“A lot of people say ‘I don’t have a favorite’ and I think they’re lying. Most people actually do,” says Emma K. Viglucci, a Midtown marriage and family therapist. “But I definitely don’t think it’s healthy to share that.”
Issues such as low self-esteem, feelings of self-doubt and acting out can all result from ranking your kids. “Usually the less-favored kids already have behavioral issues, and preferential treatment just perpetuates that,” says Viglucci. “Who wants to grow up feeling second best?”
Plus, the favorite kid gets hurt too, she says. They have “additional pressure on them to be the best and meet the emotional needs of the parents.”
According to a 2016 British survey, nearly a quarter of parents admitted to having a favorite. And some see nothing wrong with admitting it.