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Mom's Favoritism Tied to Adult Depression

Were you the Black Sheep or your mom's Golden Child? Prior research shows that parental favoritism among siblings has negative mental health effects, and can contribute to behavior problems in children, teens, and young adults. New research demonstrates that children that perceive that their mother consistently favors or rejects one child over another are more likely to experience depression as middle-aged adults.

Human development researchers recently learned that a mother's favoritism among siblings matters to a child's well-being, even when the child becomes an adult and lives outside the home with his or her own family, as reported in the Journal of Marriage and Family. Further, it appears that it does not matter if you were the favorite or not. It is the perception of unequal treatment that has damaging effects for all children. In fact, only 15% of siblings reported equal treatment existed in their family, according to the report. The researchers state that although 70% of mothers in their study could name a child that they felt closest too, such favoritism remains a taboo in our society. The researchers suggest that new therapies for adult children and parents could help resolve such conflicts.

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