Parents are not supposed to have a favorite child, but I’ll tell you something, my mother certainly had one, and it wasn’t me! Don’t worry, I’m not bitter and it certainly hasn’t affected me at all. It’s not like I need constant validation or anything…

In our house, there was a firm pecking order of parental favoritism. My mother abused my older sisters. She ignored me and favored my brother. But hey, this article isn’t about me.

How do you know if you were the least-favorite child for your parents? Here are 15 signs.

15 Signs You Were the Least-Favorite Child

1. You do all the household chores

One strong sign you were the least-favorite child is if you do all the chores.

Growing up, my sisters and I had lists of chores to complete, whereas my brother only had to do one thing; take his epilepsy medication. Parents may make excuses for why they distribute chores unequally. For example, my mother used my brother’s epilepsy as the reason he couldn’t take on any housework.

2. You must look after your siblings

Would you say your parents were interested in your welfare, or did they use you to supervise their other children? Parents will often give their least-favorite child the responsibility of looking after their siblings.

But this responsibility should not flatter you. They’re using you as an unpaid babysitter. Your parents do not view you as part of the family; you are not precious like your siblings. You’re part of the help.

3. Your parents spend more on your siblings

If you are the least-favored child, I bet you can think of lots of examples where your parents spent more on your siblings. For example, weddings, babies, tutoring, birthdays, driving lessons, and so on.

Maybe your parents bought cars for your siblings and yours was a fraction of the price. Or perhaps they paid for music lessons because they wanted to encourage a talent (you don’t have a talent). If they make such an excuse, it shows they at least know what they’re doing is wrong.

4. You have rules, but your siblings don’t

Are you the only one with rules while your brothers and sisters escape punishment? Or perhaps there are ‘house’ rules, but they only get enforced if you break them? Your siblings get a free pass.

Do your siblings play truant with no consequences, but you must get grades above a B? Can they go out on a school night? Can they have friends round, but you can’t? Are you expected to complete your chores before you can go out, but your siblings don’t get any or can they skip them?

5. They spend more quality time with your sibling

Perhaps your siblings share the same hobbies and interests as your parents, so they get to spend more quality time with them.

Another sign you are not the favored child is if your parents seem more relaxed around your siblings. Maybe they laugh or smile more, or they might be in a good mood with your brother or sister but are always grumpy with you.

6. They are always comparing you to your siblings

Do you get compared to your siblings, but it’s never the other way round? It doesn’t matter what you do, you’ll never be good enough, hard-working enough, creative enough, visit them enough, you name it, you’re never as good as they are.

If you are your parent’s least-favorite child, you might hear comments like:

“You’re so disappointing. Why can’t you be more like your sister?”

“When are you going to settle down like your brother?”

7. You pay for what you want yourself

You can tell if you are the least-favorite child of your parents if you always pay for things you need yourself. Or it could be more subtle and not so obvious.

My example is a little different: I was told I had to leave school at 16 years old and work in a factory to support my brother, who my parents insisted was clever enough to go to university.

8. Your siblings get away with everything

It doesn’t matter what your siblings do, they always get away with it. What makes it worse is they’re still treated as the best child in the family.

Your parents seem to forgive and easily forget when your brother or sister land up in trouble, or they make excuses for their behavior. You, however, can do no right. And they certainly don’t bail you out if you need help.

9. Your parents don’t invite you to family get-togethers

signs of loneliness

The least-favorite child often feels like an intruder in their own family. They miss family occasions because they’re never invited. They’ll often find out about a family event afterwards. If there’s ever a get-together, they are the last person to be considered.

How does it feel to be ghosted by your parents? Maybe you are used to it by now, but I imagine it still gets to you.

10. They’re not concerned about your physical health

There are marked differences in how your parents treat you and your siblings when you’re ill. Hospital visits are infrequent when you are sick, but they make extraordinary efforts when it involves other family members. Your parents are always willing to do more for your siblings. It is as if you are just a stranger.

11. Your siblings get new stuff, and you get hand-downs

In larger families, it’s normal to pass things like clothes and toys down to the next child. But have you noticed it’s always you getting the hand-downs and not your siblings?

You might also notice that whenever your parents get a new car, TV, or other high-value items, the old ones either go to your siblings or the other grandchildren. Never to you. They treat you and your children differently.

12. They criticize you and your family

It won’t matter what you do. If you’re the least-favorite child, nothing you do will be right or good enough. And this extends to your partner and children.

You’ve made the wrong life choices, your work is easy, anyone could do it, your partner doesn’t provide for you like your sister’s partner does. However, your siblings can do no wrong. Your parents praise them while putting you down.

13. They’re less patient with you

Does it seem like your parents have the patience of a saint with your siblings, but with you, it’s a different matter? That’s a sure sign of parental favoritism.

With you, the slightest thing will set them off. However, your brothers and sisters can commit bloody murder and the consequences are little to none. But God forbid you step out of line and it’s almost comical how quickly they react.

14. Your parents always side with one sibling

You know you’re the least-favorite child by your parents if they always side with one child. Perhaps they always believe your siblings over you, or maybe they assume you’re the one in the wrong before they’ve heard the facts. Or they might play down things like bullying or teasing when it happens to you, telling you it’s character-building.

15. They reward your siblings more

Toxic Family Relationships

Have you noticed that your parents often reward your sibling’s accomplishments? Your parents quickly recognize and acknowledge not only the slightest little thing, but the most mundane of all achievements. This can range from doing household chores (Aren’t they wonderful, they do so much for me) to visiting them in hospital.

I’ll share this example with you: my mother was in a hospice for three months and I visited her 4-5 times a week. My brother visited twice, but when he arrived, it was as if royalty had turned up.

So, You Were the Least-Favorite Child?

No one likes to think they were the least-favorite child in their family. Your childhood is the time when you learn about yourself, form your identity, and relate to others through your intimate relationships.

But just because your parents treated you less favorably doesn’t mean you are any less worthy than your siblings.

This article won’t change how you feel about yourself overnight. However, it may help you understand there are many others just like you in the world. There’s nothing wrong with you. The fault does not lie with you. Your parents are responsible.



Copyright © 2012-2024 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

power of misfits book banner desktop

Like what you are reading? Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss new thought-provoking articles!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Julie

    Thank you Janey and I appreciate this information is an organized list. The truth hurts.

Leave a Reply