Yes, Parents Do Play Favorites—And Often Love Their Youngest Kid Best

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iStock

If you have brothers or sisters, there was probably a point in your youth when you spent significant time bickering over—or at least privately obsessing over—whom Mom and Dad loved best. Was it the oldest sibling? The baby of the family? The seemingly forgotten middle kid?

As much as we'd like to believe that parents love all of their children equally, some parents do, apparently, love their youngest best, according to The Independent. A recent survey from the parenting website Mumsnet and its sister site, the grandparent-focused Gransnet, found that favoritism affects both parents and grandparents.

Out of 1185 parents and 1111 grandparents, 23 percent of parents and 42 percent of grandparents admitted to have a favorite out of their children or grandchildren. For parents, that tended to be the youngest—56 percent of those parents with a favorite said they preferred the baby of the family. Almost 40 percent of the grandparents with a favorite, meanwhile, preferred the oldest. Despite these numbers, half of the respondents thought having a favorite among their children and grandchildren is "awful," and the majority think it's damaging for that child's siblings.

Now, this isn't to say that youngest children experience blatant favoritism across all families. This wasn't a scientific study, and with only a few thousand users, the number of people with favorites is actually not as high as it might seem—23 percent is only around 272 parents, for instance. But other studies with a bit more scientific rigor have indicated that parents do usually have favorites among their children. In one study, 70 percent of fathers and 74 percent of mothers admitted to showing favoritism in their parenting. "Parents need to know that favoritism is normal," psychologist Ellen Weber Libby, who specializes in family dynamics, told The Wall Street Journal in 2017.

But youngest kids don't always feel the most loved. A 2005 study found that oldest children tended to feel like the preferred ones, and youngest children felt like their parents were biased toward their older siblings. Another study released in 2017 found that when youngest kids did feel like there was preferential treatment in their family, their relationships with their parents were more greatly affected than their older siblings, either for better (if they sensed they were the favorite) or for worse (if they sensed their siblings were). Feeling like the favorite or the lesser sibling didn't tend to affect older siblings' relationships with their parents.

However, the author of that study, Brigham Young University professor Alex Jensen, noted in a press release at the time that whether or not favoritism affects children tends to depend on how that favoritism is shown. "When parents are more loving and they're more supportive and consistent with all of the kids, the favoritism tends to not matter as much," he said, advising that “you need to treat them fairly, but not equally.” Sadly for those who don't feel like the golden child, a different study in 2016 suggests that there's not much you can do about it—mothers, at least, rarely change which child they favor most, even over the course of a lifetime.

[h/t The Independent]

We're Hiring a Videographer/Editor!

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iStock.com/filo

Mental Floss is seeking a full-time videographer/editor to join our team in New York City. This person will shoot and edit multiple videos a week for our site and other platforms, contribute to brainstorming sessions, and see each video through every stage of production to the final product. This includes:

- Pitching video ideas and planning their execution
- Shooting in studio and on location
- Lighting shoots in studio and on location
- Recording audio
- Editing video
- Creating text and basic motion graphics

Ideal candidates will be ambitious, detail-oriented, and deadline-driven, and comfortable being a key player on a team as well as managing independent projects. They will have solid technical and production skills, and are equally comfortable shooting and editing. A sense of humor, wit, and the proclivity to pitch in and do whatever needs doing to get the job done are essential.

REQUIREMENTS

- 2-4 years making short-form digital video
- Experience shooting, lighting, and audio recording in the studio and on location
- Experience editing videos
- Proficiency in Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop
- A knowledge of "what works" across platforms—but also an inclination to push the boundaries and innovate
- Strong writing skills
- Bonus points if you have animation and graphic design experience

TO APPLY

Send an email with the subject "Mental Floss Editor/Videographer" to anna@minutemedia.com. In your cover letter, tell us why you're a fit for our team and what a perfect Mental Floss video would be. Tell us about your most relevant work experience. Include a link to your portfolio and/or at least three links to short-form videos you shot or edited (specify your role). Please include your resume and salary requirements.

If we bring you in for an interview, we'll also ask you to do a video editing test. Please note that this is not a remote position; our offices are in midtown Manhattan.

America's Divorce Rate is Declining—and We Have Millennials to Thank for It

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iStock/Jason_Lee_Hughes

Millennials are reportedly killing off yet another cultural mainstay, but this time, it may be a good thing. According to Bloomberg, divorce rates are going down, thanks to the commitment powers of younger generations.

Between 2008 and 2016, the divorce rate in the U.S. dropped by 18 percent, according to a new analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Controlling for related factors like age (older people are less likely to get divorced than younger couples), the rate still dropped by 8 percent. By contrast, Baby Boomers have consistently divorced at higher rates than previous generations.

Many declines that Millennials are blamed for—like rates of homeownership or having kids—can actually be attributed to the dismal finances of a generation that came of age in a recession, is saddled with crushing student debt, and faces high costs of living and low wage growth. Divorces can be expensive, too. Yet several trends point to a higher likelihood of marriage stability for the Millennial generation that has nothing to do with finances. On average, Millennials are marrying later in life, and spending more time dating partners prior to marriage than earlier generations, both of which correlate with a lower chance of divorce, according to social scientists.

“The U.S. is progressing toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past,” author Philip Cohen writes in the paper.

Sorry, law school students, but it looks like being a divorce lawyer is going to get a little less lucrative in the future.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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