The Favorite Child: How a Favorite Impacts Every Family Member for Life

Front Cover
Prometheus Books, 2011 M02 2 - 302 pages
For more than thirty years, veteran clinical psychologist Ellen Weber Libby has been helping successful, often-powerful clients in Washington, DC--a place known for its outsized personalities--deal with their personal problems. One pattern that has emerged out of some 60,000 hours of therapy is what she calls "the favorite child complex." In this groundbreaking book, she describes in intimate detail how being the favorite child can confer both great advantages and also significant emotional handicaps. While many of Dr. Libby's clients are successful because of their favorite-child status--they have been brought up to believe that they can do anything and are unafraid of challenges-- they suffer from an array of personality problems. Behind the outward appearance of money, power, charm, and attractive looks, they feel an intense pressure to maintain the fašade at all costs. Sometimes their ability to tell the truth becomes shaky; sometimes their intimate relationships are elusive. In a series of chapters that offer insightful vignettes from actual therapy sessions (the identities of clients are disguised), Dr. Libby explores why parents, consciously or unconsciously, choose a favorite child, as well as the long-term effects of being the favorite son or daughter of either or both parents. She also discusses family situations where parents have successfully made each of their children feel favored and have instilled in their children a healthy emotional balance. She details parental skills and family processes that increase the likelihood of this type of success and that, most importantly, reduce the risk of the favorite child's curse--power corrupted. Illuminating for adults trying to come to terms with their own emotional baggage as well as parents seeking the best way to rear their children, The Favorite Child makes for rewarding reading.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Preface
9
Every Family Has Its Story
27
Known to All
45
The Favorite Child Complex
65
Theyre All My Favorites
99
Rewards and Risks of Being the Favorite
123
CHILDRENS STORIES
151
Fathers Favorite Son
153
Mothers Favorite Son
199
Mothers Favorite Daughter
213
The Overlooked Child
241
Conclusion
257
Suggested Readings
275
Notes
277
Index
283
Copyright

Fathers Favorite Daughter
179

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Ellen Weber Libby, PhD (Annapolis, MD), is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been in private practice in Washington, DC, for over thirty years. Her professional experience includes the position
of clinical director of a mental health center serving a three-county region and service on the faculty at
the University of Maryland where she had significant responsibility for clinical training
of students. Dr. Libby writes a blog for Psychology Today called "The Favorite Child": http: //www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-favorite-child

Bibliographic information