What Is Golden Child Syndrome: Signs & How to Deal with it

Golden Child Syndrome

Have you ever heard of the term golden child syndrome? This phenomenon, often overlooked but impactful, refers to the favouritism and special treatment given to one child within a family.

While it may sound almost idyllic to be the chosen one, the implications of this dynamic can be complex and far-reaching.

In this article, we will explore what golden child syndrome is, how to recognize its signs, and most importantly, how to effectively deal with its effects on both the favoured child and their siblings.

Whether you have experienced this firsthand or are simply curious about familial dynamics, understanding golden child syndrome is crucial for navigating its impact on relationships and individual well-being.

What is a Golden Child Syndrome Meaning?

Golden Child Syndrome

Golden Child Syndrome refers to a dynamic within a family where one child is favoured and given preferential treatment over their siblings. 

This can lead to feelings of resentment and jealousy among the other siblings, as they may feel neglected or unimportant in comparison. 

The golden child often experiences immense pressure to live up to the expectations placed upon them, which can impact their mental health and self-esteem.

This phenomenon can have lasting effects on family dynamics and individual relationships. 

The golden child may struggle with issues of identity and self-worth as they navigate the burden of being placed on a pedestal, while their siblings may grapple with feelings of inadequacy and rejection. 

Additionally, parents who perpetuate this dynamic risk creating long-term rifts between their children, as favouritism can erode trust and unity within the family unit. 

Understanding Golden Child Syndrome is crucial for addressing these complex familial dynamics and promoting healthy relationships among siblings.

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What are the Signs of Golden Child Syndrome?

A family dynamic in which one child is favoured and viewed as superior to their siblings is known as “golden child syndrome.”

The favoured child may suffer long-term consequences from this, as may the other siblings, who might feel abandoned or excluded.

Excessive praise and attention

The favourite child receiving excessive praise and attention is one of the main indicators of Golden Child Syndrome.

Even the simplest accomplishments are frequently showered with praise, awards, and recognition. The child may develop an exaggerated sense of entitlement and self-importance as a result.

Unrealistic expectations

The unreal expectations that their parents or other caregivers place on the golden kid frequently cause them to feel burdened.

They may be held to high standards in all spheres of their lives, including extracurricular activities, athletics, and academics. The child may experience extreme strain and stress as a result.

Lack of boundaries

A common feature of golden child syndrome is the absence of limits for the preferred child. They might be able to get away with acting in a way that their siblings would not. This may lead to a disdain for laws and penalties as well as an entitled mentality.

Sibling rivalry and resentment

The golden kid may cause jealousy and animosity among the other siblings in the household. They can believe that, in contrast, their needs and accomplishments are underappreciated or ignored. A sense of injustice and damaged relationships may result from this.

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Emotional manipulation

The golden child may occasionally be employed in the family as a means of controlling emotions. They might be urged to satisfy their parents’ emotional needs or to support one parent over the other.

The youngster may be severely burdened by this and have their emotional development disrupted.

Lack of empathy

The golden child may become insensitive to other people as a result of receiving so much attention and praise.

It could be difficult for them to relate to or comprehend the feelings and experiences of their classmates or siblings. Later in life, this may make it more difficult for them to establish good connections.

Difficulty with criticism

Being praised and adored all the time can make it difficult for the golden child to take criticism. When given constructive criticism or feedback, they could become dismissive or defensive. Both their career and personal development may be hampered by this.

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Self-esteem issues

Ironically, the golden kid may struggle with self-esteem even though they are the preferred child. They could grow to fear failing or become obsessed with being accepted and validated. This may result in a brittle perception of one’s value and an inability to handle failure.

Difficulty with independence

The favoured youngster may experience delays in becoming independent due to the Golden Child Syndrome.

They could grow unduly dependent on their parents or other caretakers to help them make decisions and solve problems. This may make it more difficult for them to deal with adult obstacles.

Struggle with identity

The expectations and projections of their parents or other primary caregivers may have had a major influence on the golden child’s sense of self, leading to identity struggles. It could be difficult for them to define their ideals, objectives, and desires.

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How to Deal With Golden Child Syndrome

When one child in a family is preferred and given greater treatment than the others, it’s known as “golden child syndrome.” The other siblings may become resentful, jealous, or have low self-esteem as a result of this.

Here are some ways to help you get through this difficult dynamic whether you know someone who is or if you are experiencing Golden Child Syndrome in your household.

1. Express your emotions

Identifying and validating your feelings is crucial when managing Golden Child Syndrome. It’s normal to feel hurt, rage, or frustration when you think someone is treating you unfairly. Allow yourself to experience these feelings and realize that they are normal.

2. Express yourself honestly

To resolve any family conflict, open and honest communication is essential. Choose a time when you can talk to your parents or the individual who prefers the golden child calmly and suitably.

Express your feelings about their conduct using “I” phrases without placing blame or accusations on them. This can assist them in realizing how their actions affect you and your siblings.

3. Look for assistance

It can be quite difficult to deal with Golden Child Syndrome, therefore, it’s important to get help from therapists, family members, or trusted friends.

Finding a guide or an outside perspective when negotiating these complicated family dynamics might be greatly aided by speaking with someone.

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4. Pay attention to self-care

Putting your health first is crucial when managing Golden Child Syndrome. Make time for enjoyable self-care activities that support your positive outlook.

Take up a hobby, work out frequently, practice mindfulness, or partake in relaxing and rejuvenating activities.

5. Establish your persona

Concentrating on creating a distinct identity for yourself is one strategy to combat the detrimental impacts of Golden Child Syndrome. Investigate your hobbies, abilities, and interests. Establish and pursue your objectives.

Developing a self-worth that is unaffected by the dynamics of your family can help you feel more confident and less biased.

6. Promote wholesome bonds between siblings

Attempt to cultivate a positive sibling connection with the golden kid rather than allowing envy and anger to ruin it.

Prioritize establishing common ground, participating in activities together, and encouraging each other’s successes.

Developing a good rapport with your sibling can assist in mitigating certain detrimental consequences associated with Golden Child Syndrome.

7. Develop empathy

Try to show empathy for the parents involved as well as the golden child, even if it might not be easy. Acknowledge that the dynamics within the family may be influenced by their challenges and fears.

Gaining insight into their viewpoint will enable you to address the circumstance with empathy and discover a way to move past it.

8. Establish limits

It could be essential to establish limits if the partiality keeps having a detrimental effect on your well-being.

This could entail setting clear expectations for how you want to be treated or restricting contact with the person who prefers the golden child. Establishing limits can improve the dynamic in your family and safeguard your mental wellness.

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9. Get expert assistance if necessary

It could be helpful to get professional assistance if the impacts of Golden Child Syndrome are having a major negative influence on your relationships or mental health.

A therapist can offer direction, encouragement, and coping mechanisms to manage the difficulties brought on by this dynamic. They can assist you in resolving difficult emotions and creating more constructive coping strategies.


In conclusion, Golden Child Syndrome is a complex and often overlooked issue that can have long-lasting effects on both the favoured child and their siblings. Recognizing the signs of this dynamic, such as excessive praise and favouritism, is an essential first step in addressing the problem.

Parents and caregivers must promote a sense of fairness and equality within the family unit, fostering a healthy environment for all children to thrive. Seeking professional help from therapists or support groups can provide valuable guidance and support for families dealing with Golden Child Syndrome.

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