mom2emallJanuary 1, 2009

Do you think that parents really have "favorites" among their own children? I hear of this often, but since I only have one biochild I really can't have a favorite! Even with my stepkids I love them all the same, they each have qualities that are different and make them loveable in their own ways.

I have always felt like people I know favor their youngest. My mom did it with me and my siblings. And at times I feel like my own husband favors the youngest.

But then he argues that the youngest is the baby and can not be treated the exact same as the others because they are all 4+ years older.

What do you think??

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I just posted about my long standing and extremely painful relationship with my "mother" (notice quotes). I can't talk for ALL parents, of course, but yes, my "mother" has / is / and always will favor her youngest child, her "golden son", her "Prince".

The problem is that such favoritism ALWAYS damages the other kids who think that they are to blame for not being their parents' favorite. How fair is this to the other kids? And in the long run, I believe such favoritism hurts the favored child, too. S/he has a difficult relationship with his/her siblings - who have a hard time "forgiving" the favored child for his or her "preferred" status - and often times hostility results in adulthood because the favoritism passes on to the next generation. I resent the fact that my so-called "mother" favors her "golden son's" daughter over her other grandkids just like she favored her father (my brother) over the others. This kind of blatant partiality has been happening in my family for decades, going all the way back to my great-grand-father.

In my brother's case, he's still very dependent on "Mommy" (despite being a married father!) and "Mom" LOVES the neediness. Every decision he needs to take, he second guesses himself and runs it by "Mommy". If she doesn't approve (and she isn't an expert in ANYTHING by ANY standards although she LOVES to delude herself otherwise) - anyway, if she doesn't "approve", that decision doesn't pass. The co-dependency is just AMAZING and instead of strengthening him and making him more independent and self-confident, she has only succeeded in making him weaker and less self-assured. Way to go, "Mom"! She can't 'even things out' for him in the REAL WORLD, see?

BTW, regarding your husband's argument that the "youngest" is the "baby" and needs different rules...can you explain? Naturally, different children - based on their ages - live by different rules. For example, when my son is born, my daughter will be a pre-K-er and naturally have to follow rules that will not exist for her newborn brother! Similarly, we cannot have the same rules for a teenager as for a toddler, even if they are siblings.

HOWEVER, the rules should stay the same as the toddler grows. That means that if the teen is expected to clean his or her room, help around the house and have a part time job, those rules should also apply to the tot as s/he grows into teenage. Similarly when my son grows into a pre-K-er and beyond, all the "house rules" and discipline that were enforced on my daughter at that age will also apply to my son. The youngest shouldn't be exempt from the rules that were applied to his or her older sibling at that age just because s/he is the "baby"!

Such misguided favoritism (the brand that my so-called "mother" practiced) will only lead to resentment in the older kids and will actually even backfire on the "baby", who won't remain a "baby" for life. Eventually, even the "baby" will have to face the "real world" where rules will not change for his/her convenience, as they did in Mom's house.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 4:44PM
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"Do you think that parents really have "favorites" among their own children?"

DH and I don't... and the kids echo that. They feel we have no favorites.

They both have distinct strengths and weaknesses and are both wonderful in their own way.

However, he was the baby and knows he got away with murder (so to speak), and I know I was treated very differently as the oldest. We - I think - avoided the mistakes of our parents in that respect.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 6:17PM
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i'm sure some people do, i didn't.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 9:14PM
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Well for instance when the 6 year old argues with the 10 year old my dh wants to say the 10 year old should be at fault because he is older. I think that they are both at fault because it takes 2 to argue!

When the 6 year old whines and cries daddy is back to excusing it because he is the "baby". I try to remind him that when the 10 year old, 12 year old, and probably the 14 year old were that age they did not whine and cry each time they did not get their way. And we certainly did not do dances around it to try to cheer them up when they cried. We did more of a "tough--thats the way it is because no means no---if you want to cry then go cry where we can not hear you". With the youngest my dh does this thing where he tries to cheer him up and distract him with some other special treat or something.

If we are at the store and dh is with the youngest always asks dh to buy him something. If DH says no and 6 yr old cries DH tries to pick out cookies or something to buy!

I tell him not to cater to the crying, but to treat it as he did the others. I have actually gotton to the point where I am so frustrated I say right in front of the youngest that the behavior is an act and he knows daddy is a sucker. Then my dh gets mad and does not give in. But it should not take that!

The other day I layed into both the 6 and 10 year old about their bedrooms. We rearranged their rooms about a month ago and I organized EVERYTHING. Their closets, dressers, etc were all perfect. Well I constantly send them in their rooms to straighten up or put away laundry. The other day both rooms looked as if tornadoes went through them. So I sat both boys down and told them how upset I was because I spent so much time making their rooms organized and they just threw stuff all over and had dirty clothes in their dressers and clean clothes in the laundry room. I told them both they were off video games till we got both their rooms cleaned again.

DH felt this was appropriate for the 10 year old but not the 6 year old? Though he still backed me.

But that is what I mean about babying the younger one.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 11:23PM
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Yikes! He isnt favoring the youngest, he is spoiling him!
I have 'favorite' things about both my children. I don't love them the 'same', but I love them equally, if that makes any sense.
I agree with DH in that the youngest cannot be held to the same accountability as the oldest, but we are not talking a 2 or 3 year old here!
At 6, your kiddo can probably connect a video game faster than his Dad. That makes him very capable of putting socks and underwear in drawers!
If Dad didnt give into crying with the oldest, but now is, did something happen to change DH? Lose of a family member?
Does the youngest show any signs of a learning disability or socialization issue that maybe Dad recognizes and is trying to 'compensate' for (been there, done that)?
I would 'restrict' Dad from shopping with youngest until at least one of them learns that crying doesnt work!Good luck

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 2:20AM
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Someone once said that "my favorite child is the one who needs me at that moment".

Other than that, as Auntdiggie said, I try to love them equally, not necessarily "the same". Kids all deserve to have their needs met and each will have different needs, therefore you have to treat them somewhat differently. Sometimes that will look like you love one more than the other but hopefully it will for the most part even out.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 7:41PM
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I have known families in which the parents had an obvious "favorite" child. My ex MIL told me that my ex was her favorite child. My older brother thought that I was my mother's favorite and told me so after she died. I wish I had know that I was because then I wouldn't have taken the physical and emotional abuse quite so hard. The times that she disowned me wouldn't have affected me all of my life.....I hardly think that my brother is correct. But yes it seems that some parents are capable of that. I don't feel that way. I do tease with my daughter and tell her that when she does something nice for me that she is my favorite, I tease that way with my SD10 too. They all know that we are teasing and it has become a family joke for us.

It seemed that my ex favored my son over my daughter. He had this "male" bonding thing. She felt it, I could see it. It's funny now, my son is the one that won't speak to him.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 11:24PM
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Sounds like your DH is overprotecting the youngest, trying to compensate for the little one's younger age by giving him advantages. He needs to treat him like the other kids were treated at the same age.

I am accused of favoring each child by the other three. ;o) We joke about it, too. When one says a meal is very good when the others don't like it, I say "You're my favorite!" Sometimes I think I have held the older ones more responsible when a disagreement happens; I expect them to have the maturity to come to a compromise. But I know each child knows how to push the buttons of the others. I have to remember to not assume the youngest has been the "victim" of the older ones in an argument. That youngest one (who is 6) knows how to manipulate with the best of them. I think DH, though, favors the older ones. When something is broken, a mess is made, he assumes the youngest one did it. He wrongly believes the older ones "are old enough to know better" and so didn't do it. They are old enough to know better, but sometimes they still are at fault! Just last week we found something damaged, he immediately called the youngest to hold him accountible. I thought the evidence pointed to #2. But DH was ready to punish #4 and accused me of protecting/favoring the youngest. DH does the opposite of favor the youngest, so sometimes it forces me to play "good cop" and take the side of the youngest. In this case, I was right. The 12 y/o eventually confessed.

When you have a few kids in the house, it's hard to always judge correctly! I will inevitably favor one child in once situation, but another later that day. It's impossible to be perfectly fair in any given moment, but I hope it balances out overall.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 10:32AM
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Someone once said that "my favorite child is the one who needs me at that moment". Perfectly said!!

At my Dear Grandmother's visitation, my uncle said "Mom said I was her favorite". One by one each of the brothers and sisters (5 still alive) said "umm, she said that I was her favorite!" They all believed it and they acted like it. My grandmother once told me that I was Grandpa's favorite. I don't have the nerve to ask any of my cousins because I believe it to be true!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 3:57PM
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My brother was my dad's favorite, because he was the 'son' and in my half Italian/Mexican family, when you're Italian you want a son.

But it's funny, it didn't affect me. I just took it in stride. I'm wierd that way, it doesn't get to me that much if somebody doesn't like me as much as somebody else, or anythng like that.

My mom favored my sister, and tht was confusing for a while. Then many years later, I learned something vey enlightening. I learned that my mother thought that my sister was produced from an infidelity that she had with her childhood sweetheart. I immediately understood that my sister was to her her 'lovechild' and I then understood the years of having been told ' your just like your father' as if though it were the worst insult in the world.

Yet, it doesn't bother me either. I just figure she did what she knew how to do, and I don't think she meant to hurt me, and if she could use hindsight and go back, I know she would do differently.

With my kids, I have two 8 years apart in age. One, the oldest is a son, and he younger one is a daughter. The activities that I have with them are different, and their needs are so different too, that it would be too hard for them to think that I have a favorite.

Normally, I don't. But there are times that I enjoy the time with one better than the other, and like the saying that was quoted here, usually the time that I enjoy the most is when I am the most needed. I feel like a 'real' mother then. Otherwise, I sometimes feel like a maid, driver, and so on.....

I don't think it's always possible to avoid feeling something more special with others, and in fact the more I study astrology, the better I understand the importance of the energy that can be created when two different people come together regardless of whether they are parent/sibling relationships or not.

Yet, I do think it's possible to be prudent and to not make the easier relationship feelings evident to all.

Liz Marie

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 11:38PM
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My parents always had favorites!! I on the other hand do not!! I love both of my children the same. I love different things about each of them.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 2:29AM
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well i suppose my older siblings considered me the favorite. on some level when i was younger i use to actually underachieve in order not to bring attention to myself. to this day my older siblings still harbor towards me the same resentments they had forty years ago. my parents love all their children equally though my siblings have never grasped that concept. if their is a preference it's probably because i've worked at having a relationship with my parents. having been lied to, decieved, pretending to like and blaming does not endear itself to geniune and authentic relationships.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 8:24AM
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lol believer and stephanie, it is a joke with us, too. Sometime people give me strange looks, but if I tell my kids "I gave Kelly fewer chores because she is my favorite!" the kids know what I mean: I don't favor one child over the other, so if one child seems to be getting special treatment, there is a reason for it, so quit complaining!

And definitely, I can't treat them all equally every day. Sometimes one child will have a growth spurt, and gets more new clothes / shoes than the others. Or struggles with behavior issues and is continually in the doghouse for a couple of months. The older ones complain that the younger ones have less housework, and the younger ones complain because they don't have as much freedom as the older ones.

They all know that I love them, and each is the "favorite" sometimes. Hopefully it feels fair - if not every day, than at least over a period of time.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2009 at 9:23AM
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