Michelle Obama appeared on the show Good Morning America. She was speaking about her brother convincing their mother to move into the White House because the brother is the mom’s favourite and their mom would listen to his words. Michelle and her brother laughed about it. It was a warm moment.
On the Chelsea show on Netflix, George Bush Jr twin girls were on the show and the women spoke about their relationship with their father. Jenna Bush said her sister Barbara was their father’s favourite so he would paint pictures of Barbara all the time etc.…Jenna would rush with a portrait of herself and give it to her father but her dad never painted the picture of her, but Jenna wasn’t heartbroken she was laughing her head off.
I started to wonder, how can some people be so comfortable knowing their parent has a favourite, how can they laugh about it? Now that I’m a mother of three, I couldn’t imagine choosing one child over another as a favourite, but can I?
After having three children, I notice I had more rapport with one child over the other two but the love that I have for all three remains the same. Similar to friendships, there are some friends you may prefer to be around simply because of their personality. I don’t think anything is wrong with that, its just life. How can anyone expect to have the same relationship with every single person, everyone is different, even our children. Should I feel guilty for this statement?
Can siblings identify a parent’s favourite? I am not sure growing up who was the favourite but I’ve been told I was considered one. So I decided to ask my mom if I was indeed the favourite and she said “no, I love all of my children but you were the sickest and the most annoying” We both laughed about it, I walked away thinking of the various reasons why one child may get more attention than their siblings. Is it right? not really it can become abusive.
Reasons parents may favour one child over another:
- Newborn requires more attention than an older child
- If a child is sick or has a disability
- Parents may be close to the same gender
- Parents may favour their biological child over a step child
- In certain culture boy are favoured over girls
- Could be birth order, usually first or last born, sorry middle child (at some point first and last born have their parents to themselves)
- Parents are more affectionate to a child that is pleasant and affectionate
When Favouritism becomes abuse
- When a parent praises one child while ignoring, insulting or not offering any positive words to the other.
- The favourite child receives praises and special privileges for doing very little work.
- One child feels powerful and also believes they can accomplish anything while the other has very low expectations of themselves.
- One child never receives positive affirmations even if they do a good job.
- Parents become very defensive of the favoured child to the point where others cannot correct their favourite child’s bad behaviour.
The health of the family
Having favourites can have a devastating effect on the family. Here are some of the psychological effects it can have on your family members;
- The person that is favoured can grow up with a sense of entitlement, they can believe rules don’t apply to them and have a hard time adapting to certain rules in society.
- Sometimes spouses become jealous of the relationship between the favoured child and their spouse.
- Parents who indulge in one child may start to use that child to fill a void that was never filled inside themselves.
- Unfavoured children tend to grow up with negative views of themselves, they tend to feel defeated.
- The unfavoured May start to alienate the favoured one.
How can “Favourites” make a difference in the health of a family
- Admit that there is a problem, be willing to say something even if it makes others feel uncomfortable. Even if the parent is defensive.
- Be an advocate and a voice for others who are overlooked or may feel that they are overlooked.
- Attempt to contact a Pastor or someone that can help the family heal if favouritism become a problem.
My personal message to “Favourites” and those who may feel unfavoured and parents
To the person who feels they may be the favourite, even though being considered the favourite by a parent can cause some siblings to alienate you, you should realize that its not your fault, the alienation isn’t caused by your siblings not loving you as a sibling, but it’s a result of them not having the love from a parent that they feel they deserved. Don’t feel guilty about the love you receive, do your best to spread love all around and that same love will come back to you.
As for the person who feels they are unfavoured, you feel that your parent does not see your value is not the end of the world you are here for a reason, your presence on this earth is not only necessary but it’s required you deserve to be loved, just keep loving and it will come right back at you. Don’t allow bitterness to sneak in and start hating your sibling or parents. Dig deep and find the good in your situation, or if necessary seek professional help.
To all parents, once we decide to have more than one child, we need to make sure we are giving valuable time to each to help them grow with an awareness of their self worth. Spend one on one time with each child. If one child starts to say you prefer the other, believe them and address their concern.
Favourtism doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable topic within a family, simply start talking.
If you would like more information on favouritism, check out some articles in the Canadian Encyclopedia