Do You Play Favorites with Your Kids?

It’s said that no two snowflakes are alike. The same applies to our children. Each one of our kids is uniquely their self, with their own temperaments, idiocracies, characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. While we may not think too much about it – and would probably adamantly deny it if we were called out on it – we all have our favorites. It may change from day to day or over the years, but we all do have our favorites.

Am I a Horrible Parent?!

Playing favorites with our children has absolutely nothing to do with us loving one more than the other. The simple truth is that our kids each have their own personality traits, and sometimes our own personality may clash with theirs.

What I have found to be true more often than not is the fact that when I clash with something within one of my children, it’s usually because I am being forced to look at that very same trait within myself. Our kids are the biggest mirrors that exist, and looking at them can be unnerving to say the least. And of course, our children may also possess characteristics nothing like our own that we may not particularly like about them.

It’s Okay to Not Get along Sometimes

Just because our children are born with a mixture of our gene pool doesn’t guarantee that we are going to be similar in every way. It’s kind of like the lottery. Some children can be strong-willed and have difficult temperaments, while others may be naturally more easy-going and predictable. The important thing to remember as parents is that it’s okay to clash with our children, and just because we love them doesn’t mean that we will always like ALL of their personality traits and behaviors.

Now that my daughters are getting older and their personalities are pretty much jelled; there are parts of them that I don’t naturally align with. I have a very unique and special relationship with each one of them, but there are still those traits that drive me nuts.

Family relationships are the trickiest to navigate, because most of us can’t fathom not liking everything about our children, mothers, fathers, sisters, or brothers. We feel guilty admitting to ourselves that there are traits and behaviors that we find incongruous with those of our own. And of course as parents, we also feel a sense of responsibility because after all, we gave them their genes and they modeled a lot of their behaviors by observing our own.

What Do We Do about It?

So what do we do if we find ourselves favoring one child over another? Absolutely nothing, because as our children grow, mature, and evolve, so does our relationship with them.

When my eldest daughter was going through early adolescence, she was even more fussy and temperamental than normal. I confess, I didn’t like her very much. I loved her dearly, but boy did our personalities clash! On the other hand, during that period, my youngest daughter was so sweet and easy going that she and I became like two peas in a pod. Naturally, this caused a tremendous amount of jealousy and sibling rivalry. It wasn’t that I intentionally played favorites; it was simply that my youngest was easier to be around, and of course, who wouldn’t choose the smoother road to travel?

Flash forward to the present. These days, my youngest daughter appears to have been hijacked by the same hormones that my eldest had to deal with, and most of the time, she is the least pleasant person on the planet (okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic). Conversely, my other daughter has finally gotten past all of the teenage angst and evolved into this amazing, smart, helpful young woman that I love being around. Of course she still has her moments, but don’t we all? Now I find myself shying away from my youngest daughter’s less-than-glowing personality in lieu of the comfort and welcoming personality of my eldest. Naturally, this once again has invited the ugly little green monster to become an unwanted house guest.

As Long As We Accept Them for Who They Are…

So does this mean that we play favorites with our children when they go through stages that we don’t particularly like in order to make our own lives more comfortable? Well, yes; maybe sometimes. Let’s face it– parenting is hard, and I mean REALLY hard. There isn’t a rule in a book somewhere that says we have to always like our kids exactly the same ALL the time.

I guarantee you when our kids sit around complaining about us one day (and trust me, they will), the truth will come out that they don’t particularly like every single nuance about our personalities. Just because we are thrown together in a family, doesn’t guarantee that we are going to mesh together 100 percent. There are bound to be personality clashes, it’s simply inevitable.

What we can do is seek out the good in our children, discovering the parts that resonate with us – not just as parents – but also as human beings and then accept the rest, hoping that they do the same for us.

Are there ever times that you catch yourself favoring one kid over another? Tell us your thoughts on favoritism and acceptance in the comments!

Tags : motherhood   siblings   

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