Head of Data Services, UK

Grandparents play a significant part in our childhoods, and are often portrayed as being more lenient and indulgent with their grandchildren than they were with their own kids. Most are thought to dote on and spoil their grandchildren, and love them equally and without favouritism.

But what about those who secretly prefer one to the other? 

New YouGov Omnibus data among those aged 50+ shows that one in five (19%) of those who have two or more grandchildren say that they have a favourite.

Women surveyed with two or more grandchildren are more likely to say they have a special bond with a particular grandchild (21% vs 16% of men).

Parents are less likely to say they have a preference, with over one in ten (11%) of adults aged 50+ with two or more children saying that they have a favourite child.

To explore possible reasons that a grandparent says they have a favourite, YouGov Omnibus asked those with a preferred grandchild to provide a reason why.

Many praised their favourite grandchild for their positive characteristics, including being ‘polite’, ‘clever’ and ‘kind’. Others value their favourite grandchild for spending a lot of time with them, while being first born was also a reason that was put forward frequently.

Our survey indicates that a significant number of grandparents are harbouring something of a secret. And while we can well imagine grandparents proclaiming – in public at least - that they love all of their angelic grandchildren equally, this may not actually be the case. Perhaps our survey may lead to some awkward questions around the dinner table on the next occasion the grandparents visit.

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