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Ban Favorites

by Lori Sciame | September 3rd, 2012 | Tweens

Playing favorites always backfires.  From the boss who gives one employee perks that his or her equals do not enjoy, to a teacher who lets the pet do all the fun tasks in class, showing favoritism only leads to hard feelings.  Parents of tweens, take note of the previous examples, and vow to ban favorites among your children.

You may feel more of a kinship with one of your children, but that does not mean that you should outwardly show more affection to that particular child.  I am a living example of the notion of playing favorites among siblings.  As a child, my dad doted on my brother, while my mother doted on me.  Even sadder, my two oldest brothers didn’t seem to be the favorite of anyone! As a tween, I felt awful that my mom showered me with attention, but I also ached for my dad’s attention, which solely focused on my athletic brother.

Now that you are a parent of a tween, and maybe older or younger children, seriously consider your actions.  Do you find yourself spending a considerable amount of time with one child over the others?  Do you only talk about the accomplishments of one child in the company of your other children?  Maybe you only allow your favorite to stay up late? Finally, do you verbally announce to the world that one child holds the title of favorite?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I hope that you will reconsider your stance.  Although you may feel that one child deserves to be the favorite, all of your children need to remain equal.

Think of it this way: instead of labeling a favorite, celebrate each child’s uniqueness, no matter what that special trait may be.  For example, if your oldest has artistic talent, frame a few of his or her works, and visit art museums.  If the middle child excels at sports, make it a point to cheer at his or her events as a family, and if your youngest loves to dance, attend a few practices and a recital… and so on.

Need more convincing?  A May, 2010 article in USA Today supports the notion that favoritism has long term effects.  Sharon Jayson states, “past studies have found that less-favored siblings may suffer emotionally, with decreased self-esteem and behavioral problems in childhood, while adult children who were even slightly favored report higher well-being.”

As you can see, playing favorites should be banned.  Parents need to strive to treat all of their children equally.  It may be difficult to connect with a tween that you have nothing in common with, but don’t give up.  Seeing the uniqueness in him or her will pay off.  An added bonus is that you will grow as a person if you forge ahead into the interest areas of all of your children.

If I had played favorites, I would have never tried a Cuban sandwich, I would never have visited a mosque, and I never would have talked to an imaginary friend!

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