Favoritism in Familes

   By KellyLoubet  Jul 04, 2011

Do you favor one of your children? I am ridden with guilt when I ask myself this question. Do I favor one of my girls over the other? Part of me honestly and ever so quietly says yes. But really… how could a mother favor one child over the other? The rational part of me says no, you don’t favor one over the other. You love them the same but appreciate the qualities that make them individuals.

I’m surprised my rational self came up with that. It sounds pretty reasonable. Each child is different.  

According to the web publication Psychology Today, favoritism is normal. It’s when we as parents, confuse love with favoritism. Love for our children is unconditional. Love brings with it loyalty and devotion. It’s eternal. When all else fails… there is love.

On the other hand… there’s favoritism. Favoritism comes into play when one child does something that makes us proud or happy. The child’s behavior can sometimes fill a void in our lives, making that child a favorite. In contrast, we may have a child that behaves poorly and causes that child to fall out of our favor. This doesn’t mean that we love them any less.

Learning the difference between love and favor has allowed me to feel less guilty about favoring one of my children over the other. I’ve discovered that each of them is my favorite at one time or another. Allison is my artist. She draws rainbows and expresses her love through making crafty gifts. Rachel is my writer. She keeps a journal. She’s sensitive. She enjoys leaving notes on my pillow. To say that I love one more than the other is not the case… But I’m not afraid to say that there are times I may favor one over the other.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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AnnSheSpeaks by AnnSheSpeaks | Maplewood, NJ
Jul 19, 2011

I do play favorites - but not with the whole child, with specific things they do. My intention is to reinforce with our kids that everyone has different strengths. For instance, I often compliment one of our kids on being the best dinner eater, while another is the best with manners and yet another is the best at cleaning up. They each beam when they get a shout out at being the 'best' at something. Then the balance comes in making sure they each get the same amount of praise!

didama by didama | MAPLEWOOD, NJ
Jul 05, 2011

I think every parent grapples with this at times. Interesting perspective on Parental Favoritism.

sherrybaby by sherrybaby | wilmington, DE
Jul 05, 2011

Very interesting, I never thought about it as favoritism, Agreed, it makes it much easier to feel ok that we all do this.