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Amie told a TV audience she had a favourite child. It's all about the way he smells, apparently.

Should you ever, ever say this out loud to anyone?

It’s what you’re never supposed to say. Not out loud, at least. Not to anyone outside of your immediate family, at least. Not ever, EVER to your child, at least.

You have a favourite child.

While many parents might admit to favouring one of their children over another on any given day (tip: it’s the well-behaved one), the idea of systematically preferencing one over the other is something that is seriously taboo. Because it can be seriously damaging.

Last night, on SBS, one woman admitted exactly that.

Insight ran a story that explored how rivalry and favouritism affects sibling relationships. And mum Amie Cox caused particular discomfort when asked if she had a favourite between her two sons.

“Alex,” she said immediately.

Amie Cox
Left to right: Alex, Amie and William. Image via Amie Cox.

She said it wasn’t a matter of loving them differently, it was a primal connection she couldn’t explain.

“If you said choose one to live and die I wouldn’t be able to, I love them equally, but Alex has the smell he’s had since he was born. I sniff him all the time and that’s, there’s some sort of smell connection.”

You can watch Amie’s admission here…

(Post continues after the video)

Speaking to Mamamia today, Amie said that William had seen an ad to the program and cried when he heard her admit to ‘favouring’ Alex.

“He said, ‘Oh,you don’t love me as much’ and I said ‘No I do, I love you equally’ and I said, ‘And if you see the whole show I say over and over that I love you equally’, I said ‘All it is is how we smell Alex’,” she told me.

It was a brave admission and Amie later said she went to the show to understand why she would feel a greater connection to Alex.

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Read more: It’s my greatest parenting shame, but I hate playing with my kids.

Professor Julie Fitness, head of psychology at Macquarie University, discussed on Insight how a preference for any one of your kids can be very harmful if the parents don’t control their feelings.

“It depends on how functional the family is and how much the parents really try, despite their own feelings, to create a very respectful and caring environment,” she told the audience.

Amie Cox
Amie with her sons William and Alex. She says she loves both equally despite her connection with Alex. Image via Amie Cox.

“But you have families sometimes where a child is scapegoated… that can leave a legacy of shame and depression throughout life actually.”

On whether or not she was worried William would be affected by what he saw, Aime said she wasn’t because her admission was misinterpreted to believe it was about loving one less than the other.

“I will always, and I do make sure I tell them I love them that I love them both. I’m not worried about him having big psychological damage. I guess I just need to be aware that he saw that, I need to nip that in the bud and make sure he knows he is very loved.”

Read more: ‘I do not want children. And no, I am not sad. And no, I am not ashamed.’

Aime said she’s since had plenty of other parents admit to having a favourite, but she understands the taboo of openly discussing it.

“It’s politically incorrect isn’t it? People don’t want to admit they might get along with one better than the other… We connect with people differently, I think it’s just human nature.”

You can watch the entire program here. 

Tell us what you think, is it possible to have a favourite child?