If there was a parenting boot camp, and maybe there should be, this would be one of the first lessons screamed at you by the cranky drill sergeant. When your children ask who’s the favorite — and they will, and they will be persistent and sneaky about it — SAY NOTHING. Oh sure, they may suspect that you have a favorite. They may wonder, and they may accuse. But they must never know. Sibling rivalry is tough enough, and naming a favorite is just throwing parental kindling on the fire.

If you feel up to more advanced parental Jedi mind tricks, you can take each child aside and tell them that they are secretly your favorite child, but not to tell the others. If you’re lucky they won’t compare notes until after you’re dead. If not, at least you’ll discover which of your kids can keep a secret.

In the comments, the writer responds defensively to critics, saying they must be “perfect” parents. But this isn’t about being perfect. Parenting expert and TODAY contributor Michele Borba, author of “The Big Book of Parenting Solutions,” says it’s unrealistic to treat siblings exactly the same — after all, they’re different people. But she says parents do need to refrain from comparing siblings (she’s talking about more subtle comparisons, but naming one as your outright favorite certainly qualifies)…