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Observer piece on favourite children

(14 Posts)
Hassled Sun 14-Sep-08 09:46:12

Following her request for help from MN here, AH has her bit in the Observer today.

It's interesting - I can't get my head around having a favourite (I keep thinking of my stepmother's classic line - "I dislike you all equally" ) and it must be desperately hard for parents who know that they do. I thought the journalist was clutching at straws when she put in her MN request, but reading the views of the mother who admits to a favourite I guess it's right that it should be discussed and acknowledged.

TheHammer Sun 14-Sep-08 09:59:12

reading that there are only two women who admitted it enough to be printed.

and note that the survey only included netmums, not what she found of mumsnet.......IIRC that is because all the responded said that they would not admit anyway (and some were quite vocal is their disapproval too towards the question).

what does that say I wonder about the differeing type of women.....hmmwink

peanutbutterkid Sun 14-Sep-08 10:45:58

Since when does something happening to 16% of mothers make it 'very common' -- the way article is spinning the story? Sounds like large vast majority either don't have favourits or wouldn't admit if if they did.

DD asks me "Who's your favourite in the house?" -- I always name myself or a pet.

edam Sun 14-Sep-08 10:50:54

I read something by a psychologist who argued parents who had favourites were reacting to the child's genotype. Sounds possible, as each child inherits a different mix of genes from the two parents.

My sister and I had sibling rivalry to an extreme degree as children, possibly because my father wasn't around much. My mother claims she must have been doing something right as we were each convinced the other was her favourite. grin

Hassled Sun 14-Sep-08 10:53:08

I am a bit hmm re the 16% figure - because the NetMums who would have responded would have included a disproportionate number of mothers who admitted favouritism. You're much more likely to respond to a survey request if you know that it is about something that directly concerns/affects you. If all NetMums had responded, I think the favouritism % would have been much lower - 1000 respondees isn't enough.

ivykaty44 Sun 14-Sep-08 10:54:59

I thought surveys had to be 3000 people to be valid?

edam Sun 14-Sep-08 11:09:34

As far as I know there's no single figure that makes a survey automatically valid. If you are surveying, I dunno, tree surgeons or people who make furniture for dolls houses as a hobby, you might be a bit pushed to find 3,000. Surveys of voting intentions often use around 1,000, IIRC.

AcquaAlta Sun 14-Sep-08 14:32:53

I love that Mumsnet is described as 'another parenting website'. They should use that as the new tag-line instead of by 'parents for parents' grin

toffeepop Mon 15-Sep-08 08:58:01

My brother in law is the favourite. My mum in law compares every thing we do to him. He doesn't work, but that's ok. He drinks too much, that's ok. If it was us we would be literally crucified, my husband is the poor soul who runs around after an 85 yr old witch who loves to torment him. She knows she does it. He does everything for her while Saint Des does nothing, but that is ok because he's busy asleep, drinking, spending her money etc. We are in the process of moving her at the moment, ironically nearer the favourite who is panicking now that he may have to take over. I have MS, my husband chronic rheumatoid arthritis. We are doing the moving while he takes her on an all expenses paid weekend. Her expense. It is heartbreaking watching a 42 yr old man bending over backwards to try and get noticed by an elderly woman who only has eyes for her eldest. The middle brother bowed out years ago and sees her once a year, & only lives 20 miles away! When she moves nearer her eldest we are bowing out too. It is too destructive. He never measures up in anything he does. His brother is funnier, better looking, better dressed, better in everything in her eyes and that is simply not the case. I wouldn't swap him for the world and yet I cannot give him what he desires which is his mothers approval.

So mothers who have favourites, I am sorry if you suffer guilt, my mum-in-law has no such feeling, but you really damage your other children if you show it. Pay attention to the other kids. They are really great too.

We are so relieved she is moving, although it is only 20 miles from us but it is only 4 miles from him and we have already read him the script. We are out, we have had 29 years coping on our own with snide comments, and downright rudeness. She wants you, not us. She will now be your burden to carry. You let her walk over us for years and said nothing despite my husbands pleas. Good luck for you will need it.

It has left me as a bystander wishing her every ill in the world and my husband is not far behind me. I have sat many a night watching him cry, and sob his heart out asking why she feels his brother is so much better that he is. And the simple fact is that my husband is 10 times the man of his brother but she is too stupid to see it and now when she has to rely on Saint Des, she will be coping alone and sorting out her affairs alone. He won't help. And neither will we. He is now feeling guilt for wanting to be rid of her!

Upwind Mon 15-Sep-08 15:09:15

"However, according to Dr Martina Klett-Davies, who is a sociologist who specialises in families and sibling relationships, favouritism can have the counterintuitive impact of harming the preferred child while helping their siblings. 'If there is a favourite child, they probably become too spoiled and find it difficult in later life,' she said. 'But the imbalance could prepare siblings for unfairness in later life when you leave the family circle by teaching them to be fighters.'"

In my experience, this is true, favouritism actually damages the favoured child rather than the other(s)

IorekByrnison Mon 15-Sep-08 15:21:05

The thread makes for much better reading than the article. Love this comment from HumphreyCushion:

' "it would be great to have a family prepared to go on the record"

Yes, the article could be framed, and would make a great family heirloom.'

ivykaty44 Mon 15-Sep-08 15:57:00

Grandma's favourite was cursed was a saying of my mothers - it was true so many times, the favoured child never really was anything special in life and often failed in lots of areas of their life.

jesuswhatnext Mon 15-Sep-08 16:05:44

my youngest db was born when i was 14 and my other db was 10 - he is the 'darling' of us all, he is my mums very favourite person in the world, (it was a difficult pregnancy and we nearly lost both of them) he has made a very good life for himself and his family, is a fantastic uncle, is great fun and always 'there' if we ever need him. he is a very rounded 33 year old now

so, all im saying is that there is always the exception to the rule

TheNaughtiestGirlIsaMonitor Tue 16-Sep-08 16:11:29

I read this in the daily mail, the same article re-hashed I presume. Whatever about the women with grown up children, I couldn't believe the woman 'Fiona' with two young children Isabel and Gregory, who was photographed with them, and admitted that she prefered Isabel........ Well, she bonded better and quicker with Isabel, and she and Isabel were a team, and Gregory was 'combaitive' and 'destructive' and 'boisterous'. Jeeeez.

What did she tell him the photo was for!? My dc1 is five and we couldn't have our photo taken without her needing to know why!? I wonder what she told him!! And somebody he knows is bound to keep that newspaper article.

Very odd to go on record admitting this. What good can admitting it do? I felt sorry for that little boy Gregory.

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