Question over a "favourite" child

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Favourite Question
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Question over a "favourite" child

Postby Favourite Question » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:53 pm

I have registered under another name for obvious reasons.

Over the last year or so I'm becoming more and more aware that I have a favourite amongst my two children. I have a daughter who is charming and easy-going and a son who is, to be honest, extremely hard work.

I thought at first that this was a reflection of the two behaviours and that it would pass as they grew up but it hasn't happened. To be really blunt I like one of my children more than the other. :-(

I'm aware that this manifests itself in how I treat them, although I try really really hard not to let it to, and I'm very worried that I could be causing real issues for the one I like less.

Is this just me? Does anyone else feel like this? I could really do with an idea if others feel the same way and it's obviously pretty hard to talk about with other people.

Thank you
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Froglette
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby Froglette » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:32 pm

This is so tricky. I am one of two children and it's always been blatantly obvious that my mother felt closer to my brother. It still hurts me now and we kids are middle aged. I recently had my second child and I'm starting to understand my mother a little bit. My son feels more familiar to me in many respects than my daughter. But I love them both and am determined never to let my different feelings show. Put simply, they're both great kids and my mother's treatment of me is something I'm determined not to continue. Try try try, no matter how hard, to see the good in each of your children and concentrate on that. Don't compare, no matter how hard. Just concentrate on their individual traits that make you love them and realise your love is different for each one. I wish you well
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AbbevilleMummy
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby AbbevilleMummy » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:52 pm

I think it's normal to some degree. They are different people so it's impossible not to feel differently towards them.

My daughter (the eldest) is amazing and I obviously love her dearly but she is challenging, opinionated, feisty, dominant etc etc. I am proud and pleased she is like this and long for it to continue into adulthood as it will help her in life but at the same time it is difficult to be her mother - I am constantly telling her off and clashing with her.

My son on the other hand is a dream child. Caring, polite, kind, and very bright. I have never had the slightest problem with him and could count on one hand the number of times I've had to raise my voice to him.

My husband says I favour my son and in some ways he's right as it is easier to be around him sometimes as he is just easier but I don't love either one more than the other if you know what I mean?

I try to make sure I have plenty of one-on-one time with my daughter as she is much better behaved that way and it ensures we 'stay connected'.

Hope that helps you feel like you're not on your own. Don't feel guilty, I'm sure you're doing a great job!

X
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Bunnypigeon1
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby Bunnypigeon1 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:44 pm

My mum always says that as long as you love your family, you don't necessarily have to like them! I think what you are experiencing is relatively normal. I have seen it with my own mother (likes my sister much more than me), my grandmother (definitely had a favourite), my mother in law (who also has a favourite) and even with my children I am certainly more similar personality-wise to one of them, which makes it easier to get along. I have no doubt in my mind that I love all 3 of my children equally and would do anything for any one of them- which makes 'which one I like more' seem relatively unimportant in the scheme of things....
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LuckyCanuck
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby LuckyCanuck » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:53 am

First of all, I'm sure the fact that you're even aware of it and talking about it, will help the situation (must surely be worse when a parent denies this is the case). Secondly, I definitely think it is very normal and in my opinion, the best thing you can do is try to see the 'good' in your less favoured child. Force yourself to spend one-on-one time (with both). I find the lack of sibling rivalry completely changes my 'more difficult' child such that I am more easily able to appreciate her positive traits. Sometimes it's because they're opposite from you so you don't understand them and sometimes it's because they're just like you! Either way, try not to compare the two kids and not to overly value the trait of compliance (that would be my particular case: one of mine is so much more compliant and 'easier' making the other one much harder to 'like' as she's always opposing me).

I went to a child psychologist for a few weeks about my 'difficult' one. She asked me to try to see in her the things I thought were adorable before she became so moody and difficult. She wanted me to try to show my child that she 'delighted me' (I remember that word because I thought - that is the exact opposite of what she does!). But it did cause me to be aware of the fact that I was always anticipating bad behaviour and so it became a little bit of a self-fulfilling thing. I can't say it turned her behaviour around in a miraculous way but it definitely made me warm to her because I hadn't been thinking of her as a child who wishes to delight me; only as a kid who was trying to make my life hell (which, of course, is never true).

Anyway, I'm no expert; just can appreciate your sentiments and concern.
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Beachbum
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby Beachbum » Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:23 am

You might find this interesting (link below). It seems very normal, I think as long as you love them both and don't compare them. My mom was big on "why can't you be more like sister/brother" and also "you don't want to be like x brother/sister." (in front of the poor child) This was, obviously, damaging to that child's relationship with their siblings and their confidence.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04 ... searchers/
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Kezia21
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby Kezia21 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:56 pm

I can empathise and often find myself in a similar situation. I have found Dr. Laura Markham's advice on the Aha Parenting website very helpful, including 'special time' (daily one to one time with each child, as mentioned already), finding ways to laugh together, plus 10 mins snuggling after lights out. She also recommends switching the kids in your head and talking to your more difficult child in the same warm tone and with the same affection as you would your easier child, and reframing praise and compliments you might give one by giving credit to the other, ie 'you're teaching her so much', or 'she learnt to do that from you', or 'you're such a lovely, kind big brother!'. I'm even considering some intensive 'time in' in the form of a weekend away, just the two of us, to try to find that delight and build connection. It's not specifically about dealing with favourites but today's blog post has some nice ideas. Good luck!

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/help_c ... _bad_cycle
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CheekychappieMum
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby CheekychappieMum » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:26 pm

I second Kezia's post about Dr Laura Markham's work, it really makes sense and tiny tweaks make a huge difference. When the day has been challenging with my eldest and I'm just desperate to turn the lights out at bedtime and get on with "my time" I've noticed the HUGE difference just 5 mins lying next to him in his bed, it can suddenly just soften the whole atmosphere. The tension just subsides and we can communicate eye to eye at the same level about whatever is on his mind. Ending the day on a high note sets the tone for happy sleep and a good start the following day. Markham's work in general has definitely worked for me. Another parenting guru on exactly the same lines is Jacqueline Green and she is responsible for me being finally able to truly connect with my children, fully align with them and ultimately understand their individual, challenging needs so I can address those real causes of the "behaviour" as opposed to dealing with the behaviour itself. Once you adjust your mindset towards your children the rest falls into place. Jacqueline also asked me to visualise my children as a baby when I was about to blow my top with them and also to show them regularly photos of when they were smaller so that they can see that they were totally nutured, felt safe when they were smaller - to remind me that they can feel like that again. They just love seeing old photos of themselves and they really do prompt a mother's maternal feelings to come to the fore and replace other feelings such as bewilderment, resentment (why me..????/why can't they just .....???) feelings that we all experience from time to time (or very frequently...)
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Max2012
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby Max2012 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:34 pm

I do think these things are self fulfilling - if the less likeable child is picking up at all on vibes they are less liked then they become more insecure, behave even worse just to get any kind of attention, all of the classic things. I found this happened with our first when we had our second last year and it took me an age to realise that I was probably giving off vibes that he irritated me (so terrible to admit it) and that had just made it worse. I decided one day I just had to "act' like I was absolutely besotted by him - just like the poster above who mentioned about being delighted by the more difficult child. I also make sure I have a snuggle with him every night before lights out and give him a lot of physical and verbal reassurance and now it has become self fulfilling the other way in that I don't need to act any more - I genuinely find him utterly wonderful, even though he can be incredibly difficult at times..!

I just know from my mother's experience - she is still scarred from knowing she was her mother's least favourite and still has terrible insecurities because of it. The up side for me was that she was always at pains to treat me and my sister exactly the same and even though I was clearly the more difficult and less likeable of the two (my adult self can see that!) I never felt less loved or less favoured.

So difficult but stay strong - so agree with the poster who said it's good you are aware so much better than if you were in denial so you are obviously a good and caring parent to be worrying about it. xx
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misstemple
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby misstemple » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:19 pm

LuckyCanuck wrote:She wanted me to try to show my child that she 'delighted me' (I remember that word because I thought - that is the exact opposite of what she does!). But it did cause me to be aware of the fact that I was always anticipating bad behaviour and so it became a little bit of a self-fulfilling thing.
Lucky you have put into words what I was thinking. It can be self-fulfilling to expect the worst from someone. This kind of visualisation has caused so much unnecessary heartache.

The OP is extremely brave and shows a deep awareness & confidence to question how you shape your life. We could all take more responsibility like the OP, so often it's heads in the sand.

I would take care not to form attachments to what comes easily - nothing is permanent and you will be disappointed. Rather than rely on what you have now, perhaps focus on strengthening family bonds for the future. Do the children get on with each other? Could you enjoy their special bond as an onlooker?

Best of luck teasing out this knot.
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Flowermummy
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby Flowermummy » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:55 pm

I think it's normal to love them differently - not more/less, just differently.
I found all the suggestions here excellent, I have tried some (acting delighted, one-to-one time with each child, lying 5 mins in the evening with each child) and I do think they work.

My SIL was the least favourite child and she is now 40+ and still scarred by it, and it has definitely affected her relationship with her mother and brother. So I too think it's so important not to compare the 2 children, and not to show you have a favourite.
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Mmrg
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Re: Question over a "favourite" child

Postby Mmrg » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:21 am

I just wondered if it could be to do with a behaviour thing. We recently started going to parenting classes and my relationship with my daughter has improved miraculously. I think a clash between our two personalities could have been causing a vicious cycle of bad behaviour, nagging and criticism from me and resulting in low self esteem in her which lead to more bad behaviour etc... Overly simplified but now she is like a different child!!We are not even finished the course yet. The Parent Practice - comes up in a google search. I can't recommend it enough.
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