Parents Play Favorites

Parents Play Favorites→

Odds are, your parents played favorites. And you do too.

If you have siblings, you probably think that your parents liked one kid best — and you’re probably right. Scientists say the family pecking order does affect children, but not always in the way you might think.

The vast majority of parents do have favorite child, according to research — about 80 percent. But that number sounds pretty darned high. So I decided to ask some kids in my neighborhood in Bethesda, Md., what they think happens in their

Not to worry; there’s hope. Perception of favoritism matters more than the reality of it.

What Eli said is important. It turns out that what matters most is not whether there is a favorite — it’s whether the kid thinks there is.

“And that’s the scary part,” according to Alex Jensen, a psychologist with Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, who studies family relationships. “It’s not just how you’re treating them; it’s how they perceive it.”