Sibling Rivalry: Even Parents Of Adults Play Favorites

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A new study reveals that more than 60% of young adults today have received financial help from their parents. That number’s pretty high but it’s not all that surprising. What is shocking, at least to me anyway, is that many parents play favorites when it comes to helping out their adult children. In fact, parents who described their children were cheerful, self-reliant and easygoing before age 12 were more likely to give them financial gifts or loans as adults, according to lead author Patrick Wightman of the University of Michigan.

Can you imagine how awful that must make the other children feel? It’s typical behavior, it seems, but that doesn’t make it right. Of course, every family is different and has its own unique situation, but this is the first time I’ve heard of such blatant favoritism (when it comes to finances, anyway) in a large-scale study like this one.

Of the “lucky” adults (aged 19-22) receiving financial help from their parents, the average amount was $12,185. Around 42% of parents help adult children pay their bills, 35% help with college tuition, 23% help with vehicle expenses and 22% help with rent, according to USA Today.

Ironically, parents are more likely to help a self-reliant child, explains Wightman. “If they perceive one of [their] kids to have a better attitude or to be more self-reliant, that kid has higher odds of receiving this type of support,” he said.

(Photo: Julia Ivantsova/Shutterstock)