You’re My Favourite – Do Parents Prefer One Child Over Another?

fave“You’re my favourite” is a catch phrase my daugher has picked up from Bruce Forsyth’s time on Strictly Come Dancing, it is now used with annoying regularity between her and Mr B, whenever we are having a family discussion where they inevitably take each others sides.

My son and I just look at each other and roll our eyes at the pair of them, it’s all taken in good humour, because obviously parents don’t have favourites, do they?

Well yes they do – sometimes!

My mum makes no bones about the fact that her son, my eldest sibling is her favourite, he is her first born and only son and is jokingly referred to in our house as the prodigal son, so much fuss is made of him when he returns to the family home.

Does it bother me? No, well ok maybe there are times it has a little but on the whole not really, my mum has done so much for me and my children, that I know with complete certainty that I am loved. We see or at least text, email or speak on the phone to each other most days, she is the one who is there when my children are ill and I have to go to work or when I need parenting advice/help or just a moan. So if she has a soft spot for my brother who she doesn’t get to see as often due to geographics then so be it. I of course though would never have a favourite, would I?

son

Well no I didn’t think so either, when my daughter was born, like most parents I couldn’t imagine loving anyone else as much, when I was expecting my son I was wracked with guilt that I would be starving my daughter of my undivided attention. As it is I found out when my son was born, yes you can love another child just as much as the first, but can you love one more?

Both my children are (I think) relatively well behaved, loveable children, but they are different. My daughter is the more sensible of the two, she does well at school, is confident and sociable, she never has to be asked to do something twenty times unlike her brother, she rarely has to be told off for misbehaving, fidgeting or being too boisterous (again unlike her brother), in many ways she is pretty close to the model child, so why then would I appear to favour her brother?

fave1

Now don’t get me wrong this is definitely not something I did consciously though there was a niggle at the back of my mind but it took Mr B (in a fit of daring) and my best friend (in a fit of alcohol) to point the fact out to me that from outside appearances my son was my favoured child. I was shocked, upset and at first in denial but I knew deep down they had a point. The fact was I had more time, more patience and more affection for my son (I know I’m not proud).

Let me first of all say that no I do not think I have a favourite child, I did however have a child I found easier to relate to and in doing so was guilty of giving out the impression that he was preferred to his sibling, yes I hang my head in shame at the idea I could have had let my children think this.

My son is cuddly (my daughter was never a touchy feely child), he is loud and whacky (and with it sometimes extremely annoying) and full of positive energy which is something I empathise with, so even after telling him to sit still, or quieten down repeatedly while his sister did as she was told I would still crack into a smile as he came out with some daft expression or threw his arms round me, while brushing his sister off for seeking attention.

bad

My daughter does not always show enthusiasm in the same way my son and I do, she is less energetic and I found that hard to relate to, if she didn’t jump at a suggested activity I would think her moany or ungrateful and showed it in my response to her.

So confessions made (and yes I know they are awful). Once the facts had been pointed out to me, and I’d taken it on board out the next job was to confront the issue, and I think I have.

My children are there own individual people and I have tried to accept that and encourage it, my son loves cuddles, my daughter far more appreciates you sitting down and giving her some undivided attention while she sings you her latest song or puts on a play. My son likes to get out on a bike, or kick a ball, my daughter would rather get the art kit out, so I try and make sure I do both in as equal measures as I can.

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Bonding at Hairpray

As my daughter gets older she is developing a fashion conscience, and though no fashionista myself we have enjoyed girly shopping trips and I have tried to give her some hints and tips she may regret that later), we both love musicals and have had great outing to Fame and Hairspray.

I think (hope) I have managed to repair any damage caused by my previous behaviour  and that neither of my children will ever feel they were favoured, but it has taken time and effort.

So back to the question? Do parents have favourites? Well yes I think sometimes they do, they may not mean to, or even want to but it can happen and a conscious effort is needed to try and alter that behaviour, I hope I’ve done it!

Binky Linky
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10 thoughts on “You’re My Favourite – Do Parents Prefer One Child Over Another?

  1. I have to be honest, I find the idea if a parent favouring one child over the others pretty awful. I think growing up knowing that you parent or parents preferred your sibling would have a oretty devastating impact on your self esteem.

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    1. I agree to an extent for a parent to show favouritism to a child is not good for all concerned, however in real life I don’t know if it’s always that easy I wonder how many parents would say in their heart of hearts that they had never favoured one child over another even if it wasn’t always the same one, maybe none but maybe not, I think the important thing is to recognise if you are showing favouritism and amend your behaviour.

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  2. I can’t really say what I would do as I one child, Boo. I cannot imagine loving anyone as much as I love Boo and fear that if we did have another that I would feel bad at the thought of Boo losing some of my attention. But I read posts where I am constantly reassured that the love is multiplied etc.
    I would find it really unconformable to think that I was giving out the impression that I had a favourite if we did decide to have another child. But I think what you explain is different, you can treat children differently but fairly… from what you explain you have two very different children who like and need different things and you provide those things for both of them. I do think that it is good that you are working on making sure treating them differently (in tune with their own needs) is not mistaken by them as favouritism .
    My mum treated my brother and I fairly and I don’t know if she has a favourite but she has never hinted at it in any way. I personally would be devastated to find out that my mum had a favourite and it was my brother. It was bad enough to deal with the fact that my father (my parents split when we were young) definitely favoured my brother, though active choices of leaving me out, buying more for him for Christmas, making more of an effort with him, helping him out when he went to uni, running off abroad 3 days before my wedding instead of attending… (long story).
    Anyway enough of my rambling. A very brave and honest post, thank you for sharing

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    1. I know what you mean when you have one child I honestly felt awful when I got pregnant with my son, much as he was planned I felt so bad for taking away some of my love for my daughter, but like you say from reading other things it doesn’t work like that. How horrible for you with what you went through with your dad. I think with my mum it’s different it’s almost a family joke about her favouring my brother but she doesn’t actively treat us differently like you have described, not sure I could deal with that. Thank you for your comments and for sharing some of your story (off to read some more 🙂 )

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  3. A thought provoking post. At the moment I only have one child, but we are trying for another one, so the question of favouritism is playing on my mind.
    Well done for taking on board that there is a problem and making an effort to change things. That’s what being a great mum (and a great person) is about xx
    #binkylinky

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