The video opens with Heta portraying a mother speaking to her eldest child: “Hey Jeff, me and your father, we’re going out for dinner. We need you to watch your little brother and sister till we get back. K? Thank you.”
Then Heta as the mother moves on to the middle child, and the way she speaks to them is immediately different than with the eldest child.
“Hey …,” says the mother as she struggles to remember the middle child’s name. “What’s your name? Jake! Whew, sorry. Sorry, darling. Me and your father are going out for dinner. Listen to Jeff, k? Cool. See ya!”
Finally, she moves on to the youngest child. And for people who believe in youngest child favoritism, this part won’t come as a surprise.
“Jennifer!” exclaims the mom enthusiastically. “My little darling star! You’re gonna be mommy’s superstar someday. Mommy and Daddy are just going out for dinner. Do you want to come?”
While these unequal parenting styles among siblings might seem like comical stereotypes, there is research to back it up.
A study from researchers at Duke University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland found that parents are harder on their eldest children and less so on their youngest. One reason for this is that the discipline of older children effectively deters the younger siblings from doing the things that got their older siblings into trouble, which can lead to parents spoiling them for their relatively good behavior.
Meanwhile, “middle child syndrome” is the idea that middle children are “invisible” and develop attention-seeking behaviors as a result. But research on this is inconclusive as there is a wide array of factors outside of birth order that influence personality development.
Regardless of what the research says, TikTok viewers were in total agreement with the depictions.
“I’m the youngest and it’s 100% facts,” wrote one cheeky family baby.
“I’m one of the oldest. I hate how the youngest gets to go anywhere [and] everywhere or they get anything [and] everything they want,” wrote an older sibling.
But it was the depiction of the middle child that seemed to resonate most among commenters.
“‘What’s your name again?’ THAT HIT TOO HARD, STOP IT,” wrote one middle child, obviously.
“I’m the middle child and this is accurate,” commented another.
Heta offered reassurance that even though his video depicted some familiar family dynamics, it’s just a comical exaggeration. “[M]y video is definitely inaccurate… [It’s] just an over exaggeration. [A]ll children should be loved equally,” he wrote in a comment.
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