Sunday, February 17, 2008

Parents playing Favorites

This recently came up in conversation, the topic of parents playing favorites. You don't have to be from a dysfunctional family to see that favoritism exists in many families. Thus the creation of sybling rivarly is born. Many parents will say they didn't favor one child over another, but the children grow up seeing it differently. Does is exist and to what to degree? Yes it does and the degree of favoritism varies.
It wasn't until my eldest sybling said to me you can do no wrong, you were always daddies favorite, the goody two shoes, that it occured to me that grown adults still rival for the parents attention. Was I favored? The answer to that is yes, I obviously saw my father in a different light then my brother and sisters did. Mostly I think we tend to take on different personalities, I remember becoming the pleaser and sometimes it is for the completely wrong reasons. I surely wasn't blind and I know I didn't want beat, so in a sense you succumb. I think it was more then that, might have to do with bonding and personality. If you break down each child in the family you see that they all have weaknesses and strengths. Dysfunctional does not mean stupid or ignorant, abusers are often very intelligent people. The child who stands to confront it many times feels the anger and falls victim easier. I cannot actually say what went on in my fathers mind, but the truth is he never laid a hand on me and yet I have seen the monster side of him. How could he have two complete sides, did he love one child more or less? Without actually speaking to him on the subject we will never really know. But this I am sure of he saw me as fragile and weak and the words as such flowed off his tongue. So in protecting what he felt was the weak child, was keeping his dirty little secrets well hidden.
Asking parents if they felt they favored, they said overwhelming no. They felt as if they were giving recognition to the child who did his chores, gave less back talk and succeeded in one way or another. This maybe true in some families but it is obvious that favoritism does exist and can does create self doubt in young people and adults. Do we try to become over achievers to in our search for attention or it is the opposite and rebellion shows its ugly head. Psychologically it becomes a viscious cycle as those who are reward for good behavior gain a certain amount of respect and the child that might have failed once will fight their whole life to try and live down the negative labeling.
Sometimes more then enough it is interpetation of an event that leads one to believe it is favoritism when actually it is parents making decisions right or wrong for that particular time. In preventing sibling rivalry a parent must adhere to a few rules.
1. Do not compare one child to another.
2. Communication ,if a decision is made provide a clear answer to why.
3. Provide more family time
4. Look for the positive in each child.
5. Realize that all children are different and respect the difference
6. Jealousy is a natural emotion, which can be lessoned with number 2 communication
7. A parents job is to nurture.

The most important part of a childs life is the caregiver, how we respond, to both the postitive and negative in a childs life will guide them in their adult lives.

We find that sports coaches and teachers, employers and many others are accused of favoriting one person over another. Ask yourself before placing fault or condemning, does the claim have any merit.

The squeaky wheel may get the oil, but we have to becareful if we want that oil or not.

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