In the German language, there is a term for the youngest member of a family: "Nesthäkchen".

Unfortunately, on Wikipedia I can't find any more details - only the book/film with the same title has a Wikipedia page.

I have seen it several times where the youngest team member gets special treatment. Mostly the older team members are kind to the youngest member, and thus the youngest member has more freedom/rights than the other team members.

What is this phenomenon called in psychology?

BTW, I guess this phenomena is valid for many mammals.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Not all psychological phenomena needs a specific term in psychology other than the general term already applied. Do you think there should there be a specific term other than favouritism? If so, can you please provide some insight into what makes you think that? $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2019 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers favouritism is abstract. Some people like this, some people like that. Have you ever seen an old man setting a park bench and then a kindergarten groups passes by? Before he looked half dead, and suddenly there is a smile on his face and his eyes are alive. Yes, it is favouritism, but a favouritism that is deep in our DNA (archaic). Of course several things leading to favouritism are deep in our DNA. I am just curious what kind of favouritism exists and where they come from. $\endgroup$
    – guettli
    Dec 6, 2019 at 8:54

1 Answer 1


I'm not aware of any special technical term for such a phenomenon, though colloquially the youngest child may sometimes be called "the baby of the family". Furthermore, I'm not aware of this phenomenon existing outside of family dynamics - it might be just your personal experience. In the workplace for example, the youngest members of a team may be treated as inexperienced or incompetent, as competition or threat, or as subordinate or servant. Favouritism may equally be shown to the eldest, most senior, most productive, or most visionary members of a team.

Within families, a number of surveys have suggested that parents do appear to favour their youngest children. However, a few interpretations of this phenomenon are possible. One interpretation is that younger children demand and respond to preferential treatment over their older siblings (eg, Jensen & McHale, 2017). Another is that younger children are easier to manage than older children, and in fact they receive no better treatment than their older siblings did at the same age (eg, Mumsnet, 2018). It is also possible that there is a cuteness effect:

... human adults react positively to infants who are stereotypically cute.

Also of note: Being the youngest child does not grant any special advantage later in life.


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