Parents of more than one child often show favoritism to one over the others—even when it is unintentional. However, it is essential for parents to be consciously aware of how their behavior affects their children. More often than not, favoritism has a way of getting kids to compete against each other for the parent’s affection in an unhealthy way.
A rivalry between siblings can quickly get out of hand and create daily tension in the home. While some parents resort to offering the same activities and gifts to all kids to keep things equal, it doesn’t always end there. Below are some extra ways to ensure all of your kids feel equally as special compared to their siblings.
Pay Attention to Each Individual
In studies on the effects of favoritism on children, Midwest Alcohol Rehab discusses how feelings of alienation may cause people to act out later in life. For that reason, it’s essential that children never feel alienated or less important than their siblings.
One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t play favorites is by getting to know your kids really well. Study them to learn about their specific interests, likes, skills, dislikes, and abilities. While you have more than one kid with the same two parents, they have the opportunity to be more unique than you would imagine.
Appreciate each kid’s diversity and learn that it’s never a good thing when parents play favorites just because they may find they have more in common with one kid over the other. Design each interaction with all of your kids to be unique to them. This will ensure that your child feels loved, and it can maximize the amount of joy they get.
Foster a Healthy Home Life
Even when you have one child that has more behavioral issues than the others, it is important to handle those issues in the moment. It is unhealthy to let disagreements with your children pile up and then get brought up in each new interaction with them. Solve problems and let issues go with your children as soon as possible.
Let each new day be a fresh start. Forgiveness should be equal among all of your children, whether they act out more than the others or not. Use bad behavior as a teaching tool for when your child does something wrong so that they can learn from their actions and hopefully do better next time.
Unfortunately, favoritism is a natural, human inclination. This is even true for parents who love all of their kids. Favoritism is something that can happen when you don’t even realize it. However, when you are a parent and want to do good by all of your kids, you need to take time to be aware of your actions to create a fair and happy home.