Unexpectedly many parents have a “hidden favourite” child, even though most won’t admit it. Family bonds and the child’s mental health as an adult may be negatively impacted. Those parents treat that child in compared to their siblings. It has been recognized and researched across a wide range of cultural contexts and affects around 65% of households. Due to its prevalence, it has the potential to harm children’s wellness from early childhood through middle age and beyond. The term “parental differential treatment,” or PDT, has been given a name and an acronym by psychologists since it is thought to be a significant component in a variety of emotional issues.
Favouriting A Certain Child
Being human, parents may, for a variety of reasons, feel a stronger connection to some of their children than others. It’s typical for the oldest or youngest child to be the favourite. In addition, some of your children may seem more like siblings to you. Children who are joyful, loving, kind, and generally simple to nurture might quickly become their parents’ favourites. However, some parents overlook the other kids while focusing solely on the troublesome or special needs child. No matter what, it is our responsibility to be fair and to treat every child with affection.
We must encourage their healthy personal growth. A favourite child makes it very challenging to grow up healthily. Children who are joyful, loving, kind, and generally simple to nurture might quickly become their parents’ favourites. However, some parents overlook the other kids while focusing solely on the troublesome or special needs child. No matter what, it is our responsibility to be fair and to treat every child with affection. We must encourage their healthy personal growth. A favourite child makes it very challenging to grow up healthily.
From An Early Age
The effects might be severe for the individual who believes they are being treated second-best. According to research, kids are aware of unfair treatment from an early age, such as when parents favour one sibling over another. Such perceived parental favouritism has been linked to behavioural issues, including hazardous behaviours, childhood anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem in kids. Additionally, there can be a ripple effect on mental health that results in other, more tangential issues. For instance, Chinese researchers have demonstrated that parental favouritism predicts teenage addiction to mobile phones. In a small Canadian study of eight homeless teens, seven of them said that their family’s disintegration was a result of their parents favouring another kid over them despite the fact that they had always been the “problem child.”
This last research illustrates precisely how far a child’s experience of favouritism may go, even if it is too tiny to draw general generalisations.
Impact On Mental Health
The effects on mental health may last into adulthood; mother favouritism, for instance, has been linked to greater depression ratings in adult offspring. Parents may continue to favour their adult children even after they become parents, perpetuating the prejudice. Favouritism may damage the sibling relationship throughout the course of a person’s life and raise tension and conflict between siblings, even though the parents rather than the siblings are to blame for this. This is especially troubling because healthy and happy connections with our siblings are crucial to our long-term wellbeing.
The unfavourable kid may stand to suffer the most, whether it is from melancholy, diminished self-esteem, or a persistent need to be exceptional, even long after he or she has left home. Sibling relationships frequently get tense as resentment from favouritism grows
Growing up in a home where parental favouritism exists has negative long-term implications, according to Mallory Williams, LCSW. According to Williams, “the biggest long-term dangers are performance anxiety for both the favoured and non-favored children, as well as depression, anxiety, unstable or even traumatic reactions in personal relationships She also talks about problems with self-worth and emotions of rejection that persist into adulthood. The non-favored kid will suffer from poor self-worth and value, feelings of rejection and inadequacy, and a kind of “giving up” since they will believe they are not deserving of receiving the same amount of love, attention, and affection as the favoured child.
As the parental connection establishes the framework and expectations for future interactions, this frequently has long-term effects on how well they succeed in their careers, in school, and in interpersonal relationships. Being ignored may result in an extremely autonomous view on life. Which is a surprise side consequence of parental favouritism. Nobody is required of them. Although a little independence is always a desirable thing, this mindset typically results in isolation. Being the chosen child may seem like a piece of cake, but it’s everything but. Favouritism almost always results in resentment from the other kids. Without without attempting, the parents’ uneven attention ruins sibling relationships.
They frequently struggle with failure of any type because of the adulation and favouritism they get, according to Williams. They frequently believe there is no space for error since. So they are under so much pressure to maintain their stellar performance. Additionally, they are prone to rejection or, at the at least, a strained connection. With the less favoured sibling. And they find it difficult to mend such a relationship given that they had nothing to do with the development of the circumstance.