Attorney and Blogger Darcy Shapiro penned a recent HuffPo piece titled, “I Have a Favorite Child. Admit it, So do you” that a friend recently sent me.
From the clickbait headline, I assumed she would be sharing the fact that she preferred or liked one of her kids over her others and was challenging other parents to admit that they too have a fave kid.
Some of us, like me, who watch reality TV a lot, may recall a somewhat cringe-worthy moment when Kris Jenner proudly announced that her daughter Kim was her favorite. Way to go to confirm any insecurities or self-doubt those other five kids you gave birth to may feel about there mom! Sheesh!
Anyway, the HuffPo piece wasn’t what I expected. Rather, it was Shapiro explaining how through the ups and down of her day, she had an appreciation and love for one child’s positive behavior while maybe was frustrated over another, but that shifted throughout the day and everyday.
Good for her, but come on. Let’s be really, real!
Many of us have that one kid we always boast about to our friends, or whose photo we share more in social media than the others. Clearly, to others who know we have more than one child, it must appear that we have a preference.
And in real life, among friends, we may unknowingly complain more about our troubles or frustration with one kid, while only sharing laudatory news about another kid. We may lean into one child more at events or put an arm around that one child more.
If you recognize that you may be guilty of showing favoritism, here is a way to confirm it: ask a close friend if they think you have a favorite based on that friend’s observation of you and your children’s interactions. Listen and get their honest opinion. The answer may surprise you.
Then if it turns out that you appear to favor one kid over another to the outside world, chances are the kids pick up on your cues and think so too. That is not cool and you may want to give yourself a gut check and then shift your behavior, tone, language and decisions to adjust.
I know I do and like Shapiro, try to tell each kid they are my favorite 9 year old or daughter (when I only have one daughter). I also try to have one-on-one mommy and me time or dates. I shower them with random compliments, periodically, and tell them I love them often so they don’t ever have a chance to doubt…um you know, to off balance those many other times when they’re driving me up the wall and may say something crazy like, “Quit driving me crazy! Do you want your mom to end up in an insane asylum?!” (ha!)
Many adults grow resenting a parent because they may have felt that parent did not like them as much as a sibling. It’s the stuff that emboldens intense sibling rivalry or resentment.
Further, Subconscious awareness about parental bias can have an impact on a child’s relationships and behavior as they grow. They may act out with more outrageous negative behavior to at least get noticed or may do the opposite: be reclusive and choose not to share or be open and honest with that parent. None of that is good.
Just something to think about, parents as we go about this challenging process of trying to raise good kids.