Know the Effects of Parental favoritism on Children


Parental favoritism is when one child receives preferential treatment over another. Favoritism is usually in a form of more attention, support, and praise, while the other is ignored, neglected, or even criticized. The effects of parental favoritism can be far-reaching and long-lasting for children. While it may seem like an innocent act, favoritism can have serious negative consequences for the child who is not the favorite. It can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, resentment, and alienation from family members. It can also lead to behavior problems and difficulty forming relationships, both in the family and outside of it. Ultimately, parental favoritism can have a lasting impact on a child’s mental health, and overall sense of well-being.

The Effects

There are several effects on children where the parents seem to be favoring some children over others in the family. In this article, we are sharing 6 effects of parental favoritism.

1. Hurting Self-Esteem

Parents’ favoritism for children can hurt a child’s self-esteem as it gives a message that the child not favored is not as valuable as the favored sibling. This can lead to feelings of inferiority, resentment, and lack of self-worth. It can also cause the children not favored to doubt their own abilities and make them less likely to take risks or stand up for themselves. In extreme cases, it can even lead to depression, anxiety, and social problems.

2. Emotional Insecurity

Children who are not favored by their parents can be left feeling emotionally insecure. Favoritism towards one child can cause a range of emotions in the other siblings. It can lead to feelings of loneliness, and anger. It also can lead to a lack of self-confidence in the unfavored child. Favoritism can lead to depression and other mental health issues in the unfavored one. This can have lasting effects on the child’s development and relationships.

3. Unhealthy siblings rivalry

Unresolved sibling rivalry can happen in situations where there is parental favoritism for children because one of the children may feel that their parents favor the other child more. This can lead to feelings of envy, and competition between the siblings, as well as a sense of injustice and unfairness. The unresolved sibling rivalry can lead to a strained relationship between the siblings and can even lead to long-term issues with communication and trust.

4. Loss of Self-Identity

When parents show favoritism towards one of their children, the other children can feel overlooked or diminished. In some cases, it can lead to a sense of alienation from their parents, which can cause children to struggle to find and develop their own identities. They may have difficulty expressing themselves authentically and feeling comfortable in their own skin. Children can lead to feelings of competition and rivalry, which can further complicate the process of self-discovery.

5. Damaged Family Relationships

Parental favoritism for children can result in damaged family relationships in several ways. It can also create tension and hostility between siblings, as well as between parents and children who do not receive the same level of attention. It can also lead to feelings that their parents do not love them as much as their siblings. This can lead to further resentment and conflict within the family. Furthermore, parental favoritism can lead to a lack of trust between siblings, as well as mistrust between parents and their children.

6 Spoiling Children

Parents who show favoritism toward one of their children can lead to spoiled behavior in that child. The favored child may come to expect preferential treatment and may become accustomed to having their own way. The child may become demanding and disrespectful of their parents or other authority figures. They may also come to believe that they do not need to follow the same rules as their siblings or peers, furthering their sense of entitlement.


Favoritism by parents can have a lasting and damaging impact on their children. It can lead to feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and feelings of resentment, anger, and jealousy. It can also affect a child’s relationships with siblings and peers and can cause a child to mistrust and avoid relationships altogether. Parents who show favoritism can also create an environment of distrust and resentment within the family. Ultimately, favoritism can cause lasting emotional and psychological damage to a child, so it is important for parents to be aware of the potential effects that their parenting choices can have on their children.

By Deodatus R. Mgembe