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snoopy
01-17-2012, 02:22 PM
If you loved one child more than another…..

This is an ethical question precipitated by two things: an article addressing this issue and the concept of the truth. My SO and I have differing opinions on the topic of the truth and this question IMO gets to the heart of it.

If you – for whatever reason short of the kid hitting you or starting fires or truly being evil – you just loved one of your kids less than the others, would you tell them or would you lie about it if prompted?

My SO believes the truth is paramount so he would be honest and say he loves X child more or the most. While not ideal, I can understand that a parent might really love one child more or less than another, but it is rather unfathomable to me to ever admit that to any of the children. To me, it is the more ethical stand to lie in this case. My SO finds *my* position unfathomable.

Realizing there is probably no objective right or wrong response, I am curious to hear your opinions on the issue.

Wyliefan
01-17-2012, 02:31 PM
I think I'd think there was something wrong with me, and go to a counselor to work through whatever issues I had with this child.

DickButtonFan
01-17-2012, 02:34 PM
I don't think it's right to tell your child you love one more than another. There are just certain instances where truth should be kept to yourself so you don't hurt others.

Also I think it's wrong to love one child more than other, true you may get along with one more than another, but you should love all your family equally.

BlueRidge
01-17-2012, 02:35 PM
I have family experience with a parent liking one child more than another and being significantly closer to one than another. And you can't lie about this, its too obvious.

But the idea of a parent loving one child more than another I can't really grasp that.

GarrAarghHrumph
01-17-2012, 02:36 PM
I think I'd think there was something wrong with me, and go to a counselor to work through whatever issues I had with this child.

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.

Skittl1321
01-17-2012, 02:41 PM
I think I'd think there was something wrong with me, and go to a counselor to work through whatever issues I had with this child.

It is totally normal to have a favorite (you don't get to pick your kids, and usually parents like the kid who is more like who they would pick as friends better), every counselor I've ever met will tell you that.

It is NOT normal to be explicit about it. If someone actually TOLD a child they loved a sibling more, I would think they were crazy, in the literal- something is not right with them- sense. That is the person who needs to see a counselor.


(However, if you have issues relating to the non-favorite child, or feel that you are showing obvious favoritism, getting help isn't a bad idea. But you aren't crazy, just normal.)


I know I am not the preferred child in my family. I don't know if that extends to my parents loving me less, but they have certainly never ever said that to me. I can tell they like me less though- but I think they are just as proud of my accomplishments.

Smiley0884
01-17-2012, 02:42 PM
I think I'd think there was something wrong with me, and go to a counselor to work through whatever issues I had with this child.



Agreed. I'm normally a fan of being honest , but sometimes, there *are* things you should keep to yourself to spare the feelings of someone else. Obviously every situation varies, but I actually think it's a bit self-righteous and inconsiderate to not factor in how "being honest" can affect others.

I think that sometimes you can 'connect' better with a certain child, or have more in common, but IMHO if you truly love another child more than another (unless it's an extreme case such as a child being a murderer or sociopath) I would think that reflects more on internal issues from the parent that they are responsible for working out.

I'm not a parent, but I have 3 siblings, and with sibling rivalry and all, we used to bring up the topic of which kid was which parents "favorite" all the time when we were younger.

Wyliefan
01-17-2012, 02:46 PM
I think that sometimes you can 'connect' better with a certain child, or have more in common, but IMHO if you truly love another child more than another (unless it's an extreme case such as a child being a murderer or sociopath) I would think that reflects more on internal issues from the parent that they are responsible for working out.


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.

Nekatiivi
01-17-2012, 02:57 PM
I don't think it is that uncommon for a parent to have a favorite kid but I think this is certainly a subject that parents should lie about and try to hide their true feelings. I have seen how that kind of honesty breaks a person and would never wish it upon anyone.

I have no idea if my mom loves one of us three more, but I have pretty strong feeling about my boyfriend's parent's favorite children...

AND as other said, having a favorite child does not mean that you don't love all your children as much.

Garden Kitty
01-17-2012, 03:10 PM
I don't think it is ok to say you love one more than the other. I think you could tell one that you liked the other's behavior more if one is in fact loving and giving while the other is selfish or destructive. And you could say that one is "more like you" if their personality really is more similar, but it's needlessly hurtful to tell them that you love one more than the other.

NinjaTurtles
01-17-2012, 03:12 PM
Whether or not you love a child is a more common theme in parent-child relationships, particularly with mothers, than a lot of people think. At least, from clinical setting data. It is very ingrained that parents should love their children unconditionally and vice versa; although, I would hazard it's slightly more acceptable for children to admit not loving a parent(s).

Sometimes the distinction really comes down to love versus like. Can we sincerely dislike a close relative (like a child or parent) based upon incompatible traits or generally frowned upon behavior, but still love them? How we define love has a big impact.

Between two children, a parent may develop a better relationship with one child over the other, due simply to compatibility (I would think that's more related to varying degrees of like than love). Parent-child relationships are still relationships and the same rules of the social and personality universe apply. Doesn't mean that the parent loves one more or is making Sophie's Choice.

I don't think it's fair for parents and children to amass copious amounts of guilt because they dislike the other person for genuine reasons, but it's very frowned upon in society. But, those types of decisions regarding feelings don't tend to come up until both parties are relatively old (i.e., not a child). When a parent doesn't love a child, it's usually more indicative of tangential relationship issues, depression, or problems bonding in the early months of the child's life.

Sometimes the preferential behavior is quite obvious and there won't be a need to tell the child. If that's the case, there is probably a fair amount of relationship dysfunction going on that needs to be addressed. :shuffle: Honesty is usually a good policy, but in this kind of situation the disclosing party really needs a firm understanding of a) his or her feelings, b) why they feel that way, and c) how and why the child is asking. Depending upon the age, the stage of the relationship, and even the setting could make being honest more or less acceptable. Who knows, maybe that 8 year old you loved least will become your favorite when he hits 30? ;)

Ultimately, the decision that provides the best quality of life to the child should be made (a very parent-minded concept). There aren't too many times when telling the truth would be better, although there are probably some.

nubka
01-17-2012, 03:13 PM
If asked, I would lie, lie, and lie again.

Jessica
01-17-2012, 03:35 PM
If asked, I would lie, lie, and lie again.

So would I.

This reminds me of a smilar situation. I used to work with a woman who was an only child. I always thought she was selfish and a little wacky until she told me that when she was a teenager her Mother told her that she and her Father had not planned to have any children. She had been an accident.

The last I heard she had just gone through her 3rd divorce and had no children. I can't help but think that if her Mom had kept her mouth shut, her daughter's life would have been different.

myhoneyhoney
01-17-2012, 03:58 PM
If asked, I would lie, lie, and lie again.

I would do the same thing. You just don't tell your child you don't love them as much. PERIOD.

Now I have 4 kids and don't get along with all of them in the same level. My oldest son is very difficult. He's ADHD which demands so much from me at times I just want to bury my head under the pillow and cry, (not to mention he's about to turn 13 and you know how annoying 13 y.o. boys are!) and our personalities are so different so it's harder for us to communicate. He does know this now but he also knows how much he's loved, he's loved just as much as his brother and sisters. Get the difference? It took him a while to recognize the difference but understands it now. He's actually happier now which makes ME happier. I really don't know how to put it into words.....

hydro
01-17-2012, 04:06 PM
Would you be speaking to an adult child? Or an actual child? I think it makes a difference. I see no reason not to tell an adult child if he/she asks -- they are probably asking for a reason.

I don't think it would be appropriate to tell an actual child the truth in this instance.