You Have a Favourite Child, You Just Don't Want To Admit It
I have three children - three different, amazing, lovable children. And they deserve to be loved equally. But this article in Time tells me that is an impossible goal. All parents have favourites - whether they express it or even know it.
Six months ago, I did a post about a mom blogger who wrote about favouring her younger child. It wasn't just about favouring her younger child, she didn't much like her eldest kid. The post elicited a lot of comments from people who grew up with favouritism themselves; those stories were so full of anguish and sadness. I think anyone reading them swore to do better.
But writer Jeffrey Kluger says that is impossible. He says we are hardwired to favour one child over another. Kluger (who is also in the attached video) says our genetics tell us to favour one child - it is a Darwinian trait to favour the child who our reptilian brain thinks will carry forward our genetic line.
In business terms he says it is all about "sunk costs".
Are you now thinking of your kids and wondering if you have a favourite? I shy away from the idea of treating the kids "the same" or "equally", that I know is impossible. As I said in my first post on this subject:
My relationship with each child is not stagnant, they change and I change along with them. I love all of them fiercely and differently. I try not to use the word equally when it comes to love; love is immeasurable, love for one child is incomparable to my love for another.
Kruger says that 65% of mothers have a favourite (usually the oldest boy) and 70% of fathers have a favourite. The point is not to deny that, but to accept it and move forward with active parenting.
Which means treating each kid like they are special, honouring each child's strengths and supporting their weaknesses and finding time alone with all of them. Choosing to move beyond our natural instincts and parent with love and fairness. I'm so excited to see how my kids grow and change and I expect that my relationship and interaction with them will change with them.
Do you believe this study? Do you think you have a favourite child consciously or unconsciously?
Want more chaos? Last year, I posted some funny photos of my babies, and then went off to weep.