“I have two children, and one is my favorite. Everybody can see it. It’s terrible! I think it’s because she’s the most like me and I understand her best. Help! What should I do???”
First, relax. Would it help you to know that I have favorites? That my children will openly tell you whether mom or dad is their favorite? Does it make you feel any better that I openly encourage friends of mine to just pick a favorite among my kids? I can absolutely tell you that my father had a favorite among my kids. Many of my neighbors do too. All of them have different favorites, but everybody has a favorite…and that’s okay.
Favorites between parents can have their place. Kids tend to shift back and forth a bit through their different ages and stages between which parent they would rather spend time with. Depending on their interests and abilities they may naturally spend more time with one parent over another.
For example, the children in my family who are natural athletes or who enjoy hunting will spend more time with David. The kiddos who enjoy creative activities will more naturally spend time with mommy. But as they age and go through various challenges in sports, academics or relationships, they may fluctuate back and forth between who can really help them out the most with whatever they are working through at the time. And that’s fine. Normal.
If a mom really feels like her favoritism is to the detriment of the other child…maybe her husband doesn’t exactly get on very well with the other child either…maybe she sees that the child she favors tends to gloat it over the sibling or the other sibling is obviously hurt or feeling left out– well now there is a challenge.
Sometimes, we are given a child that just marches to the beat of a different drum than the rest of the family. And for that kid, throw yourself into one or two of their interests.
Get into their world. Take the time to really spend the time.
Be intentional about building their relationship with you. You’ll soon find that for your investment of time and effort a royal dividend of new relationship and memories will have made a significant dent in what was once an empty relationship.