Parents would always insist that they love all children equally. Maybe they say that because they think they are actually fair in their dealings with their children or, they just want to say that to avoid conflict. But studies have shown that many families have parents, either one or both, who show favouritism in the way they deal with their children.
The value of 99% may not have been explicitly verified yet but the true values from families that my team and I sampled were close to what I just gave. Sometimes, it is intentional with some factors surrounding this decision but most other times, they are not aware that they are directly or indirectly causing more harm than good in the family.
Many homes have disintegrated or less severely been torn apart because of the feeling that one or both parents love one child more than the others. Scholars of the Christian Bible would also agree that a certain son of the patriarch Jacob called Joseph was hated because the father loved him more than the rest of the children.
The way you would view this information presented in this post would depend on your position in the family, whether you are the favourite child or the victim child. But whichever you are, you will learn how to deal with it in order to maintain peace with your other siblings and not let your parents get in the way of your unity for their own selfish desires.
If you are the victim of this, you should have known how it feels to be seen as the bad egg for no reason other than the fact that you are simply not your parent’s favourite child. Your parent’s favourite sibling would be free to do whatever he/she wants and go scot-free with it while you face charges for even lesser offences. Most favourite children end up being the spoilt brats of the house, without having to care much about the dos and the don’ts.
Most of the time, the favourite child would not even notice anything. They would sometimes think you are just over-reacting to simple things without realizing that you are expressing how you feel you are being treated in the family.
Here are some experiences of people who have noticed the favouritism to their sibling(s) while they were the victims. One noticeable trend you would see, mothers seem to display preference more obviously and this may probably be because she is the closest parent.
I was just an unfortunate one in my family. My mum thinks I hate my younger brother and no matter what I do, as long as it has anything to do with him, I would always be the wrong person. I was always being watched from a distance as if my parents were envisaging something rash from me. He is actually younger than me but the preference was just so obvious. B.J, Nigeria
My younger sister was more like my mum – they were both soft-spoken, mild-mannered and didn’t disagree with anyone or stick up for themselves. My sister was content to sit around all day without doing anything much while I had the energy of 10 extra kids. ScarryMommy.com
I am a 22-year-old female who was kicked out of my mum’s house in early 2017 over a $.50 honey bun. I tried reaching her on mothers’ day and left a message after the third ring. But she never called back. I later found out from my grandma what my mother feels. A.N, USA
One question you would begin to ask is, why do parents have a favourite child? Mom would claim she loves everyone equally but you as the victim child see the obvious difference. Before we go on to talk about how to deal with this prevalent possibility, let us see why parents make a favourite child over the others.
Why Parents Make a Favourite Child
It seems natural to love some people so dearly and hate others so passionately, isn’t it? But if you want to be a free person, and minimize trouble and conflicts, you must be deliberate in your attempt to love all people equally or at least, not show that you are not practising favouritism.
However, 99% of parents who would let their favouritism get in the way of their children’s unity intentionally or non-intentionally, never came across the methods of hiding their preference. Some of these parents have a very rough time while growing up with their own parent(s) too but they just didn’t find ways to avoid doing the same to their own children.
Here are some reasons why parents have a favourite child:
1. Birth circumstances and childhood illness
Children who narrowly escaped childhood illnesses and who have some underlying birth history are usually considered to be very fragile and need extra protection and care. If you noticed that you are always protected and guarded against things and people you think you can personally handle, your parents may just be considering you too fragile to deal with things on your own.
These may extend to the relationship between your siblings, such that, you begin to feel that your parent(s) considers you a threat to their beloved fragile child. They don’t care much about you because they know you can handle things yourself, or so they choose to think.
2. Obedience to instructions
A more obedient child has more chances of being preferred to other children but this does not always follow. Sometimes, the most obedient child may just be the least preferred as he keeps trying hard to please the parent into loving him too, absolutely to no avail. It is painful to see that you are trying to please your parents just because you want their love, but it should never be so.
3. Lack of forgiveness of some past offences
Some parents would choose never to forget some wrongs you may have done some years ago. They just want to use as it a justifiable reason to hate you for. This lack of forgiveness is not always the primary reason, there is usually an underlying lack of preference for you even before you committed your wrong.
4. Marital circumstances
Do you know anyone who is born out of wedlock and has to leave with a step-mom? Or someone who was born to a man who had to leave your mother without settling with her? The experience is not always interesting, you’d agree.
5. Birth position in the family
Generally, the youngest child is often given more preferential treatment in the home by virtue of the fact that this child depends on the parents for safety. Lastborns are the most vulnerable but they receive the most support from the elder ones and parents. Almost every time, they become the favoured child, except in rarer cases when another child would.
6. Lack of conflict resolution skills
Parents who have poor conflict resolution skills may just be displaying favouritism without even knowing it. Sometimes, they get overwhelmed with conflicts among the children at which point they may just settle conflict cases in favour of the more vulnerable or stronger person as the case may be.
Conflict resolution both in the home and outside the home entails that both sides of the conflict do not feel cheated or feel as if they are hated. Conflicts, when well resolved bring about more lasting peace among the conflicting parties afterwards, but when it is done carelessly or without the right skills, they can break up people who have peacefully co-existed previously.
At this point, I will go on to how you can deal with having a parent(s) who have you or your sibling as a favourite child. Not handling this properly has damaged many families, torn siblings against each other and made newer generations of children maintain a trend of hatred for their cousins.
How To Deal With Having Parents Who Have a Favorite Child
If you are a parent, the whole cycle probably begins with you. You must consciously learn to love all your children equally or at least, not obviously show that you love one more. It is okay to have a favourite child but you must never let that get in the way of your children’s relationship.
If you are the victim of favouritism, below are something you can do to maintain peace and also be happy with yourself;
1. Learn to flow with your parent(s) without causing a stir
This may not be very easy, but you would have to remind yourself that you won’t always be with them forever or tell yourself that the ills of today cannot affect where your purpose lies. Learn to translate every one of your feelings to positive energy, by obeying your seemingly “partial” parent without obviously showing your grievances. When they begin to make up things to victimize you with, learn to use words or gestures that would turn their heart over without knowing it.
2. Just obey your parent(s) as much as you can
Yes, you would become the slave of the house. Having to do everything possible if the other child(ren) so wishes for you. They seem like the lord over you but one thing you must realize is that all of that makes you a better person. It makes you more independent and capable of handling your own affairs.
It may try to have a very negative impact on the way you live, think or feel. It may affect how people see you or how they relate to you. People may hate you or preferentially love your “more favoured” sibling to save their face before your parents but you must not let that get to you. If you cannot stand it, then you must avoid clashes with the people who do not like you because of your circumstance in your family.
3. Avoid conflicts with the favourite sibling
You already know such conflicts will never end in your favour as long as your parent has a favourite child. So you must try your best to avoid every conflict with them or anything close to that.
4. Discuss with your sibling how you feel
If you are the older one or you are in a position to do so, sit your sibling down for a discussion and tell them how you feel. This usually has two major outcomes. It reassures your sibling that you do not have negative feelings against them and secondly, it makes you to better handle it when another occurrence of favouritism comes. A story here, of someone who totally mastered handling this issue of parental favouritism, showed how the victim(a lady) even laughs with the more preferred sibling even while their parent displays her acts of preferential treatment. They have obviously turned it into another reason to be closer to each other than being farther apart.
5. Move out of the home if you can
If you think you can’t handle it anymore, you may have to stay away for a while on your own If you have what it takes to take care of yourself, you should just find your way out of the common home you share with your immediate family, while you visit them every once in a while to check up on them or bring gifts to them. The aim is to find ways not to cause more disunity and so you must always let it be.
6. Peacefully confront your parents if you think they would listen
This is almost always not useful though because most parents do not think you are right about your claims of loving one child over you. Maybe they are not intentionally doing so, but if you think your parent(s) would listen, there is no harm in trying to explain to them how you truly feel politely.
If you are the child who receives the attention, or you just realized that you are the favoured child, here are some things to do to protect your other siblings who are more negatively affected, bearing in mind that it may have an outcome that may negatively affect you too.
7. Give respect to whom it is due
You must learn to respect your sibling and obey them if they are older than you. If you are older, you must also learn to give them their due respect so that they can fully rule out that you are not the one to blame for all the misfortune.
You must realise that someday, you all will disperse away from your parents’ home. How your relationship will be then, will depend on your current relationship with them now. Withdraw when your other sibling is actually over-reacting When you think you are possibly going to be the reason why your parents would lash out at your other sibling(s), withdraw from the case even if they are guilty. By doing so, you reduce the chances of them linking your parent’s subsequent assaults with you.
8. Discuss with your parents what you think, only if you think you can
if you feel you are being seen as the over-protected, more preferred child, you can talk to your parents to reduce how they make the rest of your siblings think so.
You can ask them to avoid interfering with arguments, or conflicts involving you and your other siblings. But only do this if you feel confident that it will end positively. After all, you also do not want to sell off the favours you now receive to someone else while you become the new victim. Funny, but true.
Parental preference for one or more children is a reality many children have woken up to realise. The outcomes are usually disastrous with the loss of family bonding. Newer generations of the family keep diverging away from each other with relatively no good to talk about each other. Efforts must be made to reduce parental preference and encourage universal love as much as possible within the family. Daycare for your child
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