Favouritism. It’s the war cry in sibling arguments and an accusation commonly hurled at parents from their teenage children: You’re playing favourites.
The standard response – “I don’t have a favourite” – is almost a reflex.
But now research, damning research, has shown the hysterics from siblings (particularly older siblings) might be somewhat justified.
Yep, Mumsnet, described as the “UK’s biggest network for parents”, has surveyed its 12 million monthly visitors and found that, yes, parents and grandparents, too, definitely do have “favourites”.
The survey, conducted in May 2016 with 1,185 parent respondents, found nearly a quarter of Mumsnet users with more than one child admitted to having a favourite child.
More than half (56 per cent) of these parents said it was their youngest child they preferred. Mostly, they listed “easiness” as the reason why, as opposed to the “trickiness” and “demanding” needs of other siblings.
More touchingly, 41 per cent of those parents with a favourite child said the child reminded them of themselves as a youngster.
But, as parents everywhere will understand, having a favourite isn't without burden. Half of parents said they felt "awful" for having a favourite, and 78 per cent said they think it's damaging for the other siblings.