Playing Favorites

Never mind what your parents told you. They had a favorite child — and if you have kids, so do you. Why it's hardwired into all of us

Photo-Illustration by Andrew Eccles for TIME

There's sweetness in the lies parents tell their kids, which is a very good thing, since they tell a lot of them. Yes, that indecipherable crayon scribble looks exactly like Grandma. No, I didn't put that tooth-fairy money under your pillow. The fibs — nearly all of them harmless — may differ depending on the family. But from clan to clan, culture to culture, there's one tall tale nearly all parents tell, and they tell it repeatedly: "We do not have a favorite child."

Mom and Dad will say it...

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