The subject is taboo. It’s unheard of for a parent to admit that he or she has a favorite child. However, research says otherwise. A recent research survey conducted by Netmums, one of the UK’s most popular websites, indicates that one out of every six mothers has a favorite child. In this study, over 1000 mothers were surveyed and 16% admitted that they had a favorite child.
I am sure some of you readers have felt at times like you had more in common with one of your children over the other. At times, I have wondered how I had 3 boys that were so entirely different from one another. I understand that differences are what makes each of your children unique and individual, but on the other hand, those same differences are also what makes them more likable, easier to love, etc. due to the fact that one child may constantly cause disruptions and stress and the other may not. In that case, it would be normal to have feelings of favoritism.
Albeit hard to admit, I think the studies performed so far are wrong. Because there is so much shame in having these feelings, I am sure there are plenty more mothers that feel this way, but just can’t bring themselves to admit it, due to the suppression of their feelings. Once again, it’s a taboo subject, especially for a mother. On the other hand, it’s more acceptable for fathers to have these feelings about their children. For example, a father may prefer to spend more time with his son because of common interest, as opposed to having a tea party or attending a beauty pageant with his daughter.
Dr. Ellen Weber-Libby, a clinical psychologist in Washington, D.C. states, in her very interesting article entitled “Do Parents Have Favorite Children?”, that having these feelings are very normal and exist in every family. She goes on to discuss the fact that no two children are identical which makes it impossible for any two children to be treated the same.
Some would say that favoring one child over the other is cruel. Dr. Weber-Libby states, “Favoritism becomes cruel when consistently the same child is singled out for preferential treatment awarded because of parental bias. This child may be one of many or an only child. What is important is that the rewards experienced by the child reflect parental need to emotionally indulge the child and not the child’s behavior.” With that, Dr. Weber-Libby goes on to state, “When parents hold favorite children accountable to the same standards as other children, then the presence of cruelty is unlikely.”
We here at Today’s Modern Family are of the belief that healthy dialogue and discussion promotes change. Being armed with this information, I wanted to conduct my own survey of our Today’s Modern Family readers. Tell me, do you have a favorite child? If so, do you suppress your feelings regarding the issue? Or, are you of the opinion that having a favorite child is cruel and unusual? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the matter.
Peace & Blessings,