Your party season beauty kit, from red lipstick to shiny hair
Your party season beauty kit, from red lipstick to shiny hair

Holly O'Neill

Michael Sheen is now a ‘not-for-profit actor’ after selling 2 of his houses for charity
Michael Sheen is now a ‘not-for-profit actor’ after selling 2 of his houses for charity

Sarah Finnan

‘I was a child who received a Christmas shoebox. This is what it meant to me’
‘I was a child who received a Christmas shoebox. This is what it meant to...

Amanda Cassidy

Keep your pearly whites shining bright this party season
Keep your pearly whites shining bright this party season

Sarah Finnan

Shop Irish this Christmas: Meet Margaret O’Rourke, jeweller and owner of MoMuse
Shop Irish this Christmas: Meet Margaret O’Rourke, jeweller and owner of MoMuse

Lauren Heskin

How to approach the Santa reveal for suspicious minds (without losing the Christmas magic)
How to approach the Santa reveal for suspicious minds (without losing the Christmas magic)

Amanda Cassidy

Chris Noth weighs in on Kim Cattrall’s falling out with SJP
Chris Noth weighs in on Kim Cattrall’s falling out with SJP

Sarah Finnan

Some important tips from Met Eireann as the eye of Storm Barra hits
Some important tips from Met Eireann as the eye of Storm Barra hits

Sarah Finnan

The festive fragrances to fill your home with – or gift – this Christmas
The festive fragrances to fill your home with – or gift – this Christmas

Louise Slyth

Grieving at Christmas: ‘Lung cancer may have taken Martin but the memories of our Christmasses past will remain intact’
Grieving at Christmas: ‘Lung cancer may have taken Martin but the memories of our Christmasses...

Venetia Quick

Image / Self / Parenthood

Playing favourites: Do mothers really prefer one particular child?


By Amanda Cassidy
08th Nov 2021

PINTEREST

Playing favourites: Do mothers really prefer one particular child?

Do you have a favourite child or would you consider yourself the most-loved one? Being pre-ordained as the best comes with confidence, but also a tall pedestal

As a UK case against Prince Andrew fails at the first hurdle and another in the US looks set for trial in January 2022, it seems strange now to look back on his disastrous 2019 interview, in which he was regularly referred to as the Queen’s “favourite son”. But is this just added media furore surrounding the case or is it possible to love one child a little more than another?

It seems Christmas 2021 in the royal household will be a tense one. The 2020 exit of Harry and Meghan, Prince Philip’s passing and the ongoing trial of Prince Andrew for his involvement in Jeffrey Epstein and sexual assault allegations, as well as the Queen’s current illness, means it will likely be pretty subdued.

Prince Andrew’s scandal, arguably the most explosive wince Edward VIII’s announcement that he was renouncing the throne to marry Mrs Simpson, continues to rumble on and there’s no fact that no one can seem to quite shake. The Duke of York is regularly identified as his mother’s favourite, even The Crown touched on it in its most recent season.

But is it true, and should it even matter?

Golden child

Psychologists are pretty united on this front.

Research has shown that overwhelmingly yes, most parents do have a favourite child. From birth order to gender and how much a parent relates to their child in terms of personality means that one sibling will have pride of place in their parent’s psyche.

Despite the research, parents struggle to accept the guilt that comes with preferring one of their children over another. And even if they battle to make sure it is kept under wraps, often children will perceive preferential treatment of a sibling by their parents.

Queen Elizabeth II had four children, mother to Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. And while most view the Queen as a dedicated monarch, she is also just a mother.

Interestingly, psychologists believe that knowing you are the favoured one can lead to dark results. Unbridled confidence comes with feelings of entitlement and little grasp of the understanding that there are consequences for actions.

Preferences

“She’s my favourite,” a friend of mine mouths to me behind her four-year-old’s back. Her other children are playing happily in the room oblivious to their mother’s focused adoration. So far.

In this case, the apple of her eye is her youngest, her only girl, and while I’ve noticed her giving more affection to this particular child, I’d put it down to being the baby of the family, the only daughter.

“She reminds me of my sister,” my friend admits to me later, when the children are tucked up in bed. Her sister died from complications with a surgery when my friend was just 30.

There are reasons we connect with our children in different ways. Some stem from past experiences. Our relationships with others throughout our childhood have a significant impact on our current relationships.

We are all fallible and human. Our relationships ebb and flow. Connections change and evolve.

Consequences

Tiger Woods, an only child, has spoken about how he grew up with the psychological advantage of having known he was the favourite. “I played my own set of rules,” he famously admitted.

Bill Clinton, John Edwards and Mark Stanford are other examples of children who grew up being told they were the golden one in their families. They, arguably, developed personalities that fed their success and ultimately their failures.

But if Andrew is the Queen’s favourite child, then surely her heart must have broken even harder after the allegations surrounding his relationship with convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein emerged.

Royal or not, to love is to hurt. And that’s one very big pedestal to fall off of, especially in the eyes of your beloved mother.