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The Favorite Child Paperback – January 26, 2010


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The Next Happy: Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward
When the best option is to let go of the life you planned for yourself and find a new path, a world of possibilities can surprisingly open up.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591027624
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591027621
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,371,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"American history is full of great achievers brought down by self-regard, fantasies of invulnerability, and indifference to the truth. Psychologist Ellen Weber Libby has witnessed such personal dramas over three decades of clinical practice in the nation’s capital and in thoughtful observation of the American scene. Now, she distills her insights in an important volume of wide interest not only to her fellow therapists but also to scholars in many fields and to everyone – parents and children – concerned about the quality of our intertwined private and public lives…."
—Robert A. Gross, James L. and Shirley A. Draper Professor
of Early American History, University of Connecticut

"Dr. Libby’s illuminating exploration and her understanding of the profound and complex issues of being a favorite child challenge us all to be more thoughtful and aware of our impact on a child’s eventual character, expectations, and performance in the world. Powerful and provocative, this is a must read."
—Ellen Schiff, PhD, psychologist in private practice, Bethesda, MD

About the Author

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

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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This book is going into my reference library!
Richard W. Gilbert
This book is amazingly insightful about how family dynamics can shape relationships throughout one's life.
Sue Pitchford
I highly recommend this book for any family -- ever if you think it doesn't apply to you.
jeri morones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard W. Gilbert on January 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this book is going to help you. Not only does it provide some answers to why some folks who appear to have it made do some pretty reckless things, but it offers insight into how early childhood experiences shape (read run) our lives. Whether you were the favorite child or not, you're bound to see some familiar stories in these pages. You don't have to be a therapist to read it, Dr Libby makes the case in plain English. I work with a lot of high performing people in close counseling. This book is going into my reference library!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jane R. Snider on January 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Favorite Child is an amazing explanation of children and family issues that all of us are affected by. Dr. Libby shares stories of families and how so many of us struggle with preferences in a family. Everyone should read this book. I highly recommend it to any parent, any daughter, any son.

Dr. Jane R. Snider
Learning Disabilities Specialist
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C Lee on December 4, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
not what I expected from the reviews or summery. I thought it terrible actually. It slightly touches on the favored child issue but repeats itself over and over and I know way more about Scooter Libby than I ever wanted to. Seems like it's just a book that name drops and makes excuses for bad behavior while droning on and on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tena on January 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr Libby has taken a topic known to all of us intrinsically, but not dealt with until now. It provides the reader, in a readable way, a path to understanding leaders of our society, as well as our own place in our original family. The book is a treasure, for the everyday reader to the therapy community. I recommend it highly!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Beverly on February 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Favorite Child" offers insights into a family issue that has never been fully explored. Favortism is brought out from under the carpet and examined for both its positive and negative implications. This book is highly readable and insightful.
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Format: Paperback
Favoritism surrounds us, everywhere and all of the time. In The Favorite Child Libby states that the favorite child complex is "made up of those conscious and unconscious behaviors enacted by all the family members in reaction to a favored relationship between one parent and one child." She explores how favoritism can either encourage self-confidence and ambition in the child or foster a sense of entitlement, a knack for manipulation, and a feeling that the favorite is not being held accountable.

Libby asserts that the favorite child complex is a pattern within families, passed down through the generations. Libby explains that favoritism is conscious and unconscious and every family member is involved. Of course, family dynamics also impact how the complex will affect the child(ren) being raised. The impacts (positive and negative) of family favoritism can be profound and play out throughout our lifetimes, from childhood through death, personally and professionally. The favoritism can be fixed permanently on one child, or fluid, rotating among the children in the family.

In The Favorite Child, Libby shares case studies with her readers, helping them to understand how the personality of a child can develop as a fixed or fluid favorite within the family. She examines both the negative and positive impacts of being the favorite through many scenarios and developmental stages. Parents should be aware of the favorite child complex. It will give them an insightful perspective on parenting, which is always helpful.

by Judy Miller
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
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This book was referred to me by a trusted friend who suggested it might help me in understanding my family, as well as, myself. How right she was! In fact, after much personal searching thru 12 step programs, therapy, reading, education, and whatever I thought might help me in my understanding of my family of origin and my own children, husband, and myself, I feel this is/was the missing link. I had never come across any information on what being "the favoriet child" can do to a person, both negative and positive, as well as their birth family and their own children. I was able to trace my mother's, my husband's, and my own family favoriet children and how it had/has effected us to this day. I am now able to understand why some decision were made and there really was no choice in our making them but the results of each of us holding a position of "favoriet child" in our individual families. I am at peace now and my search is over since I have found the missing piece of my search. I highly recommend this book for any family -- ever if you think it doesn't apply to you. I read it to see if and how it might fit with my family and found my own self, too. While it was written awhile back, I don't think time changes anything with this issue. It is still going on in families.

Jeri Morones
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent addition to the literature on the psychology of family life. While it is not an unrecognized thought that parents or siblings may favor each other differently as a normal part of family interaction, this book incisively delves into the potential complexities of this dynamic. I found the discussion of the possible gains and losses in "winning" this kind of familial competition very thought provoking. The portrayal of the burdens that may be the winner's lot, or the possibility of the favorite being spared from learning the consequences of their actions, is worth the price of the book in itself. The thoughtful discussion of the author's own family life is a remarkable illustration of the book's premise. I enthusiastically recommend this book.
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More About the Author

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.

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