Most parents have a favourite child, and it’s probably the eldest, according to researchers.

A study conducted at the University of California shows that out of 768 parents surveyed, 70 per cent of mothers and 74 per cent of fathers admitted to having a favourite child.

A total of 384 families were studied; with all participants living in a family with two parents and two children where the children were born within four years of each other.

The parents did not specify which child was their favourite, but results from the study suggest it is the older child who is normally preferred.

All children in the study were asked if they felt their parents treated them differently, and whether this affected their self-esteem.

Younger children were more likely to report having low self-esteem caused by their parents’ favouritism than first-born children, suggesting that it is generally older siblings who receive special treatment.

Recent studies looking at sibling relationships have also found that having a younger sibling makes you less likely to be obese, and that older siblings might be more intelligent than their younger brothers and sisters. – independent.co.uk