Recent research published in the journal Social Development, looked at how moms treat each of their kids differently—and what it found probably won’t rock your world. But it may give credence to something that you’ve been quietly wondering since you had your second baby—do parents play favorites?
Well, the study didn’t exactly answer this question, or at least not in the way you might expect. The researchers didn’t find evidence of mothers systematically treating their kiddos differently. In other words, they didn’t prove that you—or any other parent—has a favorite.
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What exactly does this study tell us then? After observing 55 families, with a total of 165 participants, the researchers behind this new study found that first-born children were more sociable and emotionally available to their mothers than their younger sibs.
Researchers observed each mother interacting with their first-born at 20-months. They went back and repeated the observation later on, when the second-born was also 20-months. Not so surprisingly, the mothers were observed playing more with their first child than with their second. Hmm. Imagine that—a mother having more time and attention to devote to her first child than to her second. Maybe that has to do with the whole attention division thing. Right?
The study also found that while the mothers didn’t really change their parenting attitudes, they were more likely to change the practical way that they parented. In other words, they did things differently the second time around, which makes perfect sense when you think about it.
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