If you loved one of your children more than another…..

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by snoopy, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    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.
  2. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    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.
  3. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    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.
  4. genegri

    genegri Active Member

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    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.
  5. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

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    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.
  6. twinsmom

    twinsmom Member

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    I have 3 daughters, 1 is 16 and the twins (identical) are 14. I feel like I have close relationships with all my girls, but I have an especially close relationship with my oldest daughter. My twins are extremely close--best friends--and have always leaned on each other. Last summer, one of my twins was mad at my oldest daughter because my oldest was sort of defending me to the twins who I was having some trouble with. My twin said that my oldest was the "perfect child" and that she was my favorite. I told her that I loved them all the same, that I didn't have a favorite, but that I was close to my oldest because she allows me to be close to her. The same isn't true with my twins because they tend to go to each other more than they come to me, and they are generally not as open with their feelings as my oldest.

    This subject is a really hard one for me personally because of what I mentioned above. Also, it's true that my twins are much more difficult than my oldest was, mostly because of personality. It doesn't make me love the twins less, it just makes the dynamic different. Until my twin mentioned that she thought my oldest was my favorite, I had no idea the depth of her feeling (she was very upset). I know that's where I need to work harder so my twins feel equally loved; I have and will continue to do so.
  7. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I know I am just going to repeat what many others have said but maybe one more opinion will help:

    I don't know why you would LOVE one more than the other? My bf jokingly asks if I love him more than my cat and the truth is that I love them both as much as I can love anyone or anything. There is no rating system going on in my heart. The same is true for my family members. Unless someone did something horrible to me (abuse, for example) then I would continue to love everyone as much as I could.

    Now, that being said, it is possible to LIKE one child more than the other. This isn't something that may always be set in stone, one day you may prefer one to the other and then it could all change. That is normal to me and fine. (for example, I like my cat more than 99% of the people I know. Cats are perfect. :p)

    Should you say anything? NO! Why would any sane person ever tell a child they love them less? That is cruel and as someone else said, it says much more about the parent than it does about the child. Should you tell a child if you just like them less? I still say no, not unless there is some actual need for them to know.
  8. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    I don't know this, since I only have one child, and I don't felt my parents had favorites - I just recently read an article about this (it was in Danish).

    The point of that article was that you almost can't help having a favorite - but what you do about matters. If you ignore it - you will probably show it. If you acknowledge it, then you can act on it to minimize it.
    All this has as premise that you as a parent know that favoritism is bad - if you blatently favors one child and don't care, then I believe you have issues.
  9. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    It's not disrespectful to say "my experience is different". Since no one has done any studies on the matter (that I could find), all we have to go on is our experience and mine is just as valid as yours.

    And I still think actually loving one child more is rare compared to liking one child better which is extremely common.
  10. bek

    bek Guest

    See the thing is I think sometimes people want to tell the truth, for their own selfish reasons. I don't think we are obligated always to tell the whole unwashed truth. For example if a child asks you do you love so and so more than me. If you don't want to lie if its true, a better answer would be. I am extremely sorry that If I ever made you feel that way. Do you know how much I love you. I don't have kids, so I don't want to sit there and be like, terrible parents for having a favorite. What I think though is that if a parent feels they are favoring one, they need to start doing more for the other. I.e do your best to hit it.

    And the faternal twins case, no wonder why one twin was more easy going than the other.
  11. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree with what you said. As a parent you just have an affinity for one or the other... But tell them? You would have to be really cruel to do such a thing.

    As to loving one kid more.... You love them all, the do your best to treat them equally... Some are just more fun.... easier for you to be with, any etc.

    Other than that... Not every thought or feeling needs to be expressed. Being TOTALLY HONEST may clear your mind... but it really dumps on the other guy!
  12. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    I am my mother's caretaker and she is unusually bitchy tonight but after reading this I realize I am very lucky. I am glad that you and your daughter have a solid, loving relationship. You deserve much happiness after what you have been through. And now I am counting to 10 before I return to mom (tonight she is Mother.) Btw my sister and I never said anything to my parents but we always felt that Dad favored her and Mom favored me though they would never, ever admit this to us.
  13. myhoneyhoney

    myhoneyhoney Well-Known Member

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    It's like that in my Asian family too. Sad.... I have memories of my parents telling others (can't remember who they were), "If only she (meaning I) were a boy."

    I have 2 boys and 2 girls, all four are precious and loved no matter how bratty they get at times.
  14. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    I have a belief that all the fat Chinese babies you see are boys. :p

    My mom's really glad she had two girls actually, considering how rambunctious and uncontrollable my cousins were as kids. (Well, the parenting wasn't stellar but still...boys. :lol: ) She'd say, "Can you imagine your quiet dad raising boys? Hahahaha!"
  15. missing

    missing Well-Known Member

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    What an interesting thread.

    One of the best things I ever read in a magazine was in an essay that pointed out different people have different parenting strengths. One woman might be a great mother to infants, another to teenagers.

    My mother waited a while to get married and a while to have children. I think if she'd been born 50 years later, she wouldn't have had children, but when she and my father were married, there was a lot of pressure on people to reproduce. My mother was 33 when my brother was born, 36 when I was born. My brother was a paragon of babyhood and childhood, very easy going, very nice, very smart (he still is all those things).

    The family joke is if I'd been born first, my parents would never have had a second child. I was difficult from birth. I was also very much like my father, and my brother is very much like my mother.

    I remember feeling strongly that my mother favored my brother, and now, decades later, I have the same feelings. My mother didn't understand me, certainly not in those charming years of 10-16. I could have been a space alien, I was that different from her.

    But the thing is, it doesn't matter. My mother turned out to be the best parent of grownups I've ever known. Our relationship perked up when I started college, and it's been wonderful ever since.

    She turned 100 a few months ago. I talk to her daily on the phone and visit her a couple of times a week, and she glows when she sees me, as she does when she sees my brother.

    Parents change. Children change. Relationships change. What's true at twelve isn't necessarily true at thirty.
  16. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

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    My parents definitely favored my younger brother. My sister was the straight A student, I was the problem child, younger brother 1 was the Golden Boy, younger brother 2 was the baby. My father never admitted that this was the case, but when I was 11 I called my mother on it and she had no problem telling me that I was right. And why. I resented the hell out of it when we were kids but that changed once he went to college and we've been very close ever since. He's still the acknowledged favorite, but we can laugh about it now. Being the favorite child of my parents isn't exactly a blessing.
  17. Louis

    Louis Tinami 2012

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    Family dynamics are so interesting. Whenever I talk to siblings individually about their shared family, I can barely believe they grew up in the same household. :lol: The same cast of characters, but a totally different plot.... I used to think it was just my family, but it's more prevalent than I realized.

    I think there are always going to be special bonds within families. If the highs you feel are a bit higher and the lows you feel are a bit lower for one child, do you really love them more, or are you just more emotionally connected to them (or is that the same thing)? Even if you do love one child more, does loving one child more necessarily mean loving another less? I'm not convinced it's a zero sum game.

    I'm obsessively fair with my niece and nephew -- in terms of time spent with each, dollars spent on gifts, ensuring "equal opportunity," etc. But there's one who tugs on my heartstrings a bit harder, who makes me hold my breath a little longer, and whose accomplishments make my heart soar a little higher.

    Does that mean I love one of them more? Maybe, I don't know. I don't think it's outwardly visible (I've never been called on it by adults or by the children), and I'm acutely aware and control for it. Whatever it is, I don't think it's wrong.

    Would I ever admit it? Maybe, to the one who has more of an effect on me, but only if I felt it would serve a needed psychological benefit. I would not mention it to the other one.
  18. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    But isn't it often obvious?

    It was in my family. My brother was far the favoured child, the prodigal Jewish son. This was clear to my sister and I from as far back and we can remember, although she and I are 10 years apart and therefore experienced very different family dynamics. We always said the he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, could never do wrong as far as mom and dad were concerned (though ultimately this didn't serve him well)

    There are many situations where boys are favoured more than girls today, although I hope that's a dying tradition in our society.

    But even then, I'm sure there are favoured children in my families be they boys or girls. And that the less-favoured know it, even if it's not explicitly acknowledged.
  19. bek

    bek Guest

    I think the poster above who said dynamics change and feelings change is correct too. I know when I was growing up; I felt a lot closer to my Youngest (baby) brother. Now I'll be honest and say I'm a lot closer to my middle brother. Maybe ten years from now it will change again.

    I think at the end of the day, we can't always choose our feelings. We don't even get to really change our feelings. But we can help is our actions. And frankly that goes for any scenario in life when you think about it.
  20. KCC

    KCC Active Member

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    Right now, I try to be pretty fair to my siblings and their kids, even though I am obviously closer to some than others. My husband and I updated our wills recently, and upon our deaths, our things are not divided evenly -- the discrepancies are really big in some cases, but all for what I feel are good reasons. This may be interpreted as "she loved you more" after I die, no matter how much explaining I do as part of the will. Other than including a letter that accompanies the will, any other ideas on making my distributions easier to swallow from those who will receive less than others?
  21. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    I have this issue as I have nieces and nephews with three different brothers – and one brother is significantly less wealthy than the others. I put some thought into how I should set up my will and decided that:

    1) The fair thing is to allocate it evenly among all the nieces/nephews.
    2) I am not going to do the fair thing.

    Those who need the money the most are going to get it all. I know one of my brothers, in particular, will be mad. But I will be dead so I figure I really don’t have to concern myself with it.
  22. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    My oldest goddaughter disproved that theory. :)
  23. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I think that is nice. I would make sure to leave something to all of them but the one who needs more should get it. That may be the only way this child can go to college without being in major debt. Or depending how old they are when you pass away, it may help them buy a house or pay off the debt they did get in to while in college. I think you did the right thing.
  24. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    When I was growing up I was always closest to my mother. I wouldn't say I was a mommy's boy because I have always been too independent and closed off for that but I was closest to her, easily. My father was great but we were just total opposites. He liked to work outdoors as a hobby and I would only do yard work if I needed the money, and even then I would prefer to dig out change from the couch. We just had nothing in common. However, as an adult I am very close to my father and my mother and I don't speak very much. There is no bad blood between us but we just don't share anything. I am not out to my mom but I am to my dad and stepmom and they love my bf as if he is one of their own. I don't know where things changed but they did.
  25. galaxygirl

    galaxygirl Ma name's Beckeh

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    This explains my friends. They're Chinese (raised in China and have only been here 5 or 6 years). They're both very thin and small but their little boy weighed 28 pounds when he was a month old. :yikes: They sent him off to China to be with grandma and his aunts for a few months. I shudder to think how chubby he's going to be when he gets back. :lol:
  26. Smiley0884

    Smiley0884 New Member

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    I would do the same in your position. Maybe you and KCC should think about leaving sentimental items or belongings to relatives who are more "well off" and leave notes that you want them to have something to remember you by.
  27. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    My mother definitely has a favored child and in turn grandchildren of that child. It is well known in our family - all my kids and other nieces/nephews know it.
    If asked my mother would deny it, saying she treats everyone equally - everyone gets XX dollars for birthday, everyone's spouse gets XX dollars (slightly less than children), everyone's children get XX for birthdays and Christmas, etc. What she fails to see is the extra hugs/extra things that she does for the favored child.

    I've told my kids that I will never do that. That I love them equally. Sometimes one of them has required more of my time or energy, but that has happened to each of them at sometime in their life. When asked about certain things, I point out the things/actions that I have done for them. Each of them has had their troubles, each of them have needed something different from me. I am always aware of saying how much I love them but may not like their actions at this time in their life.
  28. genegri

    genegri Active Member

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    It often is. But I think even an attempt on the parent's part to hide may be better perceived by the child than not hiding at all.

    As the family mentioned in my previous post, the father did not attempt to hide his blatant favoritism but the mother tried hard to fight her own feelings and even over correct at times.

    To both outsiders (my family) and the girls themselves, the mother's intention was well perceived.

    It's not true anymore. :p For better or worse.

    The young couple raised in China likely grew up in a time when China's living standard and food resource was much lower and that would partly explain their physiques.

    In today's China at least in cities baby girls are very loved and treasured by their parents. However they may still have to deal with boy-favoring grandparents, especially paternal grandparents. And there are issues faced by women today that didn't exist 20 years ago. Two steps forward, one step backward. What can I say? Old habit die hard.
  29. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    There may be considerable backlash to that, families can get really greedy and ugly around wills.

    Also, in defense of an even allocation, people's financial circumstances can change considerably over the life course due to unemployment, injury, divorce and what not.

    My father divided his will evenly among all three of us. I earn much less than my brother and sister, but my brother and sister have kids, while i don't - so I thought it was fair. Even then, my sister got a bit wacky and a lot of resentments surfaced. I was just lucky that my brother not my sister was the executor as my sister would have done her best to get more for herself (i.e. the executor can charge a fee of several thousand dollars)
  30. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    My cousin was THE fattest baby ever. There's a pic of him at his first birthday he'd like to forget. Fattest baby. :rofl: But he's a stick now, so it didn't stay on him.

    And IME all the relatives try to stuff you when you visit, male or female. :lol:
  31. KCC

    KCC Active Member

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    Actually, I'm not even dividing based on need or income, because my family members' spending habits do not necessarily follow their needs. It seems like the more some people have, the more "stuff" they buy (such as a third or fourth motorcycle) and debt they take on.

    We have some in our family who really work hard to take care of individuals in crisis, host family reunions (paying for everything for everyone), shell out cash when someone comes up short, take nieces & nephews shopping and out for meals, etc. They have done without many nice things for themselves in order to spend on others. I just want to let them know that I noticed their efforts.

    I've also included friends in my will -- not just family -- and some friends are even at a higher level than some family members. That will be sure to tick some folks off, but I feel strongly about keeping my closest friends in there. Oh yes, and then there is a chunk for charity. Good thing I'll be dead, because I have a feeling that this will create some controversy, even with the proposed letter of explanation.
  32. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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    Then it won't matter KCC. Distribute things as you see fit.

    Some families will fight among themselves over a will for no logical reason. It can be a no winner. I've seen cases where remaining family members will bend over backwards to make things fair. It didn't matter.
  33. leesaleesa

    leesaleesa New Member

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    Beware the "Truth is paramount" mongers. In my experience, they use truths that are hurtful and not even solicited to advance their "I'm always right" agenda.

    I wager if you were to use his tactics about truth to point out some ugly traits he possesses, you would be shut down immediately.

    Why even question this? It's wrong. The truth is often better left unsaid in many cases.