Parents 'favour' youngest child

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Most parents of two children treat their youngest more favourably, according to new research.

Most parents of two children treat their youngest more favourably, according to new research.

The study of 1,803 parents shows that 59 per cent of the time, parents will subconsciously choose the youngest child over the eldest. In particular, mums and dads are more likely to side with a younger child in an argument, lavish them with more attention, let them have their own way and spend longer reading with them. Younger children also benefit from more treats and cuddles, and their parents find it hard refusing them anything they want.

Fifty three per cent of parents polled openly admitted to feeling closer to their littlest child.

Lisa Penney, spokeswoman for, which commissioned the research, said: “In the majority of scenarios, parents favour their younger children. This might be because they are the baby of the family, because they are more demanding, or because they find that children simply need less attention as they get older.”

But although eldest children are often sidelined in preference to their younger sibling, more than half of parents polled claimed to have bonded more quickly with their first child. And 64 per cent of parents feel they have more in common with their eldest child, sharing interests and finding it easier to have a conversation. Indeed, three in five parents say their elder child is more likely to confide in them, and have done since an early age.

Older children are also more transparent, with 63 per cent of parents feeling confident they know them inside out. Being the eldest also tends to mean these children are better behaved – with 53 per cent of parents finding them easier to discipline.  Older children also tend to have more money spent on them, they’re allowed to rule the roost, they have bigger helpings at dinner and usually decide what the family watches on television.

Lisa Penney says: “The research shows that there are definitely benefits to being either the youngest or oldest in the family. “Whilst two in three parents agreed that their youngest was more likely to get away with bad behaviour, 60 per cent found themselves talking about and boasting to friends about their eldest child and their achievements."

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