This and That

Playing Favorites

Posted on: September 27, 2011

I have never wanted to play favorites with my boys but if I am going to be honest I do a little, isn’t that awful? It’s not because I love one son more than the other, it’s really because of their ages. My older son is in the middle of the “trying threes” stage and let me tell you, he is definitely trying me…every minute of every day. My youngest son is not a baby anymore but not in the “terrible twos”, so he can’t really talk or talk back; just smiles and does what I say. It’s a glorious age. So I do, I favor my youngest son right now but mainly because I don’t have to discipline him yet. I know once he turns two the tables will turn.

I do feel guilty about it though. That I am somehow cheating my older son out of love or that he feels neglected or not as special. Though when I really think about it I know this isn’t true, my older son gets plenty of love, praise, and affection; it’s just my fear and I think my guilt is a good sign that I would never allow myself to play favorites for real.

I know parents who play favorites and it is not because of an age or stage difference in their kids. The parents have a favorite child and you can just tell; in their actions towards the kids, their words, their facial expressions. How does this happen? Why don’t the parents recognize what is happening and stop it? I’m sure it starts out as very innocent, one child’s personality is more like the parent’s and they naturally gravitate towards each other. But don’t they see what they are doing to the other child? The child being ignored, left out,not equally loved.

A friend of mine once said that she is saving up money for her kids; not for college but for their therapist bill. Her point was no matter what she did or did not do somehow it would screw up her kids. It’s a very true statement. Most of our parents did the best they could raising us and yet we all have emotional issues because of them.

Playing favorites is not doing the best you can as a parent; it’s being selfish. The parent doesn’t want to work at having a meaningful connection with the un-favored child. It’s easier to focus on the child they already have a lot in common with.

Another interesting observation I have made is most favored children are girls. Why is that?  Are girls more favored because they are easier to raise? They are less rambunctious, less physical, less rowdy so they get the attention? Or is it because women are mainly the care givers and it’s a female preference?

Unfortunately playing favorites doesn’t end in childhood; I know adults that still get the raw end of the deal when it comes to their parents. They have to work through high school and college to pay for school while the other sibling gets a free ride. They have to work, earn, and pay for everything while the other kid gets free clothes, free electronics, and free food. It’s so unfair and it makes me so mad.

Can’t parents see what they are doing to their child, no matter their age?

In the end it’s the parents who are missing out. Missing out on the love and joy that the other child would bring them and the entire family if given the attention they deserved.

So this post is just a reminder to me and a warning, a warning, to never play favorites.

1 Response to "Playing Favorites"

So great! Love it. 🙂

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