Do Parents unknowingly favor one child over another?

favoring one child over another- Parenting resources by ZenParent

From the “pillars for each other forever” to the “cannot stand each other” phases, Sibling relationships span the spectrum of possibilities. No one knows whether their relationship is because of gender differences, the way they were raised, a personality dynamic or just sheer luck. No one knows why some siblings would give the shirt off their back whereas others ask for their share of the property!! But there are some common issues that parents face while raising siblings.

1. The Star student vs. The back bencher: There will always be one kid who does better than the other academically. Some times a child would pick the arts stream just because his sibling has picked the science stream, irrespective of whether he likes it or not, just to stand unique and prevent comparisons. No matter what your children choose, appreciate their efforts and what they desire to do.

2. The Wall flower vs. The Party Animal: Some children are just more gregarious than others. I know of two sisters. One is an extroverted child who shines wherever she goes and the other one likes to speak little, but is a quiet genius. Parents should be careful not to treat this trait as a drawback and keep pushing the introverted child to be more sociable. Appreciate each child for his/her strengths instead of harping on their weaknesses. Remember, the “The Geeks rule the world too!” 🙂

favoring one child over another- Parenting resources by ZenParent

3. The Goody two shoes vs. The Maverick: Some kids like following the rules. Others like to test their boundaries. While an obedient child is always a joy to deal with, also realize that the mavericks are the game changers of the world. It is natural for a parent to favour the obedient child, but even when you never actually ‘say’ it, children know when you are being partial.

4. The achiever vs. The coaster: I have one child who is self driven to give it all at whatever is attempted and another child who is happy to coast along. I have to tell myself not to get worked up… after all, I was a coaster once until the light bulb went on in my head one day. I have got to give the coaster time to blossom. Besides, when has being ‘the best and the most popular’ ever meant being the happiest? Case in point- the sad story of Robin Williams.

child favoritism- Parenting resources by ZenParent

5. The Perfectionist vs. The hack job: We have seen it – one child’s room can be showcased in a magazine, whereas the other one’s is a Tsunami hit zone. I believe that the “organization” gene is more of nature than nurture, precisely because I have seen siblings like this. Some people like it orderly, organized. Others fly by the seat of their pants. While it does hit you in your face as a parent, do not constantly nag your ‘hack job’ that they should be more like their sibling. It will only motivate them to keep it that way to retain their individuality. Let it go. Shut the door. And breathe. No one has died of being dirty. But people can die of unhappiness.

Variety is the spice of life. As parents, we need to be conscious of enjoying the apples and oranges that we have been blessed with!  Celebrate your children’s differences. Play fair. And curb your natural tendency to favour one child over the other. It is one of the most unfair things you could do to your child. Hey, but you knew that already, didn’t you! 🙂

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