We all have a favourite dish, shoe, t-shirt, friend and child. It is inevitable that we show preference toward a particular child among our children. To say that you don't have a favourite would be a lie! "Why is that so?" you may ask.
You see, humans have very diverse behavioural patterns. We speak differently, respond differently and each have different preferences. We show preference for everything down to the colour of our socks. When we are emotionally involved in a relationship with another human being, we form complex emotions around the experiences we accumulate.
It is impossible for us to form identical emotions and experiences with different people.
Every child is different and unique. We therefore form very diverse experiences with our children. It is only human and logical to prefer one over another because you get along better. Although showing preference may be a normal human behaviour, we can practice these 3 behaviours to avoid harming our children.
Behaviour #1 (You shall not neglect the others despite having a favourite child)
There must be a conscious effort to devote equal time, love and effort towards all the children. Gwyneth is daddy's girl and Matthias is mummy's boy but that doesn't mean we neglect the other child. You can say I prefer Gwyneth better because we get along easier. Debra gets along with Matthias better without clashing because their characters compliment each other. We are however very conscious about devoting as much time to reading to both children, playing with both children and showing loving affection to both of them. Having a favourite or a preference does not mean you love one less than the other. You can prefer one child over the other but you should NEVER neglect the others.
Behaviour #2 (Ensure you don't show open bias)
Children lose all respect when parents show open bias toward a particular child. We must emphasise that it is normal to have a favourite but it is wrong to be openly biased, unfair or discriminatory. When a child behaves badly, you apply the same rules to all your children. You don't give a child more resources because he/she is your favourite. Such bias and unfairness will breed bitterness and strife among your children. A good example to illustrate this point would choosing a partner to sit with on a bus ride. You will have a favourite child to sit with. It becomes toxic when you reject sitting with all but your favourite child.
Behaviour #3 (Emphasise teamwork and reflection)
To err is human. We will find ourselves struggling at times or giving the impression of unfairness/favouritism among our children. The best behaviour to adopt would be to be open with your children and reflect together as a team. Admit your mistakes and think about how your actions may have affected the children. After all, a family unit works together to make family work. When one part of a body is hurt, the whole body suffers. When something surfaces, always work on an outcome that restores love and unity.
You will have a favourite child but you can devote yourself
Read many other interesting and useful posts on parenting HERE!
Topics include: Screen time, Feed your child McDonald's, developing talents and the best head-start for your child.
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.