Why Parents Secretly Favor One Child Over Another

Parents began favoring one child over another the day when the not-so favored child decided to go against the rules not once, not twice, but as many times as they could to get what they wanted, make a statement, or show parents when their wrong in their judgments. Controlling adults who become parents don't take to kindly to this behavior and will punish the child, at times, severely. The hardheaded, stubborn, strong-willed, defiant and many other words used to describe this challenging child was why secretly, parents gave up on the battles with him or her and began to favor the easy-going, obedient, and respectful child.

This is a sad truth! As much as parents say they love all their children the same, the reality is they don't. They love their children differently based on the personality that they have noticed within each of their children. John will receive tough love because he challenges authority and David will receive a gentler love because he doesn't put up a challenge. As both children become older, tasks are given to them and they are expected to follow instructions and make mom and dad proud. However, the child who prefers to question authority before he completes his task is met with a frown from defeated parents who have grown weary of John's "smart mouth, mess ups" etc. So he makes a decision not to even do the task - "Why bother, my parents don't expect me to do it right anyway?" However, the favored child completes the task and doesn't let the parents' attitude or his sibling's objections affect what needs to be done. Moments like these are repeated over time, with parents asking that the room be cleaned to taking out the trash and parents all the while are judging who is more responsible and ultimately who will win the prize once they are older whether it be college paid for, a trust fund, property left to them, their grandchildren (from the favored sibling) gifts and a host of other rewards. The favored child gets an increase of "brownie points," while the other child is labeled irresponsible and reminded about the past and all the times he or she failed at assigned tasks and didn't follow parent's orders. Could it have been the un-favored child just needed a little more instruction, attention or maybe a simple smile from mom or dad that said, "I have faith in you"?

Now that the children are adults, parents are observing each adult child's behavior closely, because they know the kind of adults their children have become will reflect on whether the parents enabled their successes or failures in life. The favored child has shown a consistent lifestyle with little, if any, fluctuation in it. He or she doesn't seem to waver too far from mom or dad (oftentimes they live in the same state), they seem to be around to help them in whatever way they can -sometimes without being asked. They aren't frivolous with their finances and seem to have stable relationships with everyone around them. Yet, the not so favored child is not coming around the parents often. In fact, they may have moved out of the state, against his or her parent's wishes. He or she may not have many stable relationships and enjoys spending money at times more than what the parents would have done when they were his or her age. The parents see their adult child as irresponsible in their eyes. Is the adult child really irresponsible or just different and the parents don't like it because they can't control them? The answer to this question lies with the person going through a similar experience. Even though the parents can remember times when they made similar mistakes, they usually won't admit them, because they want their children to do "as their told" and would like to appear in the best light possible.

The favored child is sold on the parent's self-righteous behavior and will continue to make his or herself "look good" in their parents' eyes or face scrutiny (which they don't want to do, because they or their children's children might miss out on some promised reward for being "the good child." ) The least favored child, who has this history of going against parent's wishes, has added more reasons to their parents' list of why they can't be trusted or favored. Whatever the reason, the parents are attempting to justify their unfair practices. Parents believe that irresponsibility is the ultimate reason why the favored child gets what he or she receives and the others don't. When in reality, the parent chose to not like one child over the other, because they used every negative experience as a means not to grow closer together, but further apart. What happened to the concept of looking at the glass half full instead of empty when it comes to raising children?

Why don't parents, utilize the least favored child's defiance, disobedience, and other negative behaviors to understand what needs to be done to steer them in a positive direction and work to achieve the results that will make them productive members of society. Embrace the challenges--embrace the child! In the end, whether parenting is criticized or not by the children, at least parents will know that they really did do the best they could and now it is up to their child to continue to be the best they can. Parents need to remember to watch playing favorites, because they will never know when the favored child will ultimately be the one who lets you down, while the un-favored child maybe the one in your corner.

For more articles by Nicholl McGuire, Click Here!

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