byproduct of being a favorite chlld is being a golden child.Favorite children are often deified & idolized & seen as golden children who can do NO WRONG in the eyes of their parents.....
Favoritism can occur in any size family. However, it is more prevalent in large famlies where more children compete for parental attention, affection &/or favor.
Favoritism can occur in any size family. However, it is more prevalent in large famlies where more children compete for parental attention, affection &/or favor.
Unfavored children develop deep self-esteem issues which often negatively impact them later in adolescence and adulthood. This negative impact can be lifelong.
Unfavored children develop deep self-esteem issues which often negatively impact them later in adolescence and adulthood. This negative impact can be lifelong.
Unfavored children are more likely to be depressed &/or have other forms of mental illness than the average population.
Unfavored children are more likely to be depressed &/or have other forms of mental illness than the average population.
Resentment that unfavored childrren feel towards their favored counterparts could result in sibling bullying &/or other forms of sibling abuse.
Resentment that unfavored childrren feel towards their favored counterparts could result in sibling bullying &/or other forms of sibling abuse.
However, there are unfavored children who overcome the odds, becoming highly independent & successful, carving their own niche in life.
However, there are unfavored children who overcome the odds, becoming highly independent & successful, carving their own niche in life.
Favoritism occurs in families of two or more children.It is quite commonplace although it is seldom admitted.It impacts favorite & unfavored chldren.Mature parents realize the folly of such & strive to treat each child equally.
Favoritism occurs in families of two or more children.It is quite commonplace although it is seldom admitted.It impacts favorite & unfavored chldren.Mature parents realize the folly of such & strive to treat each child equally.

How Parental Favoritism Affects Each Child In The Family Constellation

In families where there are two children or more, parents tend to favor one particular child over another child and/or other children within the same family constellation. The operating definition of favoritism is why parents preferentially treat one child better than another child/other children within the same family constellation e.g. parents giving one child more affection and material goods than they give his/her sibing(s). According to psychologist/author Ellen Weber Libby, author of THE FAVORITE CHILD, children who are the favorite in their families tend to be more self-confident as a child which translates into being more successful in career and life as an adult. Dr. Libby further asserted that sons and daughters who are their father's favorites are more career oriented than sons and daughters who are their mother's favorites. Dr. Libby added that sons and daughters who are the mother's favorites are better caretakers and caregivers.

A sibling who is the object of parental favoritism believes himself/herself to be godlike and is entitled. Often the favored sibling is spoiled and believes that life should revolve around him/her. Barbara Johnson, an inspirational speaker, asserted that favoritism is de rigueur in multichild families. Ms. Johnson maintained that anytime parents have more than one child, it is natural for parents to love one child more than another depending upon the circumstances.

In a study done by Dunn and Plomin in 1990 and McGuire in 2002, it confirmed that parents regularly practice favoritism in multichild families based upon the individual child's temperament, personality, and birth order. In the article, CENTER OF ATTENTION: FAVORITISM IN FAMILIES, Jesse Brown, an entrepreneur who owns a holistic health center, is one of three children and the only brother among the two sisters in the family. According to his sisters, his parents gave him everything he wanted especially a car while they had to work for what they wanted.

In multichild families, there is ALWAYS a favorite. The negative effects of favoritism include resentment among the less favored sibing(s) towards the more favored sibling(s). In my mother's family of ten siblings, the resentment was towards the youngest sibling who the rest of the family contend had the easiest and most carefree childhood. My maternal aunt, who was the third of ten, especially resented her as she achieved the most out of the ten siblings, having a high powered, executive position that earned near six figures. My mother even resented her because she had the easiest out of the ten siblings..My mother often said that SHE WISHED THAT SHE WAS THE YOUNGEST, NOT THE OLDEST in her family as she was the family's overworked and underappreciated mascot.

Another negative result of being a favorite child in the family is stress and being held to a higher standard. It is analogous to being a teacher's pet as that too causes stress and the pupil being held to higher standards. Also the other classmate detest the teacher's pet because of the privileges the teacher's pet receives. However, if a child is the favorite in the family, he/she often gets away with more, receives more privileges, and less harsher punishments than the other children in the same family constellation.

In the family constellation, it is usually the oldest children or the youngest who are their parents' favorites. It is seldom the middle children who are their parents' favorites. The middle children in the family is often the unfavored, neglected, or the ignored in the family constellation.

The issue of favoritism is a crux in many families. The favorite child is often idolized, placed on a pedestal, and is considered to be the golden child. He/she is perceived to do no wrong and seen as blameless and flawless. Another study authenticated that favoritism occurs often in large families where there are more children competing for the affection, attention, and favor of two parents. In fact, FAVORITISM is MORE PREVALENT in large families because of the increased ratio of children to parents because of the aforementioned.

Now what happens to the unfavored child. Studies show that children who were unfavored subsequently develop deep psychological and self-esteem issues which often impact them later on in life. Children who were unfavored by their parents were more likely to suffer from depression and other mental illness than the average population. There are even more serious consequences of favoritism. Favoritism within families breed hatred and jealously among siblings. It can even result in the unfavored child bullying and physically abusing the favorite sibling.

However, it makes many unfavored children become fiercely individualistic, unconventional, and independent. This child believes that since he/she was not a favorite child, he/she is free to pursue his/her own interests anyway that he/she wants. For example, the Kelly clan of Philadelphia. Jack Kelly, a self-made millionaire, had four children, and Grace was the middle child. According to biographical sources, Mr. Kelly favored Peggy, his firstborn over Grace. It was reported that Mr. Kelly favored Peggy because she was extroverted and athletic whereas Grace was introverted and artistic. Ms. Kelly reported that she was always the unfavored child in the family. Ms. Kelly did not let her unfavored status in the family negatively affect her, She went on her way and accomplished things that her more favored sister did not. She become a highly respected Hollywood actress garnered an Academy Award. She later become Princess of Monaco. How is that for an ending!

In conclusion, the issue of familial favoritism is commonplace in families where there are two children or more. Favoritism often places siblings in adversarial relationship which often never mends. While the favored child in the family develops a high degree of confidence, self-esteem, and sense of being important, the unfavored child either becomes embittered, jealous, and resentment of the favored child. This resentment and jealously can result of sibling bullying and sometimes sibling abuse. The majority of parents admitted to favoring one child over his/her siblings. I believe when parents bring their children into the world, they have the obligation to love all their children equally. Favoritism is an insidious practice and has no place in family life.

© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams

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Comments 6 comments

Ardie profile image

Ardie 5 years ago from Neverland

I've heard stories from many friends and family members of blatant favortism among kids and it's really sad. However, as you stated, those individuals who were less favored went on to make strong lives for themselves whereas the favorites seemed to stick to home, living with parents well into adulthood and coming to rely heavily on others. I try my hardest not to show favortism with my three daughters.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

Interesting read and important for parents. All kids should be loved equally, otherwise, they could develop hatred amongst themselves, which even grows into adulthood.

It's good you wrote about this.


arusho profile image

arusho 5 years ago from University Place, Wa.

Wow, that is very interesting. I hope parents can learn to not favor one child over the other, how sad for the less favored child.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you for your thoughtful response! I totally agree!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

honestly I though we were going to talk about the other f word.. yeah Food.. that word has made us use the word Moribid so much of late.. LOL gmwilliams a very great Hub.. up and usefully awesome :)


sara parker 4 years ago

I loved this article, and agree strongly, no matter how many children we have in life, they should all be loved equally, favoritism is indeed an ugly attribute to have, i personally believe that children who are favoured end up self important, uncaring and selfish. why would any parent want that in a child, tut tut

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