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danceronice
01-17-2012, 04:11 PM
It's perfectly normal to have a favorite or one you like better than the other. I suspect Mom likes my brother more and Dad likes me better (guess which kid is more like which parent.) But they never let it really affect parenting us.

It's NOT constructive to tell them. And again, the difference between like and love...

professordeb
01-17-2012, 04:12 PM
A mother of fraternal twins here - one of each gender.

I love both my children dearly but differently. As babies, my daughter was the more difficult child so when dad came home from work, I would "give" her over to him to care for; my son was much easier as a baby, more laid back like his dad. As toddlers, daughter wanted to do everything first - and she did. I was very proud of her accomplishments. Son, laid back child that he was, watched and learned from her. The did it at a later time in his development but usually better.

Then we hit school. My social butterfly daughter bloomed! my son wanted to stay home-- especially the year in Jr Kindergarten. He eventually got over that to some degree. When it came to school marks, daughter had to work harder at her course than did son and thus came home with better marks. I was proud of them both.

Then high school hit -- they were 14. Son had some skin problems and was unmercifully teased and bullied. Grades 9 & 10 were a nightmare for him -- well he uses the term hell and at times it seemed so. The two of us grew very close as I worked with him through those terrible times. My daughter seemly sailed through that time, so I thought -- until I read some material that was put on my computer. She felt very distant from me and thought she could do no right regardless of what she did. I was the baddie and she wished she had the gumption to run away from home. I didn't realize how bad all this was because I was dealing with a son who had issues up front, including fantasies of how he would go to the school and make people listen up.

Then in grade 11, some teenagers took their life at the beginning of the school year. Word went out that those two were just the tip of the iceburg and that there was a pact. My son began to speak of thoughts of commiting suicide. So, another year of dealing with a son who I was afraid I was going to lose. Fortunately, I took some time to explain to my daughter what her twin had been going through since grade 9. She told me she knew about some of it but better understood. It was during that time I apologized to her for not being there as much as I would have liked or as she might have needed. Our relationship at that point took a turn - for the better and I believe we became closer because of it.

In what should have been the final year of high school for my two, daughter continued her hard work at school winning many awards and scholarships. She got ready to go to school out on the east coast and in the fall, off she went. My son - well depression got hold of him over and over again. After agreeing to stay in high school for another year, thereby postponing going off at the same time as his sister, he told his new girlfriend about his morose thoughts and when she broke up with him, he began a downward spiral -- again. He gave mention to suicide and so we got him in to see a psychologist. After about 5 sessions, he didn't think he was getting much out of them. He did feel he learned enough to manage the dark times when they might come - and come they did.

This fall, he went off to university about 2.5 hours drive from where we live. I told him that if he ever needs us, we are here 24/7. He finds that he gets melancholy sometimes but allows himself that time to feel it knowing that whatever triggered it will pass eventually. I don't feel like I have to have him check in with me every day; I believe he has the tools and the maturity to see things through.

My daughter - well we chat on MSN at least a couple times a week. When she comes home we have a "date" where just the two of us go out for a meal. We are probably closer than we have ever been and some of it is because she can see me with adult eyes and adult experience.

Why did I include all this background? Because even though I have two children and they are twins, they have always been two very different individuals who have travelled different paths. I don't love one more than the other, I don't prefer one more than the other. What I do have are two very different relationships with my children, a very deep and abiding love for each of them but in very different ways. I'm pretty sure that both my children know and understand what I have with each of them is different than what I have with the other, but no less precious because they ARE my children. Gifts from God, but only for a time.

Sorry for the length ... sometimes I get carried away.

MacMadame
01-17-2012, 04:13 PM
I have two kids and one of them is 20 so I've had them for a while and I have to say that the OP's boyfriend probably hasn't got kids. :D

The thing is, how you feel about your kids changes all the times. Maybe one is going through a challenging time and being a total brat and you don't like them very much. But then two years later they are a wonderful companion who shares an interest and you like them very much. In the meantime, the one who was easier is now being a colossal PITA.

It's stupid to announce during a down time that you like the other kid better. You are damaging your relationship over something transient and there isn't anything to be gained by it.

Which is not to say you can't tell the one who is not being nice that they aren't being nice. But "I love you less than your sibling"? It's probably not even really true. The love tends to be the same; it's the liking that changes over time.

Anita18
01-17-2012, 04:34 PM
I'd agree with this.

If you love one kid more than another, that's your issue, not the kids'. Why in the world would you tell the less-loved kid that you loved him less? Why would you want to cause that type of damage? For the sake of "honesty"? Who are you helping by such honesty? IMO, telling a kid that he's less loved for the sake of honesty is selfish on the parent's part. It's certainly doing the kid no favors.
It's not even selfish. It's just mean just for the sake of being mean! "Oh btw, your father and I love little Johnny more." Why the eff would you tell them that??? :huh: What good would that do exactly? Especially when your relationship will change as the child changes, and you do as well.

My older cousin firmly believes he is not the favored child. He has never been able to do anything right by them and has watched his younger brother receive all the adulation for what said brother has been essentially trained to do by their parents. (The father taught the younger brother how to program when he was 12 and they've been working together ever since.)

He's not a total f*ckup - in fact, he's going for his MD/PhD right now and would surely make any parent proud. But he doesn't particularly like his parents. He vastly prefers his relationship to us (me, my sister, and my mother) instead.

So if you want that sort of relationship with your kids, go ahead and let them know they're not the preferred child. :o

I know that some people think that's not moral, but I have a strict moral code too. I do what I think would be most helpful to someone in a situation. (Or as I just came up with, "DON'T F*CK UP PEOPLE.") What's the use exactly in destroying someone for the sake of your moral code?

FiveRinger
01-17-2012, 04:44 PM
I don't have children, but based on my own experiences, I would never want my children to even have a hint that I loved/liked one more than the other. Not only does it make it impossible for the less favored child to have a healthy relationship with one/both parents, it makes it very difficult to have a healthy relationship with his/her sibling(s).

My mother obviously favored my sister over me. I won't get into all of the details, but it was something that everyone in the family noticed. My father made a big deal (and still does) to tell us that he doesn't have a favorite, never did. As an adult, I realize how hard this is to do because children do and say things that don't necessarily make them all that lovable. And let's face it--two kids who have the same two parents can and do come out being as different as night and day.

It took us well into adulthood (and my mother being deceased for almost 14 years) for my sister and I to form what I would call a sisterly relationship. There was a lot of resentment (on my part) and entitlement (on hers). It took both of us years to figure out that opinions and ideas that we had about each other were ridiculous ones that, from a huge degree, formed thru our mother's opinion of each of us. And it took some more years to figure out that its crazy to hold onto that anger/crap, especially since our mother is dead.

But, I say all of this to say, that as children there are so many things that influence our characters and the way that our parents treat us is paramount. So many insecurities form when a child believes that his mother loves one child more than the other. Children are different, yes, but one is not better than the other. It's like saying strawberry is better than chocolote. Who does that? As a parent, if you have a favorite, or if you really do love one more than the other, do everyone a favor and keep it to yourself or you'll cause irreparable damage to your entire family unit.

mag
01-17-2012, 04:47 PM
I can't imagine loving one of my girls more than the other. We have our days when one (or sometimes both) is driving me crazy, but I still love them to bits. They are very different children with very different interests and goals but I could never choose between them. I had a nightmare once where I had to choose to save one over the other. I woke up screaming - I could never do that; it gives me the chills just thinking about it.

Anita18
01-17-2012, 04:58 PM
I don't have children, but based on my own experiences, I would never want my children to even have a hint that I loved/liked one more than the other. Not only does it make it impossible for the less favored child to have a healthy relationship with one/both parents, it makes it very difficult to have a healthy relationship with his/her sibling(s).
Oh, definitely. My aforementioned cousin's relationship with his brother? Absolutely nonexistent. They're both in their 20's now.

My sister thought I was the favored one when we were younger, but I believe that was because I was so meek and timid, that frankly I needed more help. :P She remembers our parents doing things for me that I don't even remember. Kids latch on to that stuff!

We're all cool with each other though, now that we're much older and found common things to share experiences with. My mom even claims she's glad she had us because "Kids are so helpful!" :lol:

hydro
01-17-2012, 05:16 PM
I can't imagine loving one of my girls more than the other. We have our days when one (or sometimes both) is driving me crazy, but I still love them to bits. They are very different children with very different interests and goals but I could never choose between them. I had a nightmare once where I had to choose to save one over the other. I woke up screaming - I could never do that; it gives me the chills just thinking about it.

Perhaps, but it clearly happens in a lot of families for a variety of reasons. A lot of it can be cultural where parents prefer the boys to the girls, or it boil down to just a preference. It's not wrong to feel it, but I don't think it's in the best interest of the child to explicitly act on it.

However, as adults, if people are doing self-reflection, I think it could be helpful to get confirmation from a parent about their tendencies and behaviors -- so that it's not just "in their heads".

pat c
01-17-2012, 05:30 PM
What would be the point of telling the child? If the truth of your feelings is that important, tell yourself or keep it to yourself.

I have 2 children - now adults. Both have accused me of preferring the other. I laughed at both of them when they told me that and said I obviously had done ok as they couldn't tell. ;)

maatTheViking
01-17-2012, 05:39 PM
Right. Feeling more of a connection with one child, I can understand -- but I don't think that's exactly the same as loving one more.

As far as I understand, almost every parent have a favorite - but that doesn't mean they love one child more than the other - they just favor it.
I have also read an article saying that it is much easier for parents if they accept this, so they can try and counter act it, and be aware of who is the favorite. I also thikn it is important to accept this, and not feel guilt.

Btw moms often favors the first born son, fathers the last born daugther - according to what I read.

I would *never* be honest with my child about something like this - and there are a lot of other things you are not honest about either.
I know my mom doesn't always approve of my brother and my SIL child rearing strategy - but she says she will never tell them, it is not her place. She just vents her frustration to me ;)

snoopy
01-17-2012, 05:39 PM
I can see hydro’s point as it pertains to “coming clean”. I think she is saying if there were issues in a behavioral way, then maybe actually telling the child would be a way of helping the child to understand. I think, however, that the child would really have to be mentally together to understand that parents, too, have flaws. Also, I think the parent would have to be conveying the information with the intent to help the situation and not just to tell it for the sake of telling it.

So in a way, though I disagreed with wyliefan at first, I can see that a parent who loved one child less than another may indeed have their own issues that they need to work out that have little to do with the children.

Anita18
01-17-2012, 05:54 PM
I can see hydro’s point as it pertains to “coming clean”. I think she is saying if there were issues in a behavioral way, then maybe actually telling the child would be a way of helping the child to understand. I think, however, that the child would really have to be mentally together to understand that parents, too, have flaws. Also, I think the parent would have to be conveying the information with the intent to help the situation and not just to tell it for the sake of telling it.
That still doesn't necessarily mean that you go right out and tell the child that you loved his/her sibling more. You adjust your parenting to fit each child, isn't that enough explanation?

Like I mentioned, my sister thought I was the more favored one because my parents helped me out more as a child. But that was mostly because I was so timid and so much more fragile, that I needed the extra support. But no way does she think that they loved her less. As adults, we both have a very close relationship to our parents and to each other and there's absolutely no indication at all that we are treated any different by them.

When parents favor one child over another due to differing levels of affection, IMO it's very obvious and doesn't need to be said. It's very obvious with my cousins, it's very obvious with my best friend. The favored child is allowed to get away with more, is forgiven for transgressions more easily, while the gavel comes down strongly for the other. One COULD argue that the more favored child needs more support (as I did), but in at no time did my parents actually let me get away with any transgressions.

mag
01-17-2012, 06:00 PM
As far as I understand, almost every parent have a favorite - but that doesn't mean they love one child more than the other - they just favor it.
I have also read an article saying that it is much easier for parents if they accept this, so they can try and counter act it, and be aware of who is the favorite. I also thikn it is important to accept this, and not feel guilt.

Btw moms often favors the first born son, fathers the last born daugther - according to what I read.

I would *never* be honest with my child about something like this - and there are a lot of other things you are not honest about either.
I know my mom doesn't always approve of my brother and my SIL child rearing strategy - but she says she will never tell them, it is not her place. She just vents her frustration to me ;)

But favour isn't the same as love. Depending on the activity, I might prefer to have one child over the other accompany me, but that has nothing to do with love. It has more to do with how our interests mesh. I may also like one more than the other at times. Most 11 year old girls, IMHO, are a nightmare to live with!! I'm not suggesting some parents might not actually love one child more than the other. I suppose it could happen - I just can't imagine it. It may also be that the parent is confusing favour or interests with love - which says a lot about the parent IMHO.

I'm with MacMadame on this one. The liking may vary over the years and activities, but the love stays the same.

maatTheViking
01-17-2012, 06:30 PM
I'm with MacMadame on this one. The liking may vary over the years and activities, but the love stays the same.

that was what I was trying to get across - that it isver rare that the love differs, though the favor might

MacMadame
01-17-2012, 06:44 PM
Perhaps, but it clearly happens in a lot of families for a variety of reasons.
Really? Because it's not clear to me that it happens a lot. In fact, really loving one child more is pretty rare in my experience. What's more common is this:


that it is very rare that the love differs, though the favor might

IME a lot of kids are sure they aren't the favored one when young. But as they get older and get more perspective, they realize that they felt that way because a child tends to think of themselves as the center of the universe and any indication that they aren't is seen as a slight.

IOW it's their view that is skewed, not the parent's treatment of them.

For example, my sisters are convinced I was the favored one. But my memories of growing up are of being held to a higher standard and being picked on a lot for not meeting it. If my sisters and I fought, for example, I'd get in trouble because "I'm the oldest so I should know better." So I certainly didn't feel favored. Though now, as an adult, I can see my sister's POV more and understand why they felt that way even if we were all favored and not favored in our own ways.