Do you think you’re Mom’s favorite? That probably won’t change, reveals a new Purdue University study funded by the National Institute on Aging.
In a study of 406 mothers ages 65-75, some 75% still favored the same child as their caregiver seven years after identifying that child in the first place.
Who’s the favorite? The one most like Mom. According to Jill Suitor, professor of sociology and study researcher:
“These mothers are saying that if I can’t make my own decisions involving my life then who can best make these decisions for me? Who thinks like I do?”
If that kid is female, all the better, as “the mother-daughter connection has been shown in previous research to typically be the strongest, closest and most supportive parent-child relationship.” Which makes this mom of boys feel slightly wistful. And then I remember that I never have to negotiate
To the surprise of the researchers, whether a child was married, divorced, or independent mattered much less than whether that child shared Mom’s personal values.
The study also found few changes where the unfavored child became the favored one, except for whether a kid chooses to straighten up and fly right by, for instance, quitting drugs and drinking. Suitor added:
“This is an interesting change because if a child [was] engaged in deviant behaviors seven years ago but then stopped, they were even more likely to be chosen than were siblings who never engaged in deviant behaviors.”
So, if you’re Mom’s favorite, you probably always will be. And if you’re not, well, now you’ll know why.