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80% of moms admit favoring 1 of their kids

If you ever suspected that Mom liked one of your brothers or sisters better than you, you may have been right, according to a new study.

The study, to be released next week, found that 80 percent of mothers surveyed favored one child over the others. While most grown children instinctively felt that, they weren't sure which sibling Mom liked best.The study surveyed 30 mothers aged 65 to 75 and their children in the Boston area.

Co-researcher Jill Suitor, a visiting sociology professor at the University of Toronto, told the Canadian Press news agency that most mothers reluctantly admitted having a favorite child.

"You think of family violence and child sexual abuse as big secrets in families. But it's amazing to me how much more hesitant people seem to be with talking about favoritism among their children," Suitor told the news agency.

Favored children usually have problems beyond their control and may need special attention, the researchers found.

Reasons listed by mothers for choosing a favorite ranged from special feelings for children who had been involved in accidents to feelings that they were lonelier than their siblings.

The study also found that children who created their own problems were often not their mothers' favorites. "Kids who have a lot of trouble with the law or alcohol or drugs - those problems tend to reduce closeness," Suitor said.

The study showed there was little friction among siblings as long as there was enough love to go around.

What about those who knew they were Mom's favorite?

"They sort of stated it factually. There wasn't any sense of being boastful about it," Suitor said.