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Cupid
01-17-2012, 06:50 PM
My Italian mother has through her actions and words told her daughters that we were "silver" and her son "gold." Girls tarnished like silver, whereas gold always stayed bright and shiny.

I realize now in adulthood that no matter what I do, I will never be on the same playing field as my brother. No matter how much he continues to ignore her, not invite her over to see the grandkids, never inviting her to his home for the holidays, she will not hold that against him. However, if I say the slightest thing about it, she doesn't speak to me.

She even went as far as putting her house in joint ownership with her son, who has proved himself to be selfish and when our dad died, emptied out his bank account for himself since the account was held jointly in his name.

So, through her actions AND words, she let us know just where her daughters (females) stand. Supposedly many Italians feel that sons are more valuable/cherished than their daughters. :rolleyes:

Holley Calmes
01-17-2012, 06:53 PM
My mother is a great case in point of using her favoritism for one child over the other as a weapon. Mom and I have not gotten along since I decided I wanted to be my own person and didn't want to be her clone. That happened when I was about 12. I am also a whole lot like her mother-in-law, whom she despised. Mom would villify Granny almost every day, then raise her head and say to me, "And you're just like her!"

Mom has issues. I've gotten over a lot of them by now, but I did go through a lot of pain before getting to this point, at age 62.

She did have two bad miscarriages between me and my brother who is 11 years my junior. I use this as an excuse for her as to why she seems to adore my brother as she has always found fault with me. The sun rises and sets over his shoulders. She even will talk to him on the phone while I'm at her home and tell him, "Oh, you are just Mr. Perfect!" and cut her eyes over at me to get a reaction. Of course, I ignore her. She's just a sick old woman.

Constant criticism, dissapproval...she even wanted to have me declared an unfit mother when I was engaged to my second husband so she could take over my daughter's life. Believe me, I was not an unfit mother! She didn't want me to get married again because I had "made my mistake." She also told my daughter, from the time she was young enough to remember, that I never wanted her and that I had "given" her to my mother when she was a baby, saying, "You take her. I don't want her." I just found this out this past summer when Mom, now is the midst of dementia, blurted it all out to me. In horror, I asked my now-39 year old daughter, who verified that this had happened since she could remember.

Fortunately, my daughter and I have gotten past all this, and my darling child is my best friend and the center of my life. Mother, at 84, is someone I feel that I must speak to, and I love her for giving birth to me, but I've never felt like I ever had a mother.

Yes-you don't need to say anything to a child. Your behavior, your words, your attitude will speak much louder. And it will definitely have an effect, I promise you that.

Wyliefan
01-17-2012, 06:58 PM
So, through her actions AND words, she let us know just where her daughters (females) stand. Supposedly many Italians feel that sons are more valuable/cherished than their daughters. :rolleyes:

That must be horrible. :( Interestingly, though, in my extended (Italian) family, it often seems that the parents are harder on the sons than on the daughters.

WindSpirit
01-17-2012, 07:01 PM
What's the use exactly in destroying someone for the sake of your moral code? Ditto.

aka_gerbil
01-17-2012, 07:01 PM
I don't have children myself, but I can't fathom being told by one of my parents that they loved me less than my sibling.

I can totally see a parent getting along better with one child compared to the other(s). I can see parents and adult children being more/less similar to each other, and maybe bonding over shared activity... That said, having things in common and getting along with someone better aren't the same as loving someone more or less.

On a lighter note, starting from when we were fairly young kids, my sibiling and I have both always said that we believed that our parents favorited the other one more. My parents have both said that they've done things right then.

hydro
01-17-2012, 07:59 PM
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:

No, I think it happens more often than rarely. Parents aren't perfect, and I think dismissing loving one child more than another as being rare and abnormal is disrespectful of people's feelings. It happens in all society and all cultures.

I also don't think a parent should go out of their way to say something. What I said was, if the adult child is doing some soul-searching and self-reflection, and that adult child ASKS the parent, it might be good to get confirmation of said feelings.

milanessa
01-17-2012, 08:41 PM
I also don't think a parent should go out of their way to say something. What I said was, if the adult child is doing some soul-searching and self-reflection, and that adult child ASKS the parent, it might be good to get confirmation of said feelings.

And it might be bad. I suspect if an adult child is asking that question they're desperately hoping the parent will deny it.

agalisgv
01-17-2012, 08:41 PM
As far as I understand, almost every parent have a favorite I hope not.

I know this will sound harsh, but IMO if parents have a favorite, then the parents have issues they seriously need to address. Yes, it's common, but still very wrong. Parents can say, "Well, I love them both the same--I just get along better with Jane instead of Joe." I would bet over 90% of the time, the children are treated differently as a result of that, and that is absolutely the parent's fault.

I think parents too often absolve themselves of basically effing up their children, and playing favorites is the best way to eff up your kids. If a parent finds herself/himself gravitating towards one child over another, it's up to the parent to recognize that and stop it. If parents have a harder time relating to one child, then the parents need to work harder so they can properly appreciate the child's strengths just as much as their other children.

Favoritism shouldn't be massaged as 'well, all parents do it.' It's wrong, it's hurtful to children always, and it's the parents responsibility to ensure it doesn't happen.
And it might be bad. I suspect if an adult child is asking that question they're desperately hoping the parent will deny it.Exactly

If a parent has played favorites and an adult child confronts about this, the parent could admit it, but then say they were completely wrong for doing so, and apologize like there's no tomorrow. Without an apology and acknowledgment on the parent's part of how much pain they caused by such behavior, it's just being cruel to the child (even if the child is now technically an adult).

Anita18
01-17-2012, 09:02 PM
And it might be bad. I suspect if an adult child is asking that question they're desperately hoping the parent will deny it.
I suspect at the very worst, they're hoping that the answer is something like, "I treated you this way because I thought you needed ______. That doesn't mean I don't love you. I was trying my best."

"You're right, I much preferred your sister" won't end well any way you slice it. :scream:

From talking with people my age with various parent issues, nearly all of them do figure it out on their own. Some of you would be really surprised at the revelations children come up with when they've gotten past the teenage angst and gotten some distance and can take a hard look at things.

They don't need to be told if they're the favored child or not. They already know.

hydro
01-17-2012, 09:02 PM
And it might be bad. I suspect if an adult child is asking that question they're desperately hoping the parent will deny it.

I had the opposite reaction -- I figure if they are asking as an adult, they probably need some clarity around the issue or their childhood.

agalisgv
01-17-2012, 09:07 PM
They don't need to be told if they're the favored child or not. They already know. Yeah, IME, when adult children confront adults about something, they are usually looking to reclaim for themselves something they feel they've lost, and are looking for the parents to apologize/hold themselves accountable in some way. It's not so much adult children asking parents as telling parents what's up.

Anita18
01-17-2012, 09:08 PM
I hope not.

I know this will sound harsh, but IMO if parents have a favorite, then the parents have issues they seriously need to address. Yes, it's common, but still very wrong. Parents can say, "Well, I love them both the same--I just get along better with Jane instead of Joe." I would bet over 90% of the time, the children are treated differently as a result of that, and that is absolutely the parent's fault.

I think parents too often absolve themselves of basically effing up their children, and playing favorites is the best way to eff up your kids. If a parent finds herself/himself gravitating towards one child over another, it's up to the parent to recognize that and stop it. If parents have a harder time relating to one child, then the parents need to work harder so they can properly appreciate the child's strengths just as much as their other children.

Favoritism shouldn't be massaged as 'well, all parents do it.' It's wrong, it's hurtful to children always, and it's the parents responsibility to ensure it doesn't happen.
That's exactly how I think my cousins were raised. My aunt and uncle still care about my older cousin, but they save nearly all of their adoration for the younger. The older one mostly gets criticized.

My cousin still loves his parents - if he didn't, he wouldn't care so much about trying to please them. And he (and many of my friends) are pretty successful despite of it. But he doesn't particularly like being around his parents.

Anita18
01-17-2012, 09:12 PM
I had the opposite reaction -- I figure if they are asking as an adult, they probably need some clarity around the issue or their childhood.
I don't know. Asking whether you were the favored child (or answering the question "honestly") does no favors for anybody.

If the adult children wanted clarity, they could be more specific, like, "Why did you treat me this way when this happened?" The potential answer is MUCH more helpful than confirming that you were not as loved by your own parents. That's just a rejection of the highest order.

genegri
01-17-2012, 09:45 PM
Most parents I know may have a favorite but they either don't admit it or try to hide it. And I think if you can't help but having a favorite, that's the right thing to do.

We are close friends with a family with fraternal twin daughters. The older one looks like dad and younger one looks like mom. The dad made no effort to hide the fact he favored the older twin from day one. He repeatedly told the girls in front of us and other family friends he wished the younger twin looked like the older twin. His blatant favoritism was so obvious I thought he was as immature as a parent could be.

The mom was different. While she privately told my mom she also secretly favored the older one because that child was more easy going, she made a great effort in front of the girls to show she loved them equally. Sometimes she went out of her way to praise the younger girl.

Now both girls are in their mid twenties and guess what? They are both close to their mom and only maintain minimal contact with dad, even the older twin whom the dad favored. Children are smart and know who truly loves them and who looks at them as a piece of prize.

mag
01-17-2012, 10:25 PM
The other day my younger dd was complaining about something ... you know "why does she (meaning the older one) get to do it and I don't?" I answered "obviously because I love her more." The younger just cracked up laughing and said "of course you don't!!" but she realized how silly her complaint was. I guess because we all know they are both equally loved and adored we can joke like that.