Favoritism In The Household: What You All Said

This week I asked readers if they play favorites with their kids. In general, there were two types of responses.

Most (not all) parents said that they don’t play favorites with their kids.

Most (not all) people who talked about their experiences growing up said that their parents played favorites.

My take on all this is the following:

  • I still contend that the majority of parents do not practice blatant favoritism with their kids – but as discussed in my prior post there are differences in their relationships because siblings can be (and often are) very different in terms of personality, age, etc
  • However, if there is blatant favoritism, or the perception of that, it not only hurts kids growing up – it continues to sting into adulthood
As one of the commentators on Parents’ Facebook page stated, a very important consideration is what kids think. Keep in mind that virtually all kids are sensitive to perceived inequities (whether it’s in the moment, or spread across a period of time). As I stated in my last blog, my experience as a researcher is that every kid can tell you how and when they don’t get equal treatment. Some of this is the reality of being a sibling, and some of this is human nature (we tend to attend to when we are being “slighted” rather than “favored”). So it might be interesting to listen to your kids when they are complaining about something not being fair. Does it seem to reflect the realities of “siblinghood”? Or is there a real pattern and perhaps a dynamic that you may need to tweak. Or in more rare instances, is there something deeper happening that could be rectified? What do you think they will say about this issue when they become adults?
  • Will they can have a more balanced perspective on growing up? Will they be able to talk about the different ways in which each were favored or slighted, and conclude that it pretty much balanced out and that they each had their own unique relationship with their parents?
  • Or will one (or more) of them have the perception that there was indeed blatant and hurtful favoritism? Being attentive to that possibility while your kids are young could prevent deep hurt when they get older.
Add a Comment
Back To Red-Hot Parenting