Playing Favorites? Response to Parental Favoritism
I used to joke about being the “forgotten one.” Mostly because of this picture taken at my first Christmas. The focus of the picture was actually on my older sister opening her presents; however, there I was falling over in the background, “forgotten.”
I am not sure a parent could actually forget his or her child, especially mine, but apparently there is a possibility of favoritism. Favoritism meaning the parent shows a higher interest in one sibling above all the rest. How does this make the siblings feel?
To these siblings, as shown by the results of a recent study by Professor Alex Jensen, this favoritism in families can actually have an adverse effect on the children as they grow older. Effects including an increased drug and alcohol use as the children grow older. Jensen found that it isn’t actually that the parents would intentionally treat the children differently, but it is important what the children perceive.
There may have been times that I actually thought I was the “forgotten one” or second best compared to my sister. But the truth is that my parents and many others don’t really have favorites. How can they? We are all so different and unique that they will appreciate and acknowledge different things about each child. Parents should constantly be trying to find each child’s niche, or thing that the child excels at or enjoys, and then they should support the child in every way that they can.
One of the best ways to show support is finding the time for one on one informal interviews, or just time together. Building that bond is important and will help the child have the confidence and trust in the parent and the parent’s love for him or her. Each child will perceive a relationship how they want, but parents can try their best to make sure the child knows that they love them and that is what is important.
By Karee Brown