How Do You Avoid Showing Favoritism to One Child?

sepia_majesty

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Many times, I have discussed with my friends the idea of parents showing favoritism to one child. Usually, I think this is based on birth order, such as older children (usually born while the parents are younger and have more energy) having more responsibility and more demands placed on them, while younger children (especially if they are born much later when the parents approach middle age) usually receive a more lax parenting style. Was this true for you growing up? What about middle children? Are they ignored?

Sometimes favoritism can be based on the personality of the child matching well with the personality of a parent, or it can be based on accomplishments (maybe a child who earns good grades and never gets in trouble is seen as the favorite over a child with poor grades and behavior issues).

Whatever the cause, how do you avoid showing favoritism to one child over another? I think most parents would say they don't do that, but I think many people who grew up with siblings can tell you how common this practice is. If you notice yourself showing favoritism, what caused it and how do you stop it?
 

clauemi

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I never thought of it that way but it's totally true. I mean like me and my brother, I am the oldest, I was a great student, I don't think I gave my parents much trouble as a teen. My brother on the other hand started with the video games before he got to high school and my parents just let him be and never limited him. He was a horrible student, mostly because he was lazy and my parents never did anything there either. So now he is a 24 year old that has never had a girlfriend, does not know how to drive, has never lived by himself, lazy and disrespectful.

Now I have two kids, oldest a girl and other a boy. My ex husband tends to show favoritism with the girl and for some reason relates the boy to his childhood which was a terrible one. So ever since I have known him he has never wanted a boy but now that he has one he struggles not to have a favorite.

I really hope that the influences I have had don't make me do the same mistakes. I would just feel horrible if one day my children throw that in my face and I unknowingly did it.
 

zararina

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I could also observed such kind of favoritism in many families that I know. The oldest usually get a lot of responsibilities like looking after his/her younger siblings. Must be dependable and doing some other house chores. The middle child sometimes or often get less attention which the youngest sibling is getting from parents. I think it was hard not to have favoritism and give equal attention to every siblings.
 

WitchyWoman

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I have observed favoritism in many families. This is also something that went on in my family as I was growing up. As a parent I I have tried to never show favoritism amongst my children. I have a golden rule If you cannot do for them all equally, then you do nothing at all for any. Implementing this rule has worked very well for my family.
 

Cecil Estrera

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Well now that I have my kids already, I can very well understand my mother as to how she spoils my youngest sister and how fond she seems to be with her.

My first child was so precious to me. I wanted to take care of him all by myself but my intruding in-laws hinder me from doing so. They would always refer to my child as their youngest son, since my husband is the only child in their family. Now, he is still not with me because my in-laws thought that he is better off when he is with them.
And I guess it's normal for me to devote all my attention and love to my youngest since he is always with me and is very clingy and sweet. I do not really want to think about it but it seems that I am more into my second child.
Though I try to take good care of my first whenever he is here so that he can feel that I am his mother.
 

WitchyWoman

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Cecil given your situation I completely understand. I almost had a similar situation with in-laws concerning my oldest son. They quickly learned that it was not going to happen. You seem to be a mother who loves her children equally. Of course you are fonder of the second child he is the one who is with you all the time. And you would be the same way with the oldest if he was there constantly. Keep doing what you’re doing and Kudos to you!
 

AmazingP

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I could also observed such kind of favoritism in many families that I know. The oldest usually get a lot of responsibilities like looking after his/her younger siblings. Must be dependable and doing some other house chores. The middle child sometimes or often get less attention which the youngest sibling is getting from parents. I think it was hard not to have favoritism and give equal attention to every siblings.
While some can not totally avoid favoritism, it can be minimized. For example, since the eldest has more responsibilities at least give that child more privileges and explain that to all children. This way, the eldest will not feel being singled out but will try his best to do the assigned tasks with gusto.

Now, it does not mean that the other chidlren will be deprived of treats but explain to them that if they will do their responsibilities then they can expect corresponding rewards.