Parental Favoritism

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  1. gmwilliams profile image83
    gmwilliamsposted 12 years ago

    When you were growing up, were you your parents'  favorite or unfavorite child.   If any of the aforementioned applied to you, were you affected positively or negatively by the experience.   If you have children,  do you have any that you consider your favorite and/or unfavorite?

    1. tobey100 profile image60
      tobey100posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Sounds odd but I think most parrents have a so called 'favorite'.  I have five boys and my two youngest have become my 'favorites' in a way.  Not for any special reason I can put my finger on.  Just sort of happened.

  2. cyoung35 profile image82
    cyoung35posted 12 years ago

    I think as a parent you look at the older siblings as they should know better and tend to favor the younger ones. In reality my kids are 2 entirely different personalities and I love them both the same. I have to admit that one is easier to talk to than the other but that doesn't make them my favorite.

  3. Rafini profile image70
    Rafiniposted 12 years ago

    How can a parent choose one child over another?  I don't understand it, not at all.  But I've seen it happen, growing up and then again in my ex-husbands family.  In both instances, the eldest child was favored.  Not a fun reality for the younger siblings.

    As for me and my children, no favorites here although I've been accused of favoring my son with Aspergers.  Sorry, but I'm not a sink or swim parent/person.  I believe in giving assistance to those who need it and expecting those who can to do what they are capable of. 

    If anyone were to take an honest look at how I've dealt with my kids they'd accuse me of favoring the youngest.  Why?  Because he actually asks for the things he wants and doesn't throw a fit when I say no.  Also, since he's the youngest, he bore the benefits of still being a minor (as my only child still in school) while I was employed at my best paying job ever.  (meaning he didn't suffer as much as the older two, he didn't have to do without as much as they did)

    I personally think if a parent favors one child over the other then that parent wasn't ready to have children.  I find no excuse for it whatsoever.  (sorry, don't mean to offend anyone - my personal thoughts are, of course, based on my own experiences with the topic)

    1. gmwilliams profile image83
      gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      It is quite natural in multichild families for parents to have a favorite child.   It is totally unrealistic for parents in multichild families to treat all their children equally.   Furthermore, the larger the family, the more prevalent favoritism is.

      Oldest children are the least favorite children by their parents and middle children tend to be unfavored and ignored for one reason or another.  It is youngest children are the family favorites because they are seen as innocents and the babies to be cherished and protected.   

      Children are favored by their parents because they probably possess characteristics which are stellar or different from that of the family.   There are children whom their parents consider to be full of promise and potential and those children are groomed by their parents to be great successes in life.  Parents also favor a child because the child is more like the parents in looks and characteristics than the other children in the family.  Sometimes, the parents just plain like a particular child better than others in the family.  What else can I say?

  4. cheaptrick profile image75
    cheaptrickposted 11 years ago

    Parents always have a favorite.It's kinda like an artist looking at his/her paintings.
    I have two kids;I've always favored the one Without the horns,tail,and pitch fork.I should lol hear but I don't have the energy.

  5. kerryg profile image81
    kerrygposted 11 years ago

    If my parents have a favorite, they have done a good job of hiding it.

    There was blatant favoritism all over the place in my husband's family when he was growing up, though. He himself seems to be the stronger for it, but it really screwed up at least one of his siblings, and several cousins.

  6. tobey100 profile image60
    tobey100posted 11 years ago

    I believe its perfectly fine to have a favorite if you have more than one.  Just don't tell your offspring which one it is.  Keep 'em on their toes.

  7. mwales28 profile image60
    mwales28posted 11 years ago

    It is just me and my sister and she was favored more by other family members over me but to our mother there was no favoritism.  This is the harsh reality of our situation, she didn't raise either of use so in a sense we were treated equally although we were both abandoned by her. 

    I have only one child and don't have to worry about favorites but I have two younger cousins that I am very close to and their parents have a favorite.  In my opinion it is one of the worst possible things you can do to a child.

    Don't get me wrong you might have a better relationship with one child or what seems like a stronger bond but I do not believe one should be favored over the other.  My cousins are now 16 and 19 and they have this genuine hatred towards each other and that rift between them was created by their parents. I am 10 years older than the oldest so I kind of grew up with them and they both come to me about anything and everything and they respect me like I am a parent or something so I know the ins and outs of their relationship.  I have spoken to my aunt and uncle on many occasions about it and they don't try and it pains me to see the oldest go through what he does.  It is also hard for me not to favor him because he is so unfavored by his parents. 

    Its just unfair and I respectfully disagree with anyone who says it is okay because kids measure the love they receive, you know how kids are at Christmas, it doesn't matter that you bought one a $300 BMX bike and the other a crap load of video cames, they look at how many gifts they got. 

    I send my kid to school for his education and to help build his social skills and to be diverse and all the other crap associated with growing up and interacting with other people.  However, the beginnings of those interpersonal skills start at home.  I don't think its healthy to a childs growth, self esteem, or anything to feel inferior in a place where they should feel loved and welcomed.

    1. gmwilliams profile image83
      gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      What you have elucidated is so true.  However, the issue of favoritsm and being an unfavorite child is totally rife in families where there is more than one child.  The only way a parent does not practice favoritism is to have an only child.  If a parent has more than one child, there is no escaping the fact that there will be a likelihood of he/she liking or disliking one child more than the other children!

  8. Lisa HW profile image63
    Lisa HWposted 11 years ago

    People who have more than one child generally know that it's entirely possible (and most often the way it is with most parents) to absolutely love all the children equally.  Well adjusted, mature, parents aren't looking for (or impressed by) little clones of themselves or people who will make up for whatever they, themselves, lack (etc. etc.)

    People who have one child will often tell you that they can't imagine how they could love another in the same way, and yet when they do have a subsequent child (and others beyond the second one) they discover how they feel exactly the same about each one that comes along.

    Often, what happens is that what LOOKS LIKE favoritism is something else.  For example, children of different ages get different types of "special treatment" or attention at different times.  A child with health problems may seem favored over a less worried about healthier one.  A child who has trouble making friends outside may be one parents spend a little extra time trying to build up that child's self-esteem (that type of thing).

    The trouble is, people who don't have more than one child (or people who are themselves children or teens) have only the frame of reference of someone without more than one child.  So, all they have in their "pool of reference" when it comes to guessing about why parents do what doesn't look equal, is that easy-to-blame thing of "favoritism".  Even people whose children are still very small haven't seen "how it can work" the way people who have raised multiple children know (and have seen) how it all works (and how so often what could appear to someone less knowledgeable as "favoritism" is most often something else entirely).

    Someone I know has said how her daughter's husband couldn't imagine she could be telling the truth when she said she loved all three of her kids in the exactly the same way.  He had one child (and a baby) at the time.  Once his second child came along he said, "I used to think you were just saying that, until I had another child, myself.  Now I know how it really is."  This was someone who had lived to be about forty without finally seeing for himself how parents do, in fact, love their children in the same way.  He now has four children of his own.  Of course, the percentage of the living population who has had, and raised, more than one child is low compared to the percentage that has not - so convincing people who can't believe that most parents don't have favorites is an uphill battle.  Besides, there are some who do have favorites and who apparently need to think that "everyone else" does as well, so that doesn't help either.

    1. gmwilliams profile image83
      gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Lisa, I understand what you have said.   I concur with you on some points; however, the overwhelming majority of parents either overtly or covertly practice favoritism in multichild families.  It is only human nature on the part of the parents and a natural fact of life.  Despite of all the protestations that parents say that they treat all their children alike, such is not the case and the children instinctively know this.   

      For example, one child can get away with committing the same offense that another child would be severely punished for.   A second case in point is an aging parent leaving one child a hefty inheritance while leaving another child near to nothing due to parental like of the first child.   Or a mother has two daughter and treats the beautiful and extroverted daughter more favorably, gloating over her than the more introverted, plain, and studious daughter.  The only children who are not subjected to parental favoritism are only children period!

      1. Lisa HW profile image63
        Lisa HWposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        gm,  I still don't accept that it's "the majority" who have favorites.    What you say can/does exist, but the the other angle to something like one kid's being punished more can be something like this:  A first born kid comes along, and parents think what he did "was the worst thing in the world".  My parents did that when my very well behaved older sister put on lipstick that she wasn't allowed to wear on the way to an eighth-grade dance.  They weren't the punishing sort, but they went on and on about disappointed they were that she'd "do something like sneak behind their back" and do what she knew they said they didn't want her doing.  Four and a half years later I came along, and as I approached my thirteenth birthday my mother raised the issue of wearing "a little bit of light pink lipstick" if I wanted to, once I turned thirteen.  They'd learned a little more about how young teen girls are and that it's normal for them to want to wear lipstick to a dance.   With me, my first child was one that I secretly thought may have "a problem" because keeping his bedroom neat was such a challenge.  I didn't say anything to him (other than ask him to pick up, or else have him help me clean up the room when it was clear the job was too overwhelming for a five-year-old, for example).  Then, I saw a few of the rooms of different friends' kids, and eventually had two more children of my own, and figured out it was just what most kids are like.  Then, I felt bad to know I'd even secretly wondered if he had  "ADD or something" (as I'd wondered).

        Another angle to something like the inheritance angle you mentioned might be that the parent thinks one kid is "all set" financially, but knows another struggles, and figures the other kid will understand.  OR, the parent thinks one kid has given up something like work time to care for him/her, and wants to pay back for that - that type of thing.

        With something like the daughter example, one daughter may be "all into the looks and attention thing" (which is why she gets all dolled up and loves the attention).  The other may not be into being dolled up and/or getting all kinds of attention for her looks.  Kids differentiate themselves.  If a younger sibling looks at an older one and, say, one parent and sees how they're "two peas in a pod", the younger one may think, "I don't want to be like that or a part of that whole thing.  I'm me.  I'm different."

        Parents sometimes do things like worry that a more academically inclined child gets all the "accolades", so they'll make a bigger deal out of what the other child (the more attractive looking daughter, for example) in order to emphasize what she does have.  They do the opposite too.  If one kid gets all the attention for being a great student, they'll make a big deal over the kid who's more of an athlete.  Parents do this too:  Say a parent was an older child in the family, they may worry more about how a new sibling will affect the first child; and therefore seem to "favor" that child out of not wanting him to "take a backseat" to the baby.  On the other hand, a second-born parent may worry more than a second-born child will feel "second" - so maybe a parent will angle things in a way that make it look like he favors the second child.  It's not that they have a favorite.  They often just do things from a frame of reference that makes them see some things as more of potential issues than a parent with a different frame of reference from his own situation would.  The nature of the child plays a role too.  Some kids are happy to get attention.  Some hate it.  Some love having parents do all kinds of things for them.  Some feel a fierce need to be independent and see having someone do some things as "being underestimated".  Parents grow.  Kids grow.  The number of kids, the financial situation of parents, who's working and who's staying, etc. etc. mean dynamics shift in any family.  Grandma who may have paid a lot of attention to that second-born child dies, so when a third-born comes along parents may pay more attention to him (because they knew when the second-born was his age he had the additional extra attention of Grandma). 

        I can tell you for a fact that it is not correct that "the only children who are not subjected to parental favoritism are only children period!"   That's just not true.  Again, while some parents will even say they secretly have a favorite; most of the time it's a matter of what appears to be favoritism to someone who doesn't fully understand what he's seeing, when it's really something else that's actually "completely innocent".

        When it comes to human beings there is usually no "period".  There's too many individual dynamics in families, between individuals, and with the changes that can happen over the years.

        Adding "period" to the end of an incorrect assertion doesn't make it the statement true.  It just makes it clear that the person isn't willing to consider the possibility that his assertion may be not be entirely correct.  hmm

        A lot of people in the world have "issues" (and sometimes serious ones) because they've incorrectly misinterpreted something their parents have done/said "all their lives".  In those minority of cases when parents are actually "guilty as charged", nothing much can be done.  What's such a sad thing, though, is that so often people grown up "with issues" over things they believe about their parents that aren't even true.  (Like that their parent "always loved their little brother more").

        Suggesting that what parents who say they have no favorites are doing is nothing more than a matter of  "protestations" that are not true is not understanding the nature of love that normal, well, adjusted, parents have for each of their children.  It's essentially imply that those parents are either lying or deluding themselves or too stupid to know how they feel and what they're feeling.

        Love isn't a "bigger form of 'like'".    We may like, say, one cell phone better than another, one car better than another.  Love is different (even "milder" love).  Once the "love" factor gets introduced, how we approach it from the heart is different.  For example, I can't even name one favorite song, music genre, kind of meal/food, or season because I have some "mild form of love" for a number of any of them and for different reasons (while also, for some of the same reasons).  Love for each child is like yet another whole universe of the most powerful thing in the world washes down around us, and at the same time every cell in our being brightens up and adds to whatever that "universe" already is.  smile  It happens with each child, and it keeps happening as they grow.  If there are three kids in a family and the one that likes food better than the other tends to always get the last cookie, or the one that enjoys having her picture taken more than the others shows up more in pictures, things like that are pretty insignificant if/when people understand how a parent loves well enough.  One reason there's so often so little understanding of how parents love is that it's not something that can easily be conveyed in words or understood by people like kids who haven't yet raised their own kids (or by those parents who, for some reason, don't have quite the same, whole, kind of love for their child/ren - but they're not the majority of parents).

  9. Glimmer Twin Fan profile image96
    Glimmer Twin Fanposted 11 years ago

    I have one brother and, while I know that my parents love us both unconditionally and with all their heart and soul, there has always been a special bond between my mother and my brother and me and my father.  That being said, I don't think me or my brother has ever felt slighted by that, but we both are aware of it. 

    I have one daughter so it's not an issue with us.

  10. tsarnaudova profile image72
    tsarnaudovaposted 11 years ago

    I don't know whether my parents had a favourite between my sister and me when we were kids. But in the last 10 years I feel that somehow they are more concerned about her. She has certain problems with her family, with her job, and with numerous of other things. I am more reserved and self-controled, and keep my problems to myself. Perhaps parents in different periods prefer some of their children more then others, perhaps they think some of the children need their parents more. Whatever my parents are thinking, this situation is hurting me though I'm not a child anymore.

    I have two daughters and my love is very strong for them both. My elder child makes me really proud of her, she is so talented and beautiful, and kind. Somehow I feel my youngest closer to my soul. She is more like me. But my kids are so different, and I value each of them for her own qualities. I can in no way choose between them; it is impossible.

  11. profile image52
    Carolg48posted 11 years ago

    the worst position to be in amongst your siblings is 'the middle one'. My older brother was adored by my parents, could do no wrong and was given every opportunity in life. My younger sister, 13 years my junior was always their 'baby'. For myself being in the middle meant that I was a useful skivvy, baby sitter and general dogs body.  I have always tried to treat my 4 kids equally, though I suppose as in all families the youngest one is at an advantage because the financial pressures are less on a parent with only one left at home.
    Did I enjoy my childhood NO, I hated every bit of it. Do not have any good memories at all.

  12. krsharp05 profile image72
    krsharp05posted 11 years ago

    As a child, it was clear that my parents favored me because I was an over-achiever in school and in athletics.  Everything I did, I did to the best of my ability.  Oppositely, my brother didn't care about school, athletics and for the most part, life.  I was cognizant of how it hurt my brother and would literally beg my parents to treat my brother better but was typically dismissed.  It made things terribly uneasy between my brother and I and now, 30 years later, my brother won't have anything to do with me. 

    I have two sons who are very different and amazing in many ways.  I vowed that I would make sure they wouldn't feel those feelings that my brother and I felt.  I'm sure there are moments that they feel things are unfair and I try to joke about it...when they say, "how come I have to and he doesn't"?.....I return with "because I like him better." and then we laugh.

    1. gmwilliams profile image83
      gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Usually where there is a favored, there is a child who is well.....unfavored.  While the issue of favoritism makes the favored child in the family feel special and significant, it does quite the opposite to the unfavored child.  He/she often feels like an outsider within the family.   He/she believes that nothing he/she does will be of any significance and meaning to the family.   Many undavored children develop a fatalistic attitude towards life because he/she believes that nothing matters.   Others become quite rebellious, establishing their own niche and cutting off all familial ties!

      1. profile image52
        Carolg48posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        how true that there is always an 'unfavoured' sibling as well. I was that one in my family.No it was not imagined - my father's favourite phrase to me was 'when I call shit you jump on the shovel' How are you supposed to live with that attitude. That and his sexual abuse of me made life unbearable. I certainly did not cry when he died, I have not mourned him, I hated him and my mother because she knew what he did to me and did not act. Yes I am still full of anger, who wouldn't be when your so called parents ruined your life, before you even have a chance to live it.

        1. gmwilliams profile image83
          gmwilliamsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          The life of an unfavored child is quite tenuous to say the least.    Many unfavorite children have severe psychological issues as a result of receiving differential (albeit in a negative fashion) parental treatment.   Many unfavorite children feel that they are not quite good enough regarding the family dynamic.

          The unfavorite child often become insignficant, feeling that he/she will never amount up, no matter how hard he/she tries.   Some seek parental validation elsewhere, oftentimes it is not positive validation or it is validation with a very high price.     Many others subvert their true persona and try to make over themselves in to a more pleasing persona for their parents.   

          Other unfavorite children just do not care, they find support outside of the family circle.   They also become highly individualistic, carving their own unique niche.    Many become highly successful and unconventional in their lives.

  13. paradigmsearch profile image61
    paradigmsearchposted 11 years ago

    "Mom always liked you best!" -Smothers Brothers


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