Parents showing favoratism with children?

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  1. Diane Inside profile image77
    Diane Insideposted 12 years ago

    Do any of you have parents like this. I love my parents but sometimes I feel like mine do this. I have no children, but both my sister and brother do. So they seem to help them all the time. My dad often goes to do maintanance around my sisters house and often helps my brother financially.

    I mentioned that my water heater went out and we need to replace it and asked my dad to help not financially just to save money so we don't have to pay labor expenses. And he just said he doesn't know anything about it. I don't believe him since he remodels peoples houses for a living. Been doing it for forty years, so I think he does know how but just don't want to help.

    It kind of hurts my feelings even though I would not tell him that. My husband also sees it and even gets mad about it, but I just tell him to let it go so as not to cause trouble. 

    I am the oldest of four. Do you think because I am the oldest he just thinks I should be able to handle things myself and the others need his help.

    1. IzzyM profile image89
      IzzyMposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      You are the eldest and you don't have children. Your parents see you as capable. You know mums and dads don't as a rule have favorites. Stop thinking of them as wonder people. They are as human as you or I, and just as likely to make mistakes.
      Your dad didn't mean to hurt you. What he was probably saying to you was "this isn't my area of expertise", instead of trying to fix it and making it worse. Y'know, maybe he's a little bit scared that he doesn't measure up to your standards! Just because he's your dad, it can still happen, especially if you have done well in life up till now.
      Talk to him. He's human after all. Tell him your worries, and let him tell you his. I bet you're not that far apart after all.

    2. profile image0
      klarawieckposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Your dad might be upset at you about something else and that's why he won't help you. It could be something totally random - something that you don't even remember or you might not even realize that bothered him at the time. It might have happened a long time ago, and he's okay with you but he might still hold the grudge. Sometimes people swear to themselves they'll never do something - and just when you think everything is fine, you ask for help and their refusal to lend you a hand gets you by surprise. Just try not to read too much into it. I'm sure he loves you just as much as his other kids. wink

    3. gmwilliams profile image83
      gmwilliamsposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      That goes with the territory of being THE OLDEST CHILD.  Oldest children are thought of as NEVER NEEDING PARENTAL HELP.  Studies show that oldest children are expected to be adults from childhood. They are believed to be little adult, not needing their parents as much as the younger children.  Oldest children were the ones who manned up very early in life.   Welcome to the harsh, tough world of the oldest child!!!!!

  2. Ohma profile image61
    Ohmaposted 12 years ago

    Diane I can see why you might suspect that dad is not being truthful about knowing how to fix your water heater or replace it but the truth of that matter is that while many people work as general contractors most general contractors sub out plumbing and electrical work. As a rule in the area I live any plumbing that is for gas utilities and any electrical work have to be performed by a certified plumber or Electrician and yes this includes basic jobs like a hot water installation.

    If there has been other cases where you have felt like this about your parents unwillingness to help you out I would suggest that you be honest and talk to them about it. You are not doing anyone any favors by not dealing with the issue.

    1. Diane Inside profile image77
      Diane Insideposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Yes there has been other cases, this is just the latest example. I can see your point about sub contracting and all that. But anyway, like I said there has been other cases. 

      I guess I don't know how to deal with it.  Every scenario I can think of to bring it up does not feel like it will work. Just bring about hard feelings.
      Or make them say I am just whining about it. 

      Mostly I feel like they do more for them because they have kids and I don't . So If I mention that then it turns into a jealousy thing.

      Its just aggrivating that they don't see it, because I know they love us all.

    2. Moonchild60 profile image71
      Moonchild60posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Hi Diane - I have to agree here.  If both you and your husband have noticed this tendency to be partial to your siblings, you need to have a good talk with them about it.  You don't want to carry around resentment and bitterness or take it out on your siblings someday even though it was not their fault.  I was a favored child and to be honest with you, I always felt guilty about it.  It was so blatantly obvious to everyone.  It is quite possible that your parents truly do not realize it.  No one can know how you feel, unless you tell them.
      Good luck to you.

    3. Patty Inglish, MS profile image89
      Patty Inglish, MSposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      In my area, most plumbing and electrical work both require a city permit that costs $75+ per job; but for a water heater, the big DIY stores will install a new one for free (no labor charge). I'd have someone other than parents do these things -- Just my preference.

      As far as favoritism, my father and his several siblings favored NO child of theirs and all the kids/cousins were miserable from maltreatment. Worst cases are one disappeared and another became intoxicated and ran his car into a utilities pole, cutting it in half and dying.

  3. Mom Kat profile image83
    Mom Katposted 12 years ago

    Both my mother and father played favorites. Being that they divorced when I was only 2 it was a real self-esteem squisher that they both favored my older sister.
    I only saw my father a few times a year. He would take my sister more often.
    He took her for a summer one year, but I was not granted the same - ever.
    He paid for her to have martial arts lessons - but not me.
    He called to talk to her. He had her over for dinner. He remembered her birthday.
    When she got married for the third time he bought her some pure bread yipper dog that cost over $3,000.

    He hasn't even met all of his grandkids that I've given him.

    As for mom:
    She bought my sister a car, while I had to work for mine.
    She paid for my sister's car insurance, while I had to pay for mine.
    She let my sister go on a date when she was 13, I had to wait until I was 16.
    She would let my sister stay home from school to "finish homework", while I had to go to school even when I was sick - I'm talking running over 100* and throwing up sick, yip, still had to go.

    I'm 34 years old & I can't remember a single time when my father told me he loved me. And my mother has said it maybe 3 times in the past 15 years - and only after I say it first.

    Needless to say, I'm not close with either of them and we only see eachother on holidays (and sometimes not even then).

    1. Diane Inside profile image77
      Diane Insideposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      wow, thats sad. Sorry your relationship is strained with you parents. But I can kind of see why.  It sucks. 
      What really sucks is that my mother always hated it when her mother did it with all her siblings, yet she does the same thing.

      1. Mom Kat profile image83
        Mom Katposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I try so hard not to allow any possible misconception of favoratism happen with my children...
        They get the same number of gifts for holidays. They get the same number of outfits for school shopping....
        I try to spend equal time with each of them.
        It is hard to find the balence between equal yet individual, hopefully I'm doing a good job at it.  I never stop trying to improve my skills as a parent.

        I don't want to look back and say "I should have tried harder."

        1. Diane Inside profile image77
          Diane Insideposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Sounds like you are doing a fine job.  At least you see what can happen and are taking steps to show them you love them all equally.  Perhaps the cycle stops with you.  Since I don't have children I can't say how I would be but I think I would try to be the best parent I could be. 

          I love to see parents like that. Really going above and beyond to show their children how loved they are. I think thats so important to raising well adjusted kids.


    2. IzzyM profile image89
      IzzyMposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Wouldn't have happened if you were one of mine! Try to forgive your parents. They are human too.

      1. Mom Kat profile image83
        Mom Katposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I have forgiven them. I know they are human & I know they did the best they could with the limited resources and knowledge they had at the time.

        Yet just as you can forgive someone for burning down a house, does not make that house rebuild its self - the damage is done.

        We will never have a close bond or relationship. Both of them made it clear well into my 20's that if there was any relationship to be had that I would be doing most (if not all) of the work to maintain it.

        I have accepted this, learned from it, grown stronger & have moved on as best as I can.

  4. Rafini profile image73
    Rafiniposted 12 years ago

    I do not understand how any parent can favor one child over another.  I don't think there's a valid reason in existence for this type of behavior. 

    As for me, I'm not sure if my mother favored my sister or not...sometimes I'd say yes, other times, not necessarily.  I'm also now old enough to understand, my parents couldn't afford to buy both of us new school clothes every year, and since I was growing into her old clothes it only made economical sense to hand them down to me.  Favoritism?  I don't think so.

    My children, however, accuse me of favoring my son with Aspergers.  They think I don't do enough to make him 'behave'.  They just don't understand that my job, as their mother, is to manage their behavior not control it.  They have to learn for themselves how to control their own behavior, and the sooner the better. hmm

    1. Diane Inside profile image77
      Diane Insideposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Having one child with a disability and other without can be difficult.  I had a cousin who had juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis, and his brother was healthy. I remember him always trying to break his arm or leg because he thought it would get him more attention.  Kids think funny things.  When he was about ten years old he did finally break his arm. I remember him running into to tell our grandma to look he finally got to break his arm showing off his cast.  Funny he felt like he got so much more attention. It didn't even phase him the pain he went through to get it.

      1. Rafini profile image73
        Rafiniposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Yeah, kids do think funny things.  I remember my daughter wanting to break a bone so her dad (after we divorced) would pay more attention to fact, her 5th grade class went skiing shortly after that, and I wouldn't allow her to participate because I was worried she would have an 'accident' on purpose.  (and it didn't help that it wasn't long after Sonny Bono died while skiing...)

    2. gmwilliams profile image83
      gmwilliamsposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      It is RIFE in multichild families. Anytime there is more than one child in the family, a child is going to be a parental favorite.  It goes with the multichild territory.

      1. theraggededge profile image96
        theraggededgeposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Disagree completely. I have three. The oldest was an only child as the other two came along much later. I don't favour any of them over the others. There are times when I detest them big_smile but, pretty soon, we're back to normal and I love them to bits.

        They are individuals and treated as such, i.e. I'm not the kind of parent who buys things for both (the ones at home) because I don't think the other should feel left out - that would be poor preparation for adulthood indeed. Some days I might favour my daughter, other days my son. It's just the way families work.

        "The harsh tough world of the oldest child'? Our oldest had as much support as he needed, as do the other two. I am an 'oldest child' too. My sister and I are loved equally by our mother.

        I think you have a very jaundiced and over-generalised view of family life.

        1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image89
          Patty Inglish, MSposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          Over-generalized, true. -- The APA, AMA, and other professional organizations see the world of the family is changing so old Birth Order material is now outdated since robust professional research in 2004 through 2014, with more research currently ongoing. The "only child" material still seems somewhat applicable. Report of "A new study is upending long-held theories about the relationship between birth order and personality" comes from University of Illinois in June 2015 (on the "Business Insider" site). Huff Post published additional research and there are many more like them. I'd say the old theories began to evaporate with Generation Y.

  5. fetty profile image68
    fettyposted 12 years ago

    Diane, you must talk to both of your parents about your feelings. You are not helping yourself here; since we are not family. Perhaps, you could have your parents over for coffee or even breakfast just the three of you. Entertain them , work up your courage and ask them, what is going on?  Maybe they aren't even aware of what is going on or what is feels like to you and your husband.

    MomKat, your parents are just plain toxic. There are plenty of books on the subject. You are a resilient person and I am so sorry that you have been treated that way. My mother played favorites that were illogical at best and very hurtful. She played these games until the moment she died. She died alone in a hospital bed. Her 'favorite' was on the way to visit her , taking her good 'ole time. Someday I may write about this , right now I'm just bitter. Best wishes for a wonderful life with your family. You sound like a wonderful parent.

    1. Diane Inside profile image77
      Diane Insideposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Yes it does seem that the one being favored takes advantage and somehow feel superior , like my time is my own, sorry fetty it must have been hard to deal with especially now that you mom has passed away.

      If you do write a hub about it, I'd love to read it.

    2. Mom Kat profile image83
      Mom Katposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, so I just look at it like this:
      my mother made me a very strong person, whether or not she intended to.

      Fetty - Thank you, I do try to be a good parent. I will never claim to be a great parent because I feel that people who think THAT highly of themselves slip back and forget that it is a never ending learning & growing experience and there is always something that can be improved.

      I am sorry that you went through difficulties as a child.  The impact is something we can never really get away from.  I wish you all the happiness in the world.

  6. Diane Inside profile image77
    Diane Insideposted 12 years ago

    Thank you all for your feedback. It is a delicate subject for me and I am trying to figure it out. It is nice to get feedback objectively.  I don't know how to bring it all up to them.  And it is hard to get any time alone with them as they always have their grandkids, my niece and nephew over. But I will work on it. I appreciate all your veiw points.

  7. Lisa HW profile image61
    Lisa HWposted 12 years ago

    Fixing a hot water is a whole different thing than renovating homes.  I think a good part of the time, what can look to grown kids (or not grown kids) like favoritism is usually something else.

  8. anonimuzz profile image60
    anonimuzzposted 12 years ago

    Every child is different, and I think their differences should always be considered in the way parents treat each one of them. In my opinion, it's healthier than sticking to a one-size-fits-all model. Unfortunately, the personalized treatment may pass as favoritism, and many times it really is. Many people say that it's irrational to believe that parents have their favorites, but I think it's real. No two relationships are the same. I myself like some of my siblings more than the others; I just don't let it show. If parents have favorites, they can't throw it in the face of anyone either, because, in the end, favoritism is only really a problem when not every child is being respected, loved and catered to as much as she needs, I think.

  9. Solaras profile image93
    Solarasposted 6 years ago

    I see such things as parental favorites playing out generationally.  In one instance three generations of  mothers have doted on their son and shortchanged their daughter - in terms of respect, love and financial support. There is almost an antagonistic relationship with the daughter.  In another instance, the middle child is the favorite for 3 generations.  People recreate what was "normal" in their childhood.

    If you want to approach your parents regarding your sense of frustration, you should begin with a clear idea of what you want from them, as the outcome or result of the discussion.  Are you just wanting more help around the house or financial support?  It seems that this is more emotionally charged for you than that.  So what do you really want them to do, and do you believe they are capable of giving you what you want. You may not want to set yourself up for defeat, if they are not capable of seeing your position. If they have lived your entire life this way, I doubt they will experience a sudden revelation. That would mean admitting they had failed you, very late in the game.


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