Even though about 75 percent of parents admit to having a favorite kid, most would never dare tell their children, and even more so, tell the public. But Alisha Tierney-March isn't worried about disclosing who her favorite child is in comparison to her other three children.
Tierney-March, who lives in Sheffield, England, is a mom to 9-year-old Addison, 7-year-old Harleigh, 2-year-old Kennedie and 1-year-old Elijah. On Tuesday's taping of the British morning talk show "This Morning," she told the hosts that her second youngest child, Kennedie, is her favorite.
Her first two daughters are closer in age, so she didn't get the kind of one-on-one time that she had with Kennedie. And because the older children were at school, she had more time alone with her third daughter.
"I’ve just got that different bond with Kennedie," the mom told the hosts. "I have got such a bond with her. I'm not sure if it’s down to breastfeeding" (which she wasn't able to do with her other children).
Plus, Tierney-March added, Kennedie is "just all-round nicer to be around." Though she sees herself in her second daughter, Harleigh, who was her favorite for a while, the mom now prefers Kennedie because she's an easier child to handle. Her firstborn, Addison, was constantly screaming as a baby and the mom said she had a hard time bonding with her.
As for Elijah, Tierney-March confessed she was upset when she found out her fourth baby was boy because deep down she wanted another girl.
"I love him to pieces (and) he's a lovely baby, but again he’s hard work," she said.
The talk show hosts expressed their concern that the other siblings might grow resentful toward her and Kennedie in the future, even suggesting that the mom was causing them emotional harm.
In studies that have looked at differential parenting, researchers found that playing favorites does have undesired consequences. In 2013, a study of about 400 Canadian families showed that there are wide-ranging effects on playing favorites, and all children involved (even the favorite) showed higher rates of attention and emotional problems. In 2015, a psychologist in Utah also found that kids who thought they were getting less favored treatment, even if the parents were actually being fair, were more likely to get into trouble.
When asked if she thinks she's potentially causing future harm to her kids, Tierney-March said she honestly doesn't.
"I think they're just happy with how it is. They don't see it as a big deal. Maybe it's because they see Kennedie as a baby as well. They see that big age difference, and they just think it's just natural because she's a baby," she said.
Although her two older daughters have said that their mom plays favorites, Tierney-March emphasized that the siblings don't get preferential treatment and they all get loved equally. But people on Twitter weren't buying it.