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

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

  1. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member

    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:
  2. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. WindSpirit

    WindSpirit OmnipresentAdmeanistrator

  5. aka_gerbil

    aka_gerbil Rooting for the Underdogs

    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.
  6. hydro

    hydro Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    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.

    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).
  9. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. hydro

    hydro Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. genegri

    genegri Active Member

    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.
  15. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. twinsmom

    twinsmom Member

    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.
  17. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Danish Ice Dance! Go Laurence & Nikolaj!

    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.
  19. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    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.
  20. 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.
  21. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

    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!
  22. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    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.
  23. myhoneyhoney

    myhoneyhoney Well-Known Member

    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.
  24. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    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!"
  25. missing

    missing Well-Known Member

    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.
  26. Nomad

    Nomad Celebrity cheese-monger

    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.
  27. Louis

    Louis Well-Known Member

    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.
  28. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    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.
  29. 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.
  30. KCC

    KCC Well-Known Member

    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?