Playing Favorites is Harmful in Any Family

For most parents, their relationships with their children are more important than anything else. They sacrifice their time, money and health to keep harmony and peace in their family.

When faced with making decisions most parents do their best.These decisions become more difficult and impactful when you have multiple kids.  Although sibling rivalry is expected, you as a parent may be playing favoritism with your children and not be aware of it.  Are your children trying to express his/her concerns with you?  Parents should ask themselves three important questions:

Are you willing to let go of your past hurts and failures? Parents often wonder if they are having a positive effect on their children. There are many parents who work out of guilt and shame maybe because they weren’t there as often as they needed to be.  But don’t go overboard by buying gifts for or spending extra time with one particular child.  Guilt and shame can blind parents of the needs of all their children.  Try to find a consistent balance between all of them.  You wouldn’t want and of them to feel like an outcast, because that would make it difficult for them to keep a positive attitude and high self-esteem.

Are you talking to them or at them? The nature of love is misunderstood.  Love is not only an emotion, but also an action.  Parenting is an all-day, everyday process and many parents tend to talk at their children and not to them.  Try to see things from your child’s point of view and try to find better ways to communicate with them. 

When it comes to having more than one child, it’s easy to become patient or forgiving with one child, more so than another, based on their attitudes or perceived troubles.  One child can become your favorite, without you realizing it.  I’m not telling anyone to walk on egg shells, but just be mindful of your actions because your children are.  You may love your children equally, but your actions will show who your favorite is.

Is what I’m doing today help them for tomorrow? Teaching your children responsibility with the hope they’ll become mature adults is a challenge.  This is especially hard if you believe one child is more vulnerable, which will making you think he or she needs your attention the most.

Most parents deny having favorites, but realistically you can become closer to one child than another, maybe because of who their father (or mother) is, how they look, how smart they are, or you both having common interests.  Regardless of the reason, all of your children will notice.  This may cause the “favorite” to grow up with entitlement issues that may affect his or her relationships with others, while the “less favorite” child may grow up with resentment issues and low-self-esteem. If you want your children to grow into well-rounded adults, you must take a look at your behaviors today.

Every child is different and parents must respond to those differences appropriately. By paying attention to the different ways you may treat each child, I believe many of the problems that persist long after children have grown up and moved out of the house can be reduced.

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