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First Child and Grandchild Favouritism

posted Jul 20, 2010, 8:25 PM by Serena Beck   [ updated Jul 20, 2010, 9:30 PM ]
I know life isn't always fair and that things are not always going to be equal between siblings. However, I have sensed in my family and, my husband's family (and I'm sure we're not alone) that the first child and first grandchild are favoured over their siblings. 

Parents often unknowingly favour their oldest child by filling out that child's baby book, setting up a post secondary fund, taking more pictures of that child, keeping more of that child's toys, drawings, clothes etc.  Some people may try to justify this by saying that of course there would be more pictures of that child and a filled out baby book because that child has been around longer than the youngest child. In my opinion, this is not a justifiable excuse. 

Everyone in the family such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles remember the first grandchild's or nephew's or niece's first sleeper, first word, first kiss etc. However, if you were to ask them about these items for the youngest child, they would not remember (even though it would have happened more recently).

You may say there are exceptions to favouritism. For example it's rare that people receive a baby shower for their second, third or fourth child, but they do for the first. This may partially be due to the fact that when you are having your first child you start with no supplies. Whereas for the second and third child, you would be expected to reuse certain supplies from the first kids such as strollers etc. 

I was recently at a family event talking to some distant relatives. By the end of the conversations, I realized that no one had asked how I was doing (even though we talked about how they were doing) and we only talked about my brother, his wife and their 3 kids (who could not attend the event). My brother is 3 years older than me and I love him and I enjoy saying positive things about his family, but it was as if I didn't even exist to this person. Someone said to me "Oh yeah, I thought I recognized that guy you were sitting with." What I wanted to say was: "Yes, he is my husband and you were at our wedding 4 years ago." However, I am too polite for my own good most of the time.

Therefore, when we have children, if you want to spoil our first child, please save an equal amount of spoiling for the second child too.  I'm not saying that this is how our relatives will act when we have kids, but I have witnessed it in the past. I'm safe on my side of the family because my brother is the oldest grandchild and also had the first great-grand child. However, if we have kids first, Colin is the oldest grand-child and has the potential to have the first grandchild.  

It is also possible for the youngest child or the middle child or the 10th child to be favoured over other children too. However, more often than not it's the oldest child.

Since I grew up  being the youngest child, I am going to try to ensure that I fill out both my kids' baby books. For all the times I've hunted through my older brother's photo albums to find a picture of myself, I'll make sure that I take just as many photos of all my second child as my first. All the second and third born children out there stand up with me and demand that you get  to stay up as late as our older sibling!